MLB Playoffs 2022: Division Series Picks and Predictions | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats & Rumors

Judge Aaron of New York (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Cleveland Guardians vs. New York Yankees: Can David overthrow Goliath?

Not only is New York’s payroll in 2022 (about $265 million) more than triple that of Cleveland (about $82 million), but there’s actually a David/Goliath story based on the height between the respective star players: 6’7″ Aaron Judge and 5’9″ José Ramírez.

It’s not quite the same as the legendary photoshoot of 5’3″ Muggsy Bogues and 7’7″ Manute Bol, or even the same as comparing Judge to Houston’s 5’6″ Jose Altuve. However , it’s a fitting manifestation of the rift between these two franchises, both in terms of current finances and all-time greatness: The Yankees are aiming for 28th place in the World Series while the Guardians are after their first since. 1948 and only their third overall.

Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros: The start of an AL West changing of the guard?

It’s been 21 long years since the Mariners last played in the playoffs, and it’s not a “flash in the pot, back in the basement next year” situation for Seattle. The Ms have gone all-in for the long haul, locking in Julio Rodríguez, Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, Eugenio Suárez, JP Crawford and Marco Gonzales for at least the 2024 season. (Crawford until 2026. Castillo until 2028. Rodríguez until ‘in 2034.)

But the AL West is still running through Houston, and the Astros are surely relishing the opportunity to prove just how much of a gap remains between the spunky Pacific Northwest underdog and the juggernaut who has appeared in each of the past five ALCS.

Oddly enough, these division rivals haven’t met since July, so this will be Seattle’s first chance to trigger its big-time trade acquisition (Castillo) against the Astros. Likely lined up to kick off Game 2 on Thursday and potentially part of Game 5 on Monday if the series lasts that long, we’ll see if he proves to be a difference maker.

San Diego Padres vs Los Angeles Dodgers: The beginning of a changing of the guard in Newfoundland and Labrador West?

Heading into NLDS 2020, San Diego felt good about themselves for the first time in a long time. Manny Machado’s big signing worked. Fernando Tatis Jr. was just as great in sophomore year as he was in 2019. Even Wil Myers had a career year as the Padres made the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

But then they met their big brothers in Los Angeles and were swept as early as the playoffs.

They added Yu Darvish and Blake Snell this offseason. And trying to seize the opportunity to step up to the forefront of western Newfoundland and Labrador, they went all-in at the trade deadline this year, gutting the agricultural system to bring in Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury and Josh Hader.

Will that be enough in the end, or will the 111-win Dodgers reassert their dominance?

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves: First step towards a repetition?

It’s a record-breaking situation at this point, but the last team to repeat as World Series champions was the New York Yankees from 1998-2000. Many recent defending champions have returned to the playoffs and have been good enough to pull off the repeated feat, but it’s just hard to be the hottest team at the best time in consecutive Octobers.

Atlanta’s first move comes against a division foe it’s tied against this season. The Braves won the series 11-8, but they were only separated by three points overall with 12 of 19 games going to the end.

And after going more than a decade between playoff appearances and watching Atlanta win the division in each of the last five years, the Phillies have to bite the bullet for a “to be the best, you have to beat the best” the opportunity to shine.

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