A Wild, Wild Card Round



This year’s MLB playoffs has been full of thrilling comebacks and big game drama.

Noah M. Cerimele, Staff Writer

Starting Friday October, 7th the desired, and loved MLB playoffs start, but this year there is a little bit of a different outlook on them, as the 2 longest droughts in the sport, for playoff berth, were broken this year including the Philadelphia Phillies, whos drought was over a decade, and the longest playoff drought in sports was held by the Seattle Mariners, of 21 years, but both teams are still alive and well heading into October.

“There is definitely a different feeling for it this year, as we are seeing teams we don’t usually see this late in the year,” says diehard baseball fan and NAI student Colin Moore.

So with the crack of the bat with the newly named Cleveland Guardians, hosting the Tampa Bay Rays were off and Cleveland had home field advantage, and it definitely showed early as Shane Bieber mowed through the Rays lineup as he went, 7 and ⅔ innings pitched while only allowing 1 earned run. However, on the other side of the ball Shane McClanhan was amazing in his own right going six innings pitched, but Guardians star player Jose Ramirez, chased him for the longball and they gave up their 1 run lead they got in the top half of the inning taken away. Eventually Cleveland would ride the Ramirez home run till the end, winning a 2-1 tight game. 

Now, over 800 miles away the Seattle Mariners appeared in the playoffs for the first time in over 20 years, and they showed that they were ready to play in Canada. The Mariners chased Blue Jays ace pitcher Alek Manoah for 3 runs in the first and they rode on that wave all the way to the end as trade deadline acquisition Luis Castillo pitched 7 and ⅓ innings of shutout ball, and the Mariners won 4-0, When Moore was asked about the Mariners first game back in the playoffs, he said, “I knew the Mariners were a good team, but I didn’t know they could go up to Toronto and shutout that deadly offense.”

In St. Louis, the big three of Cardinal legends, Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, and Adam Wainwright were entering what could be their last series together. Like the other two games of that day, it was a low scoring pitchers duel, kind of a snooze fest, the Cardinals did take a 2-0 lead into the top of the ninth inning with lockdown closing pitcher Adam Helsley coming back to the ninth with a lead, but what absolutely nobody expected was that the Phillies went out and chased Helsley for 6 earned runs and they cruised to a win. Moore says, “It was really unbelievable what the Phillies offense was able to do, in the top of the ninth with their backs against the wall against a Pitcher as good as Helsley.”

It was really unbelievable what the Phillies offense was able to do, in the top of the ninth with their backs against the wall against a Pitcher as good as Helsley.

— Colin Moore

The last game of the night took place in Queens, New York, where the 101 Win New York Mets played the 89 win San Diego Padres. Yu Darvish the starting pitcher for the Padres game 1 is the mets equivalent to the devil, he loves to face the mets and the mets hate to face him and Darvish pitched 7 innings and only allowing 1 run, but that didn’t shock mets fans, what did was one of the best pitchers in the world, Max Scherzer allowed 7 runs, his first time doing so in over 5 years, when I asked Moore, his response was. “Scherzer’s washed, the mets suck” as the Padres cruised to a 7-1 win. 

Day 2 had much anticipation in the air, as 4 teams were now facing their fate in the playoffs, 3 of which were the home team in the series. 

If we thought game 1 in Cleveland was a pitchers duel and maybe a snooze fest, boy we were in for a treat in game 2. The Guardians and Rays wen’t 11 innings before we really got some action, in the top of the twelfth  inning the rays were threatening with a runner on 3rd base and a dribbler up the line and a throw by Jose Ramirez seemed a little suspect, and after over 5 minutes of review, the play was determined out, but later that day on social media picture would show Cleveland’s first baseman’s foot was off the bag meaning a run should have scored.

But I digress, in the bottom  of the fifteenth inning Guardians outfielder Oscar Gonzalez, famous for his Spongebob Square pants walkup song, clubbed a home run to end the game 1-0 after 15 innings. The guardians advance to face the evil empire, the New York Yankees.

In Toronto we got an instant classic, where there was scoring early and often where the Blue Jays jumped on former teammate  and Cy Young award winner  Robbie Ray for 4 runs in 3 innings as Ray Failed to finish the 4th inning, but Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servias decided to go to the bullpen early he thought his team would be safe for a couple innings but it was completely the opposite. His bullpen allowed four runs in the bottom of the 5th inning to put the Mariners down 7 runs. All hope was lost.

Little did Seattle know an explosion was coming.


Now I am a Mariners fan. Personally, I thought this game was over and am sure other Mariners fan were too. But the Mariners motto all year was “Embrace the Chaos”, and that they absolutely did  starting the comeback in the top of the 6th inning where they scored on a wild pitch with the bases loaded down 2-8. Next up who Mariner fans called Carlos Santana, Slantana and that he did hitting a 3 run home run. Mariners down 5-8. They stalled in the top of the 7th and the blue jays got the run back, Mariners down 5-9.

Little did Seattle know an explosion was coming.

A Cal Raleigh double scored a run to only put the Mariners down 3, the inning made its way too 2 outs, the last hitter in the Mariner lineup J.P Crawford placed a ball in the perfect spot in between in the shortstop and the center fielder clearing the bases. Tie game 9-9.

Seattle’s finest Andres Munoz pitched the 8th allowing none. 9th inning. Who started the rally the last inning, Cal Raleigh doubled to get a runner in scoring position.

2 outs. 9th inning. Adam Frazier. And then it happened.

Frazier doubled down the right field line Raleigh scored. They did it the Seattle Mariners made the greatest comeback in MLB postseason history Starter George Kirby came out of the bullpen and finished it off. “It was unbelievable one of the best things I have ever witnessed” Colin Moore said directly after the Mariners comeback win.

Mariners win the series; they head to Houston to face the best team in the American League. 

Entering what could be their last time stepping on the field together Molina, Pujols, and Wainwright started to take it all in one last time, but that wasn’t the main focus it was winning. That they didn’t do, Bryce Harper jumped on Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas for a home run in the second inning. Phillies Pitcher Aaron Nola known for September Struggles proved to be an October ace throwing 6 ⅔ innings of zero run and four hit baseball. That Home run from Harper proved to be all the Phillies needed as they rode that wave into the NLDS against the defending champion Atlanta Braves. 

The last game of the night was probably the most anticipated, would the 101 win Mets flounder? “I hope they don’t but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did they just blew the division lead a week ago, that’s why they are playing in this game,” says Moore.

The Mets needed to show up and thankfully on the likeness of home runs from Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor the Mets rode a wave on to a 7-3 win to keep their season alive for maybe 1 more night.

The only wild card series game that made it to 3 games was the Padres vs the Mets,  fully anticipated matchup, it felt like every baseball fan in the world was watching, to see if the Mets would be one of the biggest collapses in team sports history.  Barstool Sports senior writer Frank Fleming called it, “Very disappointing, among the biggest busts in MLB history.”

What the Mets didn’t have going for them was Joe Musgrove and well, he was amazing. Musgrove was pitching so well that in the bottom of the 6th inning the Mets had only been able to get 2 hits up to that point, Manager Buck Showalter went out to the first base line umpire and requested a foreign substance check. They checked the hat, his hair and his ears. Nothing. The Mets couldn’t get anything. If that was bad enough, the Padres bench started taunting the Mets, Musgrove included and the Padres straight up embarrassed the Mets in an elimination game 6-0. 

The next round was set:

Cleveland- New York Yankees 

Seattle – Houston

San Diego – Los Angeles 

Atlanta – Philadelphia