The first ever round of the best of three MLB Wild Card games are now complete, and to say that it lived up to what happened in the regular season in terms of excitement and drama would be an understatement. Close games, upsets, a walk off, and more all happened during the first week of postseason play.
(1) Tampa Bay Rays vs (8) Toronto Blue Jays – The Rays had a two-game sweep of the Blue Jays on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30. Led by a home run by Manuel Margot, the Rays won Game 1 by a score of 3-1, and, with a grand slam by Hunter Renfro and a home run by Mike Zunino in the following game, they won Game 2 by a score of 8-2. Rays manager Kevin Cash remarked after the Game 2 win, “Every win in the postseason is that much more [momentum].” The Rays will play the Yankees in the ALDS beginning on Monday, Oct. 5.
(2) Oakland Athletics vs (7) Chicago White Sox – The Athletics won their series against the White Sox two games to one. After losing Game 1 by a score of 4-1, the Athletics bounced back in Game 2 with a pair of home runs by Marcus Semien and Khris Davis, where they won 5-3, and again in Game 3 led by a pair of home runs from Sean Murphy and Sean Pinder, where they won 6-4. In response to their series win, Athletics manager Bob Melvin said, “The goal this year was to win the division and try to get to a series. We got to a series, lost the first game and really responded well. It was rewarding.” The Athletics will play the Astros in the ALDS beginning on Monday, Oct. 5.
(3) Minnesota Twins vs (6) Houston Astros – The Astros had a two-game sweep of the Twins on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30. After a 4-1 Game 1 win and a 3-1 Game 2 win with a home run by Michael Brantley, the Astros gained a spot in the ALDS. With an opportunity to win his first World Series, Astros manager Dusty Baker said, “I’ve still got some things I want to accomplish, and a championship is one of them.” The Astros will play the Athletics in the ALDS beginning on Monday, Oct. 5.
(4) Cleveland Indians vs (5) New York Yankees – The Yankees also had a two-game sweep of their own opponent, the Indians, on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30. With three home runs in the game by Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton, respectively, the Yankees dominated Game 1 by a score of 12-3. Game 2, however, was much closer. Despite having a home run by Giancarlo Stanton and a grand slam by Gio Urshela, the Yankees only managed to win by 1 run with a score of 10-9. In response to the Game 2 win, DJ LeMaheiu said, “I feel like we turned the page on the regular season, really came out [in Game 2] and played with focus.” The Yankees will play the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS beginning on Monday, Oct. 5.
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs (8) Milwaukee Brewers – The Dodgers had a two-game sweep of the Brewers on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. After winning Game 1 by a score of 4-2, Clayton Kershaw had a stellar performance in Game 2 of the series when he pitched eight scoreless innings, striking out thirteen batters and only allowing three hits. After pitching most of the Game 2 in a series where the Dodgers never trailed, Kershaw said, “This was a fun night for me, getting the postseason off to a good start. We get to move on.” The Dodgers will play the Padres in the NLDS beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
(2) Atlanta Braves vs (7) Cincinnati Reds – The Braves had a two-game sweep of the Reds on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. With a thrilling walk off RBI single by Freddie Freeman to win Game 1 by a score of 1-0, the Braves showed why they are the best team in the American League. Led by Ronald Acuna’s RBI double in the fifth inning and a pair of eighth inning home runs by Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall, the Braves won Game 2 by a score of 5-0 and won the series. Speaking to the media after the series win, the Braves manager Brian Snitker remarked, “I told the guys we have a couple of boxes we wanted to check off. We checked off one today.” The Braves will play the Astros in the NLDS beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
(3) Chicago Cubs vs (6) Miami Marlins – The Marlins had a two-game sweep of the Cubs on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2. Led by a three-run home run by Corey Dickerson and a two-run home run by Jesus Aguilar, the Marlins won Game 1 by a score of 5-1. In their next appearance, a top-of-the-seventh home run by Garrett Cooper and a RBI by Magneuris Sierra led the Marlins to a 2-0 Game 2 win and a trip to the NLDS. Marlins Pitcher Brandon Kintzler remarked “We’re still here. You can’t get rid of us” in response to their second win in the series. The Marlins will play the Braves in the NLDS beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
(4) San Diego Padres vs (5) St. Louis Cardinals – The Padres won their series against the Cardinals two games to one. After losing Game 1 by a score of 7-4, the Padres roared back in Games 2 and 3 to win the series and advance to the NLDS. In Game 2, the Padres had five home runs after the fifth inning – two each by Will Myers and Fernando Tatis Jr. and one by Manny Machado – that gave them their 11-9 win. In Game 3, Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado, and Jake Croneworth all worked together to score runs and give the Padres a 4-0 win and a trip to the NLDS. The Padres will play the Dodgers in the NLDS beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Next week, the division series begins, and at this point, anyone could take home a pennant.