This weekend’s opening round of the 2022 MLB Playoffs saw some history-making performances on the field. The underdogs had their day, as only one of the higher-seeded teams survived. Although only one series went the full three games, these matchups offer plenty of food for thought over the offseason.
AL #6 (Tampa Bay) at #3 (Cleveland)
CLE wins 2-0
Cleveland came out on top in an extremely low-scoring series. Saturday’s 15-inning battle set an MLB record for the longest scoreless postseason game.
The Rays and Guardians in the 14th inning. This is the longest scoreless postseason game in MLB history
— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) October 8, 2022
Óscar González delivered a solo home run in the bottom of the inning for a walk-off series victory.
OSCAR GONZALEZ SENDS CLEVELAND TO THE ALDS 🤩 pic.twitter.com/Ql1jZhXn7p
— ESPN (@espn) October 8, 2022
AL #5 (Seattle) at #4 (Toronto)
SEA wins 2-0
After being shut out 4-0 in Game 1 on Friday, the Blue Jays needed a victory to avoid their second Wild Card Sweep in three years. They appeared to have Game 2 well in hand with an 8-1 lead in the 5th inning. After loading the bases in the 6th inning, Toronto starter Kevin Gausman retired two Seattle batters and was then removed for reliever Tim Mayza. Seattle then scored four runs on a wild pitch and a three-run blast by Carlos Santana to narrow the deficit to just three runs.
The key play of the game took place in the 8th inning. J.P. Crawford hit a Jordan Romano slider to short center field with the bases loaded and two outs. Center fielder George Springer and shortstop Bo Bichette both sprinted to attempt to catch the ball, colliding on the outfield grass. No catch was made, and all three runners scored to tie the game on a hit scored as a double by Crawford.
Adam Frazier‘s go-ahead double in the top of the 9th would drive in the game-winning run to finalize one of the biggest postseason comebacks in MLB history. This defeat will be one of the most brutal for Toronto sports fans in recent memory. Will the Jays’ front office choose to shake things up for 2023?
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) October 9, 2022
NL #6 (Philadelphia) at #3 (St. Louis)
PHI wins 2-0
The Phillies had the Cardinals on the ropes after scoring six runs in the 9th in a shocking Game 1 comeback. Aaron Nola froze the St. Louis bats with 6.2 scoreless innings in Game 2. Bryce Harper homered to help deliver his team the first playoff series victory of his 11-year career.
Mercy, Bryce Harper just detonated a 435-foot blast in St. Louis pic.twitter.com/ZonbcKIAhj
— Casey Drottar (@CDrottar19) October 9, 2022
NL #5 (San Diego) at #4 (New York)
SD wins 2-1
This was the only series of the weekend to go the distance. The Padres dominated Game 1, tagging Max Scherzer for seven runs. The Mets evened the series in Game 2 thanks to a quality start from Jacob deGrom and scoring seven runs on shaky San Diego pitching. But their bats would go missing in action in Game 3. Joe Musgrove dominated, pitching seven scoreless innings with shiny ears, prompting a sticky substance check.
Mets manager Buck Showalter called for a substance check on Joe Musgrove. They are looking at his hand and glove. He took off his hat. And then they checked his ears, which have been shiny all night.
And after all that … they found nothing and Musgrove is still on the mound.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 10, 2022
MLB veteran Andrew McCutchen offered a plausible explanation for Musgrove’s appearance.
Here we go. I guarantee Musgrove has Red Hot on his ears. Pitchers use it as mechanism to stay locked in during games. It burns like crazy and IDK why some guys thinks it helps them but in no way is it “sticky.” Buck is smart tho. Could be trying to just throw him off.
— Andrew McCutchen (@TheCUTCH22) October 10, 2022
Jeff Passan sums up the evening’s result very aptly below:
FINAL: Padres 6, Mets 0
New York's 101-win season ends by getting one-hit in a winner-takes-all game in which Buck Showalter had Joe Musgrove’s ears checked for foreign substances. Nothing showed up. Kinda like the Mets.
Meanwhile, Padres-Dodgers next. Rematch of the 2020 DS.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 10, 2022
Next up is the Division Series round starting on Tuesday. Our first matchup will be #6 Philadelphia at #2 Atlanta at 1:07 PM ET, followed by #5 Seattle vs. #1 Houston at 3:37 PM. In the evening, #3 Cleveland will take on #2 New York at 7:37 PM. #5 San Diego and #1 Los Angeles will serve as the nightcap for the West Coast fans, starting at 9:37 PM.