The best-out-of-three wildcard weekend took place over the last three days in Toronto, New York, Cleveland and St. Louis. We now know the divisional matchups in each league, as in the American League, Seattle will play Houston, and Cleveland will play the New York Yankees. Meanwhile in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers will play San Diego, and Atlanta will play Philadelphia. Here are five takeaways from Wildcard weekend.
5) Max Scherzer has his worst career playoff game.
On Friday in Game One of the National League Wildcard Series between the New York Mets and San Diego Padres, Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer had the worst playoff outing of his career, which has seen him throw 27 postseason games. He gave up seven earned runs, including four home runs for an ERA of 13.50 in a 7-1 loss. After losing game two, the Padres won 6-0 in game three on Sunday.
4) Toronto Blue Jays bullpen simply awful.
Blue Jays manager John Schneider has received a lot of criticism for taking out Kevin Gausman in the sixth inning on Saturday in game two with the Blue Jays leading the Seattle Mariners 8-1. Toronto had significant bullpen struggles down the stretch, but they were never as bad as they were on Saturday in a 10-9 game two elimination loss. Yes there was defensive miscommunication between Bo Bichette and George Springer in the outfield, but the Blue Jays relievers should not have surrendered nine runs in three and a third innings. In order for Toronto to take that next step, the Blue Jays will need to revamp their bullpen.
3) Mariners win first playoff series since 2001.
Seattle won their first playoff series in 21 years when they eliminated the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Wildcard Series. Their last playoff series win was in 2001 when they beat the Cleveland Indians in five games in the American League Divisional Series.
2) Phillies got great starting pitching.
The Philadelphia/St. Louis series will be best remembered for the final games that Cardinals legend Albert Pujols ever played. But it should also be remembered for the great starting pitching by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. The two combined to pitch 13 innings without giving up a run, as the Phillies won game one of the series 6-3 and game two of the series 2-0.
1) Guardians beat Rays in a low scoring series.
The Cleveland Guardians eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays in a very low scoring series. Just how low? Well, there were only four runs in 24 innings. After Cleveland beat Tampa Bay 2-1 in game one, a run was not scored until the 15th inning in game two when Oscar Gonzalez of the Guardians hit a solo blast in a 1-0 Cleveland win. It was the first time ever that a Major League Baseball playoff game did not have a run scored after 14 innings.