2022 MLB Playoffs: Wild Card Series Takeaways as Padres, Phillies, Mariners and Guardians Jump Ahead

The 2022 MLB post-season has arrived. The postseason kicked off on Friday with the brand new Wild Card Series. MLB has a 12-team postseason format this year, which is the largest field in the sport’s history (excluding the 2020 pandemic season). The Phillies shocked the Cardinals with a six-run ninth inning to win Game 1 of their Wild Card Series matchup. In the American League, the Mariners and Guardians won against the Blue Jays and Rays, respectively. The only thing left on Friday’s program is Padres-Mets.

As a reminder, the Wild Card series replaces the one-off Wild Card game and is an insane best-of-three with no off days and all three games on the fringe of the upper echelon. This is Friday’s scoreboard:

Results from the Wild Card series

And here’s what you need to know about every game on Friday.

Guardians stars put them one win away from ALDS

The Guardians are clearly much more than two players, but heading into the series their two biggest stars would be four-time All-Star José Ramírez and 2020 Cy Young winner Shane Bieber. They were the stars of Game 1.

Bieber, who made his second playoff start in his career, gave up only one run in 7 2/3 innings of work. He struckout eight batters and gave up only three hits and one walk. The only run he allowed was a solo homerun to Jose Siri, which gave the Rays a short-lived 1-0 lead.

That was in the top of the sixth. In the bottom, Ramírez came through with a two-run homer to right centerfield. It gave the Guardians a 2-1 lead and the score would remain there, thanks to Bieber and All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase.

Full takeaways here.

Phillies make historic comeback vs. cardinals

The starting pitchers (José Quintana of the Cardinals and Zack Wheeler of the Phillies) combined for 11 2/3 innings scoreless on Friday in St. Louis. A pinch-hit, two-run homerun by Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning and it looked like it would be the whole score.

Instead, the Phillies stormed back with a six-run ninth inning to shock everyone. The Cardinals led 74-3 after eight innings in the regular season. They were 93-0 as a franchise when they led by two or more runs after eight innings in the postseason. They are now at 93-1.

There could also be some carryover as Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley lost all command completely and has an injury to the middle finger of his throwing hand.

Full takeaways here.

Mariners not long to wait after return to playoffs

The Mariners played and won their first playoff game in 21 years thanks to a combination of hitting the front in time and a strong start from Luis Castillo, hitting the trade deadline. Seattle jumped off an over-powered Alek Manoah at the start and hit three in the top of the first inning.

Castillo held out the rest of the way, delivering seven shutout innings in his second career postseason start. The Blue Jays will have to open Game 2 in better shape if they want to avoid elimination. Full takeaways here.

Padres lights up Scherzer over Game 1 of Mets. to take

Met’s righthander Max Scherzer had one of the worst starts of his career against San Diego. Scherzer’s last line saw him give up seven runs on seven hits (four of them home runs) in 4 2/3 innings. Those home runs came courtesy of Josh Bell, Trent Grisham, Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado.

“Baseball can take you to the highest and lowest of all lows,” Scherzer told reporters after the game. “This is one of the lowest lows.”

On the other hand, Padres starter Yu Darvish was sharp and effective. He gave up only one run in seven innings, giving the Padres’ bullpen a relatively easy night, at least by postseason standards. As a result of all of the above, the Mets now face an elimination game on Saturday as the Padres take one win from an NLDS matchup with the rival Dodgers.

Full takeaways here.

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