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Recap: MLB Wild Card Round

Brooms all around!

MLB: Wildcard-Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies weren’t the only team to make light work of their Wild Card opponents as all four series ended in two-game sweeps. Let’s take a look:

AL Wild Card - Rangers at Rays

Rangers win, 2-0

After leading the AL West for 159 days during the season, Texas lost the division to the Astros on the final day of the regular season and were forced to settle for the second AL wild card spot. It seems they took losing their home-field advantage to heart and took out their frustration on a Rays team that looked unprepared. The Rangers’ pitching was dominant as Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi combined to allow 1 ER over 13.2 IP.

On the other side, the Rays’ season ends again in disappointing fashion. The team that had one of the hottest starts in MLB history went out with a whimper as they scored just a single run over two games. Rough outings from Tyler Glasnow and our old pal Zach Eflin along with five errors in the field (four of which came in Game 1) all but doomed Tampa Bay as they fell in two games in front of fewer than 20,000 fans at the Trop (can’t relate).

AL Wild Card - Blue Jays at Twins

Twins win, 2-0

They did it! After 21 years, the Twins have finally won a playoff series after taking two from Toronto. Minnesota took the AL Central with one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, leading MLB in strikeouts and finishing fourth in fWAR (the top spot belonging to the Phillies). Big games from Carlos Correa and rookie third baseman Royce Lewis offered just enough run support to send the Twins on to Houston.

Toronto just couldn’t get anything going offensively this series. A team with this many All-Star batters shouldn’t have struggled like this but that’s kind of the story of their season. Encapsulating this performance from Toronto, in Game 2, Vlad Guerrero, Jr. found himself picked off of second base to end the top of the fifth, effectively killing the Jays’ momentum.

NL Wild Card - D-backs at Brewers

D-backs win 2-0

After backing into the playoffs, the D-backs took their series with two comeback wins in Milwaukee. Rookie Brandon Pfaadt struggled in Game 1 and Game 2 starter Zac Gallen had his share of issues but Arizona’s bats were able to get to Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, who gave up 4 runs over 4 IP including 3 home runs. Evan Longoria made some spectacular plays at third including one that ended a Brewers rally in the fifth inning of Game 1. Arizona will head out to Chavez Ravine to take on the Dodgers in the NLDS.

The Brewers head off into the offseason with some uncertainty at manager. Craig Counsell’s contract is up and the longest-tenured skipper in the NL has been linked to the open Mets job recently vacated by Buck Showalter. Counsell has stuck around Milwaukee for a reason, having led the Brew Crew to the playoffs in five of the last six seasons and finishing second in Manager of the Year voting three times. However, he hasn’t reached the NLCS since 2018, where his team lost to the Dodgers.

All four divisional series start on Saturday:
Phillies at Braves
D-backs at Dodgers
Twins at Astros
Rangers at Orioles