The MLB Wild Card Series have finished, and we’re here to break down the main storylines from the four series.
Arizona Diamondbacks Vs. Milwaukee Brewers
The main storyline from the Diamondbacks-Brewers series was the lights-out performance from the bullpen. Diamondback relief pitchers combined for 9.1 scoreless innings during the two-game series.
More specifically, the bullpen was nearly flawless in its 6.1 innings of work during the crucial Game 1 victory.
“The zeroes are great, but also the momentum that gets stopped when there are two consecutive times that they’re batting and there’s nobody on base,” Walker said. “There’s barely a ball put in play. As an offense, that’s frustrating. He really put us on his back there today.”
Ginkel threw four strikeouts during the seventh and eighth innings, including striking out the side in the bottom of the eighth. His pair of innings maintained the Diamondbacks’ one-run lead they would eventually extend in the final frame.
The Diamondbacks received help from both their veterans and young sluggers in the NL Wild Card Series.
National League Rookie of the Year front runner Corbin Carroll continued his regular season dominance into the playoffs. At only 23 years and 43 days old, Carroll became the youngest Diamondback to hit a home run in postseason history. His two-run Game 1 blast cut the Brewers’ lead to 3-2.
Carroll and Marte combined for only the third set of consecutive home runs in Arizona Diamondbacks postseason history. Marte was also involved in the second set of back-to-back home runs during the 2017 NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
23-year-old catcher Gabriel Moreno hit the eventual game-winning home run in the fourth inning. Moreno made some history of his own. He became the youngest catcher to homer in the postseason since Buster Posey in the 2010 World Series.
With the series win, the Diamondbacks will battle the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Divisional Series — the same team they faced in the NLDS during their most previous postseason run in 2017.
Philadelphia Phillies Vs. Miami Marlins
The Philadelphia Phillies are heading back to the NLDS for the second consecutive postseason after dismantling the National League East rival Miami Marlins. The Phillies outplayed the Marlins in every facet of the game during the opening round.
Most notably, Phillies fans showed up during the series and created a rowdy atmosphere for Miami.
The series peaked for Philadelphia during second baseman Bryston Stott’s chilling sixth-inning grand slam. Stott’s slam alone accounted for more runs than the Marlins scored in the two games.
With the crowd cheering, screaming and standing on their feet, Stott slammed the bat on the ground — a celebration eerily similar to first baseman Rhys Hoskins’ spike during last season’s NLDS victory over the Atlanta Braves.
After the team’s resounding victory, the Phillies are tasked with battling those same Braves in a NLDS rematch.
The rivalry series will be must-watch baseball throughout the next week. Two of the national league’s best offenses battling in rowdy and fan-packed stadiums.
Texas Rangers Vs. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rangers returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, and they handled the Rays. The Rangers’ pitching dominated and only allowed one run during the 18 innings.
Most of the time when teams host playoff games, they have an inherited home-field advantage. This was not the case for Tampa Bay. Game 1 drew less than 20,000 fans to Tropicana Field — the lowest postseason crowd since the 1919 World Series.
The Rays’ sloppy defense consistently put them down during the series. Tampa Bay made five errors — including four during Game 1.
The Rangers quickly took advantage of the Rays’ blunders.
In a 2-0 game in the top of the sixth inning, two Rangers scored on Tampa Bay center fielder Jose Siri’s misplay on a line drive and throwing error.
The Rangers’ bullpen held the four-run lead, and the team easily cruised to a 7-1 victory in Game 2.
Texas will meet with the American League’s No. 1 seed — the Baltimore Orioles — on Saturday.
Minnesota Twins Vs. Toronto Blue Jays
For the first time since 2004, the Minnesota Twins won a playoff game. The stretch dates back to their 2004 ALDS matchup against the New York Yankees, when they won Game 1 and then lost the next three games.
After 2004 Game 1, the team had lost 18 consecutive postseason matchups.
Berrios was cruising through the first three innings, striking out five Minnesota hitters.
After a leadoff walk in the fourth, Schneider opted to use bullpen pitcher Yusei Kikuchi. The decision backfired, and Kikuchi allowed the next three hitters on base.
The game’s only two runs scored in the inning, and the Twins eliminated Toronto from the playoffs.
After the game, Schneider defended his decision to pull Berrios early.
Schneider says while the plan didn’t work out, the team didn’t take advantage of at-bats with runners in scoring position, which led to the shutout.
Minnesota moves on to the ALDS to play the Houston Astros — last season’s World Series Champion.
TL//DR: MLB Wild Card Series Storylines
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