On Friday, the first round of the first division playoffs begins, in which the best runners-up in the American and National Leagues will face each other. In addition to the duel between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners, the postseason schedule will also offer fans quality confrontations.
TVA Sports will broadcast national games during the playoff schedule. The Phillies and Cardinals will square off on our air on Friday at 2 p.m. Their matchup will be followed by the one between the Padres and the Mets at 8 p.m.
Tampa Bay Rays v. Cleveland Guardians
The Rays (86-76) won’t have much confidence heading into the playoffs after losing their last five games. The Guardians (92-70) also got the better of Florida in late September, beating them twice.
Tampa Bay’s offense will need to be more consistent after being held to one point or less in seven of its last 11 games. The injuries to Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Lowe are clearly hurting.
He can be on the mound to play. Shane McClanahan and Tyler Glasnow, who just returned from injury, are the best options on the Rays side. However, Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie and Cal Quantrill each had one of their most productive seasons.
It will also be a battle between manager Terry Francona, a mentor, and his student Kevin Cash. The two worked together for three years in Cleveland.
Philadelphia Phillies v. Louis Cardinals
You have to go back to 2011 to see the Phillies (87-75) and Cardinals (93-69) meet in the playoffs. The latter caused a surprise by defeating their rivals before winning the World Cup.
This season, the Cards are led by Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, who each surpassed the 100 RBI plateau. Good old Albert Pujols, in his final season in the majors, also contributed well offensively with 68 points and 24 long balls.
The Phillies are also well-endowed offensively with National League home run leader Kyle Schwarber and stars Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins.
Zack Wheeler (12-7) will start for St. Louis for Game 1, while Philadelphia will trust Jose Quintana (6-7).
San Diego Padres v. New York Food
The Mets (101-61) came within touching distance of winning the Nationals East, but the Atlanta Braves, who sported the same record, finished ahead of them. The New Yorkers therefore have to pass the lap of the best second and a dangerous opponent awaits them.
The Padres (89-73) greatly improved their team at the trade deadline by acquiring the coveted Juan Soto and the efficient Josh Hader. Soto has been slow to explode in San Diego, but he might open up the machine in the playoffs.
Among the pitchers, the Mets have at their disposal aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer (11-5). It is the latter, winner of three Cy-Young trophies, who will be sent to battle on Friday. The Padres have not announced the identity of their starter, but after the usual rotation, Yu Darvish (16-8) should be automatic.