MLB 2022 playoffs: Wild Card Series takeaways as Padres, Phillies, Mariners, Guardians get ahead

The 2022 MLB playoffs are here. The playoffs began on Friday with the all-new Wild Card Series. MLB has a 12-team postseason format this year, the largest field in sports 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 game. In the American League, the Mariners and Guardians picked up wins over the Blue Jays and Rays, respectively. All that’s left on Friday’s schedule is Padres-Mets.

As a reminder, the Wild Card series replaces the single Wild Card game and is a mad dash to the best of three with no rest days and all three games at the base stage of the top seed. Here is Friday’s scoreboard:

Wild Card Series Scores

And here’s what to know about each Friday game.

Guardians stars put them one win away from ALDS

The Guardians are obviously 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, making his second career start in the playoffs, allowed just one run in 7 2/3 innings of work. He struck out eight and allowed only three hits and one walk. The only run he allowed was a solo home run to Jose Siri and it briefly gave the Rays a 1-0 lead.

It was at the beginning of sixth grade. In the bottom, Ramírez homered two runs to right center field. That gave the Guardians a 2-1 lead and that’s where the score would stay, thanks to Bieber and closest All-Star Emmanuel Clase.

Full takeaways here.

Phillies pull off historic comeback against Cardinals

The starting pitchers (Jose Quintana of the Cardinals and Zack Wheeler of the Phillies) combined for 11 2/3 innings of scoreless work Friday at St. Louis. A two-run home run from Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead late in the seventh and appeared to be the entire score.

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

There could also be a postponement, as the Cardinals closer to Ryan Helsley have completely lost all command and injured the middle finger of the throwing hand.

Full takeaways here.

Sailors don’t wait long after playoff return

The Mariners played and won their first playoff game in 21 years thanks to a combination of timely strikes up front and a strong start from the addition of trade deadline Luis Castillo. Seattle jumped on an over-amped Alek Manoah early on, tackling three early in the first inning.

Castillo held it the rest of the way, giving up seven shutout innings in his second career playoff start. The Blue Jays will need to open Game 2 in better shape if they want to avoid elimination. All takeaways here.

Padres turn on Scherzer to win Mets Game 1

Mets right-hander 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 (including four home runs) in 4 2/3 innings. These circuits came courtesy of Josh Bell, Trent Grisham, Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado.

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

On the other end, Padres starter Yu Darvish was sharp and efficient. He allowed just one run in seven innings of work and gave the Padres’ bullpen a relatively easy night, at least by playoff standards. As a result of all of the above, the Mets now face a playoff game on Saturday, while the Padres are one win away from an NLDS matchup with the rival Dodgers.

Full takeaways here.

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