We’re down to eight teams in the 2022 postseason after four were eliminated this past weekend in MLB’s first-ever wild-card series weekend. Now it’s on to the league division series: four series, best-of-five, first team to win three advances.
The Philadelphia Phillies will battle the defending champion Atlanta Braves in the first game of the division series round, followed by two AL West rivals, the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners, facing off. The New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians will duke it out in the second ALDS, and, finally, an intradivision showdown between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres in the second NLDS caps off a jam-packed Tuesday.
How will the four survivors fare against the top squads?
Follow the action below all day long with start times, pitching matchups and starting lineups as they’re announced, followed by in-game updates and takeaways after each game is concluded.
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves (1:07 ET on FOX)
Series tied 0-0
Phillies starter: Ranger Suarez (10-7, 129 K, 3.65 ERA)
Braves starter: Max Fried (14-7, 170 K, 2.48 ERA)
How they match up against each other: This is a division rival matchup between original 16 teams — both franchises date back to the 19th century — but the Phillies and Braves have met just once in the postseason: In the 1993 NLCS, when the Phillies upset the Braves in six games. The Braves are trying to become the first team to secure back-to-back World Series titles since the 2000 Yankees won three in a row and they’re riding the wave of stealing the NL East from the Mets in the final week, going 78-34 since June 1 — the best record in the majors over that span.
The Braves won the season series 11-8 and while the Phillies ended up outscoring the Braves 88-85, the Braves took three of the four one-run games. Austin Riley hit .351 against the Phillies, but with just one home run in 19 games; Matt Olson hit five home runs against the Phillies, but hit just .191. The Phillies will be at a disadvantage since they’ll go with No. 3 starter Suarez in the opener after playing in the wild-card series, but Suarez had a solid 3.21 ERA in five starts against the Braves. Keep an eye on Zach Eflin: The Phillies used the former starter to finish off both wins against the St. Louis Cardinals, including his second career save in Game 2. — David Schoenfield
Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros (3:37 ET on TBS)
Series tied 0-0
Mariners starter: TBD
Astros starter: Justin Verlander (18-4, 185 K, 1.75 ERA)
How they match up against each other: After their dramatic wild-card series win over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Mariners are now assured their first home playoff game since 2001. The question: Can they avoid a sweep and play a second home game? Their biggest obstacle will be figuring out Houston’s Game 1 starter, Justin Verlander — who would also line up to pitch a second game in the series. Not only did he allow no hits in three of his final six starts of the season, Verlander dominated the Mariners in 2022, going 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA.
The Astros won the season series 12-7 with a small plus-8 run differential, so the teams were pretty even in the non-Verlander games, but, to advance, it feels like the Mariners will need to beat Verlander at least once. While moving on would be huge for Seattle, it’s World Series or bust for Houston. With 106 wins — their fourth 100-win season since 2017 — the Astros have a chance to put a “dynasty” stamp on this era with a second World Series title in six years. — Schoenfield
Cleveland Guardians at New York Yankees (7:37 ET on TBS)
Series tied 0-0
Guardians starter: Cal Quantrill (15-5, 128 K, 3.38 ERA)
Yankees starter: Gerrit Cole (13-8, 257 K, 3.50 ERA)
How they match up against each other: This is a very different Yankees team than the one the Guardians faced during the season. New York is more hobbled with injuries, especially in the bullpen, and the New York offense has struggled with consistency in the second half. Cleveland has great potential to upset New York in this series given the Yankees’ inconsistencies on both sides of the ball. In order to move onto the ALCS, the Yankees will need strong performances from the rotation to take pressure off an inconsistent and injured bullpen.
On the flip side, this is not the same Guardians team that New York squared off against early in the season. This is a group that has been really strong in the second half and has seen emerging stars up and down the roster, from Steven Kwan to Andres Gimenez to Triston McKenzie. — Joon Lee
San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers (9:37 ET on FS1)
Series tied 0-0
Padres starter: Mike Clevinger (7-7, 91 K, 4.33 ERA)
Dodgers starter: TBD
How they match up against each other: Padres owner Peter Seidler, appearing on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball in August, referred to the Dodgers as “the dragon up the freeway that we’re trying to slay.” That dragon has often seemed insurmountable. The Padres have spent these last four years doing everything they can — stripping the farm system bare, pushing the payroll to unforeseen levels — in an effort to take down the team that resides 125 miles to the north. But the Dodgers have dominated the Padres in every facet, winning their last nine games against them last year and scoring nearly twice as many runs as them in this year’s season series.
The Padres played the Dodgers tough in the 2020 NLDS, but they had Fernando Tatis Jr. then. They don’t now. What they have is Juan Soto. In order to have a chance this week, Soto and Manny Machado need to do the heavy lifting for the offense, Josh Hader needs to dominate in the back end of the bullpen and the starting pitchers — the Padres’ one true advantage, if they have one — need to do what they did in Queens. But you have to wonder about the Padres’ confidence going into a series like this. They are very much the little brother in this dynamic, and they keep getting bullied. — Alden Gonzalez