Recap of Day 1 in the 2023 MLB Playoffs, featuring victories for the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Twins, and Rangers. Exciting postseason action!
Day 1 of 2023 MLB Playoffs: Wild Card Round Recap
The 2023 MLB playoffs kicked off with a thrilling start as eight teams battled in the best-of-three wild-card round. Let’s take a closer look at the outcomes and key highlights of the Day 1 games:
Philadelphia Phillies 4, Miami Marlins 1: The Phillies faced off against the Marlins in a game that seemed like a mismatch on paper. In Game 1, Zack Wheeler pitched masterfully, carrying a shutout into the seventh inning. The Phillies’ offense also shone, with five of their eight hits against Jesus Luzardo clocking in at 104 mph or higher. Although the Marlins managed to scrape together a run in the seventh, the Phillies’ bullpen, now stronger and deeper than last year, held the line. Notably, Jose Alvarado’s 94-mph cutter struck out Yuli Gurriel, extinguishing a potential Marlins comeback. The Phillies have a chance to make a deeper postseason run if their bullpen continues to perform well.
One thing to know for Game 2: The Phillies’ success last postseason was anchored by their pitching duo of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. While Wheeler delivered in Game 1, Nola’s regular-season performance in 2023 has been less stellar than the previous year. His playoff form will be crucial in determining the Phillies’ postseason fate this month.
Arizona Diamondbacks 6, Milwaukee Brewers 3: The Diamondbacks, known for their speed, surprised everyone by unleashing their power in Game 1 against Milwaukee’s ace Corbin Burnes. Rookie of the Year contender Corbin Carroll led the charge with a 440-foot home run. The Brewers, on the other hand, missed critical scoring opportunities, including loading the bases twice without capitalizing. Evan Longoria, an unexpected hero, made a sensational catch that turned into a game-changing double play. The Diamondbacks now lead the series 1-0, with Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly set to pitch the next two games.
One thing to know for Game 2: Winning the opening game on the road gives the Diamondbacks an advantage in potentially upsetting the Brewers. With ace Zac Gallen taking the mound in Game 2, the Brewers will have to step up, especially without injured pitcher Brandon Woodruff.
Minnesota Twins 3, Toronto Blue Jays 1: The Minnesota Twins put an end to their painful 18-game postseason losing streak, dating back to 2004, with a hard-fought victory over the Blue Jays. Rookie Royce Lewis made a triumphant return after a hamstring injury, hitting two home runs and driving in three runs against Kevin Gausman. Gausman’s pitch selection came under scrutiny, as Lewis capitalized on a 3-2 four-seamer in the first inning. With Sonny Gray set to start Game 2, the Twins are in a promising position to win their first postseason series in years.
One thing to know for Game 2: The Twins, buoyed by their Game 1 victory, will aim to clinch a spot in the ALDS. Toronto’s starter, Jose Berrios, faces his former team after spending the first six years of his career in Minnesota. Berrios will have to contend with the formidable Gray, presenting a challenging matchup.
Texas Rangers 4, Tampa Bay Rays 0: The Rangers made a significant impact in Game 1 of the wild-card round, with Jordan Montgomery delivering an exceptional performance against the potent Tampa Bay offense. Montgomery pitched seven scoreless innings, showcasing his prowess as a postseason pitcher, even without high strikeout numbers. Rookie left fielder Evan Carter also stole the spotlight, going 2-for-2 with two doubles and two walks. The Rays’ defensive struggles, marked by four errors, and questionable pitching decisions by manager Kevin Cash contributed to their loss.
One thing to know for Game 2: The Rays, who had an impressive regular season, now pin their hopes on Zach Eflin, their highest-paid free-agent signing. Eflin has demonstrated his best performance at home, making Game 2 a crucial test. The Rangers, with their strong lineup, are poised to continue their success.
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