The Wild Card Round is over, and now there are just eight teams left in the postseason. There are four Divisional Round series to get to, below you’ll find notes, odds and statistics on each.
Here’s what you need to know as the MLB playoffs roll on.
ALDS 1: Yankees (-220) vs. Guardians (+180)
Regular season results: 5-1, Yankees
wRC+ since Sept. 15: Yankees 127 (2nd), Guardians 105 (10th)
FIP since Sept. 15: Yankees 3.86 (20th) Guardians 3.32 (5th)
This is the only ALDS matchup that doesn’t feature division rivals. Sure, the Yankees are heavy favorites, but the Guardians aren’t a team anyone wants to see right now. Cleveland finished up the regular season with a 7-3 record over its last 10 games. That’s due in large part to a red-hot pitching staff led by Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie. Cleveland’s pair of aces were dominant in the Wild Card Round against Tampa Bay with a combined 13.2 innings pitched, just one earned run and 16 strikeouts. The Guardians pitching staff allowed just one run over two games against the Rays in 24 innings (Game 2 went 15 innings).
New York posted a modest 5-5 record down the stretch in games that were largely irrelevant. Still, the Yankees have a lineup that is far too dependent on eventual AL MVP Aaron Judge and Game 1 starter Gerrit Cole was far from a top shelf ace in 2022. Cole finished with a 3.50 ERA and surrendered four earned runs in three of his last five starts.
The Yankees will see Bieber and McKenzie in Games 2 and 3, respectively, and Cleveland’s bullpen is equally nightmarish for opponents. These two teams haven’t met since July 3, which means New York’s regular season dominance isn’t a straight-line indicator that this series will be a breeze.
ALDS 2: Astros (-250) vs. Mariners (+200)
Regular season results: 12-7, Astros
wRC+ since Sept. 15: Astros 118 (4th), Mariners 116 (5th)
FIP since Sept. 15: Astros 2.68 (1st), Mariners 4.15 (22nd)
Speaking of teams that haven’t seen each other in a while, the last time the Astros and Mariners played was on July 31. That’s rare for division rivals. Houston has owned Seattle for a while now and are understandably the largest favorites in the Divisional Round. The Astros own arguably the best rotation in all of baseball along with one of the game’s most feared lineups.
If you’re a believer in teams of destiny, you might buy into Seattle making this a series. The Mariners just swept the Blue Jays in the Wild Card Round as the road team. In Game 2, Seattle overcame an 8-1 deficit to win 10-9.
The edges in this series all favor Houston (save for maybe the bullpens), but Seattle is a scrappy team that won’t go down quietly.
NLDS 1: Braves (-200) vs. Phillies (+165)
Regular season results: 11-8, Braves
wRC+ since Sept. 15: Braves 110 (7th), Phillies 93 (16th)
FIP since Sept. 15: Braves 3.45 (9th), Phillies 3.84 (18th)
Philadelphia was carried through the Wild Card Round by two excellent starts from Zach Wheeler and Aaron Nola and one insane ninth inning comeback in Game 1. Bryce Harper homered in Game 2 against St. Louis for what was his first long ball since Sept. 24.
Atlanta closed their season with a 7-3 record over their final 10 games. The Braves currently have the third-shortest odds to win the World Series on WynnBET at +450 (Dodgers +280, Astros +340), and for good reason. Max Fried, Spencer Strider and Kyle Wright headline a talented rotation. Atlanta continues to mash the baseball with a stellar lineup centered around Dansby Swanson, Michael Harris, Austin Riley, Ronald Acuña and Matt Olson.
If it were up to me to make the lines (and thank goodness it isn’t), I’d have Atlanta as the top ALDS favorites.
NLDS 2: Dodgers (-225) vs. Padres (+185)
Regular season results: 14-5, Dodgers
wRC+ since Sept. 15: Dodgers 92 (19th), Padres 105 (11th)
FIP since Sept. 15: Dodgers 3.03 (3rd), Padres 3.53 (10th)
The Dodgers absolutely dominated the regular season series between these two division rivals. Three of the Padres five wins against Los Angeles were of the walk-off variety. It’s hard not to look at this series and wish Fernando Tatis Jr. (suspended) was playing in it.
The Dodgers won an MLB-leading 111 games in 2022 and were a wagon throughout the season. Los Angeles fields superstars at damn near every spot in the lineup and owns a rotation that features four starters with a sub-3.00 ERA.
I’d feel better about San Diego’s chances if Juan Soto were playing better. He has struggled by his standards since being traded to the Padres at the deadline with just six homers and a .236 average. His walks aren’t going to get the Padres over the top in this series.
That said, Soto didn’t have an extra base hit in the Wild Card Round, and the Padres were still able to pull off the upset against the Mets.