After winning their first Wild Card Series game on Day 1 of the Major League Baseball playoffs, the Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies can advance to the next round with victories on Wednesday.
As is often the case when the playoffs roll around, pitching was king on Tuesday.
None of the four winning teams allowed more than three points. Minnesota and Philadelphia allowed just one, while Jordan Montgomery and two relievers combined in Texas’ shutout at Tampa Bay.
Nathan Eovaldi (12-5) starts Wednesday for the Rangers as they try to close out the best-of-three series against Zach Eflin (16-8) and the Rays, who have lost six straight postseason games since 2021.
Zack Wheeler pitched 6 2/3 splendid innings to lead defending NL champion Philadelphia to a 4-1 victory over the Miami Marlins. Aaron Nola (12-9) pitches the Phillies’ second game against Braxton Garrett (9-7).
Pablo López and four relievers held off George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays as the Twins ended a record 18-game playoff losing streak with a 3-1 victory.
Sonny Gray (8-8, 2.79 ERA) will appear in Game 2 for Minnesota against José Berríos (11-12, 3.65), who was traded by the Twins to Toronto in July 2021.
Arizona got 6 1/3 scoreless innings out of its bullpen and erased an early three-run deficit in a 6-3 win at Milwaukee. The Diamondbacks now have ace Zac Gallen (17-9) to face Freddy Peralta (12-10) on Wednesday.
The Braves are currently the betting favorites to win the World Series at +270, followed by the Dodgers (+420) and Astros (+450), according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
BACK WITH A BANG
Royce Lewis homered in his first two postseason at-bats for Minnesota. He had been out for two weeks due to a left hamstring strain.
“It was the most nervous and exciting match I have ever played in my life,” he said. “It was so much fun.”
Lewis, 24, became the third player in major league history to go deep in his first two postseason appearances, following Evan Longoria for Tampa Bay in 2008 and Gary Gaetti for the Twins in 1987, according to the Sports Bureau. ‘Elias.
Lewis was selected by the Twins with the first pick in the 2017 amateur draft, but the start of his major league career was cut short by injuries. He tore the ACL in his right knee during an offseason workout in 2021 and again last year, just 12 games after his Twins debut. Maintaining his rookie status in 2023, Lewis never missed a beat.
“He’s definitely a special talent, the kind of talent that can lead you to win a lot of games when the playoffs come around,” teammate Carlos Correa said.
The playoff opener between Texas and Tampa Bay drew an announced crowd of just 19,704 to Tropicana Field, the lowest for a postseason game since the 1919 World Series, except during the pandemic of coronavirus, according to the Elias Sports Office.
The crowd was approximately 5,300 people below Tropicana Field’s listed capacity.
Meanwhile, the Rays went retro for Game 1.
Wearing the Devil Rays jerseys that the team wore during a decade of futility, Tampa Bay was held to six hits and committed four errors in a 4-0 loss.
“It was a frustrating game,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I don’t remember us playing a game like that in a while.”
It was the first time Tampa Bay, which began play as an expansion franchise in 1998, wore Devil Rays jerseys in the postseason.
Batting third in the Arizona lineup, Tommy Pham went 0 for 4 with a walk. He struck out twice and scored once.
The veteran outfielder has been dealing with turf toe, which has limited him to designated hitter most of the last two weeks.
Pham said he would “probably get an injection to help” before the opener against the Brewers.
“This is the first time I’ve had turf toe,” Pham said. “I honestly didn’t even know what was going on. I thought it was my crampons, so I changed crampons. Then, gradually, the situation got worse, so here I am.
HOW TO WATCH
The wild-card rounds will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and ESPN. Subsequent rounds will be split between Fox, FS1 and TBS.
Wild Card Series: October 3-5
Division Series: October 7-14
League Championship Series: October 15-24
World Series: October 27-November. 4
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