Okay, one year into the new playoff schematic, how we doing? ...Alright, I suppose.
On one hand, you have a lot of matchups that shifted the balance of power in the race, where a higher seed lost out to an underdog competitor with less regular season wins. We've already lost a division leader in this stage [and it is one I am very happy about], and we've already lost a high-seeded wild card team and could lose another. There has been drama, there have been excellent games, a 15 inning game broken up by a clinching home run, a game with an incredible 7 run comeback, an inning with a win-sealing 6 run ninth inning. It has definitely been entertaining baseball.
But...from a full series standpoint, only one series is going to three games, and it's Mets-Padres. All the others are the 'riding momentum' type wins that the play-in wild card game would have done. So I feel like the MLB brass are wishing there were more lengthened dramatic series rather than just 'they win and they also win again'
I bet they're pleased with Mets-Padres, as are Mets fans, because you know that if they lost to San Diego in 2 games you wouldn't have heard the end of it for years. It's really a matter of who you put up, and Darvish is a surer bet than Snell, while deGrom was healthier than Scherzer. And so the Mets' offense could get the better of Blake Snell last night, including the extension of Eduardo Escobar's killer September, and yet another homer by Pete Alonso. Of all the series', I'm kinda glad this one went all 3 games, solely because it's the only one I have no rooting interest in. My cousins are Mets fans, but I don't really want them to suffer. And I like the Padres, but they're no longer the scrappy underdogs they were in 2020. I think I actually want the Mets to take it, y'know? It'd be fun.
As for the ones that ended yesterday...I was hanging out with my friend Josh yesterday, he's a diehard Cleveland sports fan. I feel like things concerning our teams always happen when we're in the same room. I was having lunch with him when we found out Cliff Lee was going to Philly. I've seen him go through it. So I'm hanging out with him yesterday and he's asking me for the score. And for most of the afternoon there isn't any. And then it's 'okay, we're going to extras'. It became an experiment in patience. Would we even still be at my friend Matt's place when the game eventually ended? And what would happen if Cleveland got that far and still screwed it up? Sure enough, by the time we were waiting for food, it just ended abruptly. And I was relieved that it was Oscar Gonzalez who came up with the winning blow.
I can't imagine having to attend that game, y'know. 15 innings of nothing happening. At least you get what you wanted if you're a Guardians fan, but man that was a lot of leadup for it. Happy for the Guards, though. I think there's gonna be a lot of back and forth in this series. Honestly, the Guardians could win it. They've beaten the Yankees before. What if this is the team that goes back?
A seven-run deficit, man. I love baseball.
There was already a story in the Jays coming back on Robbie Ray and Gausman holding down the Mariners offense, and then at some point the story shifted, the Ms came back, and the Jays completely collapsed. Potentially screwing Springer up is just the icing on it. The Blue Jays came in here confident and strong and they did not at all prepare for the amount of power the Mariners were capable of. And so the Ms came back, used people like Ty France and Cal Raleigh and a MASSIVE HOMER FROM CARLOS SANTANA to stymie them and take the series. With everything the Jays were doing late in the season, I did not think their postseason hopes would go out with a whimper.
Happy for Seattle. It's about time.
And then...I'm gonna be honest, I did not see this coming.
Cardinals have been great all year, have this incredible storyline with Pujols and Molina on their last legs and this incredible youth movement reestablishing dominance. And then the little Phils come in, hit little things off them, and hold onto it against all odds. The Philadelphia bullpen legitimately held onto a lead, and stopped the Cardinals from tying the series, and...I just can't believe they did this. This is a good Phillies, team but I didn't think they were this good.
Now, granted, they do have to play the Braves now, and that's not gonna go well AT ALL unless things really change, but...Phils actually won a playoff series, got a prime playoff spot, they did it. 2022 Phillies slayed the dragon, and put the 2011 grievance to bed.
And now, to commemorate the fallen:
The Rays did the same thing they do every year, except with less healthy stars and more homophobes. They will probably do the exact same thing next year, only with more success, and hopefully less homophobes.
The Blue Jays had a pretty exceptional team that built on what they'd accomplished previously, but once again disappointed when it came time to defending their status as a playoff team. Next year should, in theory, be their year, but I'm not sure how many opportunities this team is going to get.
The Cardinals were more likable than they've been in years, made some excellent moves in terms of player development and trade deadline moves, and were able to send off Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina gracefully. Next year will require a great deal of both Andrew Knizner and Juan Yepez, as well as the continued upward rise of this team's tentpoles, even as the Brewers remain competitive. Will they build on this and infuriate me once again? Probably.
Should be a big match today, Mets-Padres. Then the important stuff.