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After an exciting first round of the playoffs, it’s time for the divisional playoffs in Major League Baseball. Here’s a preview of the best-of-five matches in the American and National.
Mariners (5) vs. Astros (1)
In their first playoff appearance since 2001, the Seattle Mariners delighted their fans with a two game victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mariners pulled off a spectacular feat of erasing a seven-run deficit against the Jays in Game 2.
The Mariners will have a big challenge ahead of them, as the Houston Astros once again had a great season with 106 wins and first place in the AL. Justin Verlander was one of the best pitchers in the Majors and should win his third Cy Young trophy, all at the age of 39! Verlander will be the starting pitcher in Game 1.
In order to hope to win, Seattle will have to stifle the Astros’ offense. Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker will give Mariners pitchers headaches. Houston has won 12 of the 19 games between these two teams this season.
Guardians (4) vs. Yankees (2)
These two teams are in the playoffs for the second time in three years. The Cleveland Guardians eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays in two games behind an outstanding pitching performance; Cleveland allowed just one run in 24 innings against Tampa.
What would the playoffs be without a little controversy surrounding the New York Yankees? Aroldis Chapman is not on the Yankees’ roster after missing mandatory practice. Despite Chapman’s absence, the Bronx Bombers remain a threat.
Aaron Judge had one of the best campaigns in Major League history with 62 homers and set a new record in America. It’s not just Judge who has enjoyed the long ball this season in New York. The Yankees finished first in MLB with 254 home runs, twice as many as the Guardians in 2022. New York won five of six regular season games against Cleveland. Gerrit Cole will face Cal Quantrill in the first game.
Phillies (6) vs. Braves (2)
The Philadelphia Phillies upset the St. Louis Cardinals in two games to begin their playoff streak. Philly won the streak for the first time since 2010.
After the Cards’ season ends, the Phillies face the defending World Series champions, the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have been one of the best teams in the MLB since July and will be looking to win a second straight title. The last team to achieve this feat? The Yankees, who won the World Series three consecutive years from 1998 to 2000.
Division rivals, the two teams have met 19 times this season. The Braves had 11 wins, but the games were very close; seven of those games were decided by at least two points.
Ranger Suarez and Max Fried will be on the mound in Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon. The last time these two teams met in the playoffs, Philadelphia defeated Atlanta in six games in 1993.
Padres (5) vs. Dodgers (1)
And the last duel in the National pits two big rivals against each other. After eliminating the New York Mets, winners of 101 games in the regular season, the San Diego Padres face the Los Angeles Dodgers and their 111 wins.
This is the second time the two teams have met in the playoffs. The Dodgers swept the Padres in the 2020 Division Series en route to their first World Series title in over 30 years.
The Dodgers have had the Padres’ number for the past few years. Los Angeles has won 14 of 19 games played this season and 32 of 48 games against San Diego since the start of the 2020 season.
Few teams can boast the firepower of the Dodgers. Trea Turner, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are the three best hitters in MLB. Led by Manny Machado, who could be nominated for Nationals MVP honors, the Padres will try to cause a major upset against the Dodgers. In order to hope to win, San Diego will have to rely on Juan Soto in great form. Soto had a rough September with a .221 batting average and two home runs.