After a wild-card premiere that saw three teams upset the favorites, it’s all to play for on Day 2.
The Texas Rangers kicked off the day by eliminating the Tampa Bay Rays with a dominant 7-1 win. The Minnesota Twins won first playoff series since 2002 — while the Milwaukee Brewers are attempting to stave off elimination against the Arizona Diamondbacks. And the Philadelphia Phillies will hope for another strong showing from the home crowd to knock out the Miami Marlins.
We’ve got you covered with lineups, live updates and analysis as the games are played, followed by our takeaways after each final pitch.
Twins 2, Blue Jays 0: Sometimes the analysis is simple: The Twins pitched well, the Blue Jays didn’t hit well — and the Twins swept two low-scoring games for their first postseason series win since 2002. Give credit to a Minnesota pitching staff that has ability to make a deep postseason run. Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray were both excellent in their starts and match up favorably with any team’s top two starters. The bullpen has several guys who can pump it up into the upper 90s. That relief corps has the ability to dominant this October (although Rocco Baldelli’s insistence on using Louie Varland in high-leverage situations may bite him at some point). The question is whether the Twins can score enough runs – but don’t discount their chances to knock off the Astros in the ALDS. As for the Jays, they remain without a postseason win in the Vladimir Guerrero Jr,./Bo Bichette era and you have to wonder if the team needs a major offensive overhaul in the offseason. — David Schoenfield
Rangers 7, Rays 1: Give the Rangers credit: They lost that last series of the season in Seattle , costing them the AL West title, and then had to fly cross country to play a tough Rays team that had the best home record in the AL. We saw the best version of the Rangers, especially Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi combining to allow just one run in 17.2 innings. We saw a lineup that has power up and down the lineup – including rookie Evan Carter, who is having an October breakout.
What we didn’t learn: Can the bullpen close out a tight game? The starters went deep and the games weren’t close. And Bruce Bochy’s decision to bat Robbie Grossman third against right-handed starters remains more than a little given Grossman has hit .182 with a .569 OPS against righties the past two seasons and with some other good hitters to choose from. We’ll see if that continues in Baltimore. — Schoenfield
* All times Eastern
D-backs up 1-0
Phillies up 1-0