Upsets, Heroics and Heartbreaks, MLB Wild Card Recap

Phillies, Mariners, Guardians and Padres advance to Divisional Series



J.P. Crawford is a leader for the Mariners and helps the infielders dance after each win.

JAKE HULL, Evergreen reporter

The first round of the MLB Playoffs is in the books. There were four Wild Card matchups that concluded Sunday as three underdog teams upset the favorites to win. The winning teams that advanced to the divisional series are the Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Guardians and the San Diego Padres.

The Phillies, Mariners and Padres were the lower-seeded teams who were underdogs as they advanced to the next round of the playoffs.

The Wild Card Series saw each matchup with a best-of-three series where the only matchup that went to three games was the San Diego Padres vs. the New York Mets. This series was won by the Padres Sunday as they earned their second win against the Mets to win the series.

Phillies vs. Cardinals:

The first series was the matchup between the No. 6 ranked Philadelphia Phillies and the No. 3 ranked St. Louis Cardinals.

The first game of the Series which took place Friday saw excellent pitching and defensive play from both teams until the seventh inning.

The Cardinals starting pitcher Jose Quintana went 5.1 innings for St. Louis and allowed only two hits for no runs. He also had three strikeouts in the game. The Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler went 6.1 innings with two hits for no runs as well. He had four strikeouts in the game.

Juan Yepez hit a two-run homerun in the seventh inning to give the Cardinals the 2-0 lead at home late in the game. After a scoreless eighth inning, the Phillies came alive and the Cardinals collapsed.

Philadelphia scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two singles, a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice leading to the Phillies scoring. The Cardinals got one run back in the ninth but ran out of time and fell 6-3.

The second game of the Series saw Philadelphia crack down defensively as they shut out the Cardinals who only got seven hits in the game. The Phillies only had four hits in the game, but a solo homerun from Bryce Harper in the second and a sacrifice fly from Kyle Schwarber in the fifth saw the Phillies close out the series and upset the Cardinals at home, ending the illustrious career of Albert Pujols. Philadelphia will now take on the Atlanta Braves in a best-of-five series.



Mariners vs. Blue Jays:

Maybe the most electrifying and suspenseful series of the Wild Card was the matchup between the No. 5 ranked Seattle Mariners and No. 4 Toronto Blue Jays. 

The Mariners, who have not made the Playoffs since 2001, came out Friday and scored three runs in the first inning, highlighted by a two-run home run from Cal “Big Dumper” Raleigh. What really won the game for Seattle though, was the stellar play from starting pitcher Luis Castillo. Castillo pitched 7.1 innings and gave up six hits for no runs and five strikeouts. Reliever Andres Munoz went 1.2 innings with two strikeouts to help shut out the Blue Jays, who fell 4-0 to Seattle.

The second and final game of the series Saturday may be one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history, regardless of sport. Toronto jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning and by the end of the fourth Toronto had a 4-0 lead thanks to two home runs from Teoscar Hernandez.

Seattle got a run back in the top of the fifth, but a defensive and pitching collapse saw Toronto score four more runs, now leading 8-1. Seattle answered back with four runs of their own in the sixth inning to make the score 8-5. After one more run from Toronto they led 9-5 heading into the eighth. After a bases-clearing double from shortstop J.P. Crawford and an RBI double from Adam Frazier in the top of the ninth, the Mariners took the 10-9 lead, completing the comeback and earning the postseason victory. Seattle will now take on the Houston Astros for a best-of-five series starting Tuesday.


Guardians vs. Rays:

The best defensive series of the Wild Card was the matchup between the No. 6 ranked Tampa Bay Rays and No. 3 ranked Cleveland Guardians.

The first game Friday saw both teams starting pitchers going seven-plus innings. The only runs in the game came in the sixth inning for both teams. Cleveland starting pitcher Shane Bieber gave up one run in 7.2 innings with eight strikeouts. Tampa Bay pitcher Shane McClanahan went seven innings and gave up two runs with five strikeouts. Cleveland won 2-1 and took the 1-0 series lead heading into Saturday.

The game Saturday was a wild defensive battle, there were 11 hits total in the game and the game went to 15 innings. This game was tied for fifth-longest in MLB Postseason history. The Guardians won 1-0 in the bottom of the 15th after Oscar Gonzalez hit a walk-off homer to sweep the Rays and advance to the Divisional Series against the New York Yankees. 


Padres vs. Mets:

The series between the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets was the only Wild Card series this season to go to a tie-breaker game three. The three other Wild Card matchups were all sweeps.

The first game Friday was a 7-1 rout in favor of San Diego. The Padres jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings and added another four more runs before the Mets scored the lone run of the game for them. San Diego pitcher Yu Darvish went seven innings with four strikeouts and a run allowed.

The second game of the series saw the Mets get their revenge. This time the score was 7-3 in favor of the Mets. Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso each homered to lead the Mets over the Padres and force a game three.

The third game of the series was all San Diego. The starting pitcher for the Padres was Joe Musgrove. He was so dominant in his seven innings that he was checked mid-game for any illegal substances on his body that he was using to cheat. He finished with a total of five strikeouts and no runs as the Padres shut out the Mets 6-0 to win the series. They will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the next round of the Playoffs.