Wild Card series all square at 2 games apiece, Arizona’s biggest surge yet

The 2023 Major League Baseball Wild Card Series (WC) all ended with two wins.

On May 5, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Miami Marlins 7-1, the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2, the Texas Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-1, and the Minnesota Twins defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 to advance to the Division Series.

Since the best-of-three system was introduced, teams that win the first game of a series have a 100 percent winning percentage. Including last year, only eight series have gone to a final three games, including the San Diego Padres-New York Mets in 2022. It was an ultra-short series, and the momentum from Game 1 carried over into Game 2.

The biggest upset in the 2023 WC was the Arizona Diamondbacks’ victory. Arizona rallied from multi-run deficits in both Game 1 and Game 2. They rallied from 0-3 in Game 1 and 0-2 in Game 2 to win 6-3 and 5-2 to end Milwaukee’s 2023 campaign. Only three other teams have ever won back-to-back games after trailing by two runs or more: the 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers, the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, and the 2009 New York Yankees.

Milwaukee finished the regular season with a 90-72 record and Arizona with an 84-78 postseason record, with Arizona’s starting pitching holding Milwaukee to five runs and its bullpen shutting down the Milwaukee offense for 9.1 scoreless innings in Game 2. Arizona is back in the postseason for the first time in six years since 2017, advancing to the Division Series. They will face their division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who went 5-8 in the regular season.

The Philadelphia Phillies, who reached the World Series last season and lost to Houston, showed a clear power advantage at the plate against the division rival Miami Marlins. After taking Game 1 4-1 behind a strong performance from starter Zack Wheeler (6.2 innings of one-run ball) and hits from every batter in the lineup, the Phillies cruised to an easy win in Game 2 on a walk-off home run by second baseman Bryson Stott in the sixth inning. It was the first postseason grand slam by a Phillies player since Shane Victorino in 2008. Stott hit the home run after three strikeouts.

The Phillies reached the World Series last year as a wild card. They will face the Atlanta Braves in a rematch of last year’s district championship, which they won 3 games to 1.

In the American League, the fifth-seeded Texas Rangers and third-seeded Minnesota Twins advanced to the Division Series. Texas will face the first-place Baltimore Orioles (10-61) and Minnesota will face the defending WS champion Houston Astros (90-72). Las Vegas oddsmakers have Houston as the favorite to advance to the WS.

The Twins won their first postseason series in 21 years, since 2002. They swept Toronto, 3-1 and 2-0. Rookie Luis Royce’s game-winning home run in Game 1 was the difference in the series. Shortstop Carlos Correa, who made a short-term home with the Twins after offseason deals with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets fell through, played a crucial role on defense, including a game-ending double play in Game 1 and an out at second base in Game 2. 무지개토토

Toronto had just one double in two games. In Game 2, they were robbed of a pair of hits, including a thrown out at second base by Guerrero Jr. and a double play by Matt Chapman with the bases loaded.

The division series between the two leagues begins on Aug. 8 at four different ballparks.

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