MLB National League Wild Card games: Mets and Padres go to game 3 | Phillies sweep Cardinals
In a history-making playoff season, the first ever Wild Card Game 3 has been forced by the New York Mets and the San Diego Padres, with business as usual elsewhere
The format change to the MLB playoffs has had no effect on the outcome of the American League Wild Card landscape, with both of the winners of the first game advancing in straight sets. But the National League picture is not so straight forward.
End of the legendary road
No shock in the playoffs is bigger than the handling of the St Louis Cardinals by the Philadelphia Phillies, ending the Cards’ run at the playoffs and along with it the legendary career of Albert Pujols.
Going into the ninth inning of Game 1, St Louis looked to be cruising, with hopes that Pujols might have some post-season glory to accompany his 703 home runs, 2218 RBIs, and 3384 base hits, seeing his glorious career come to an end with him sitting number four, two, and nine on each of those respective lists.
Then the Phillies staged an unlikely comeback, taking six runs from St Louis, and with it the game. The Cardinals never recovered, and although they had their chances in Game 2, the Phillies seemed to be oozing confidence as they took the 2-0 win and made it to the Division Series for the first time in over a decade.
Philadelphia have had a season that can only be described as mediocre, squeezing in at the last through the tiniest of cracks, and will now have to face the Atlanta Braves who are on a late-season resurgent run, looking every bit the defending champions that they are. This is the first time since 1993, when the shoe was firmly on the other foot, that the two have faced off in the post season, and if the Phillies play anything like they did against St Louis, however, then everything is possible.
History making Game 3
The only team left alive who can break the one-and-done mold, proving the sensibility in expanding the Wild Card round into a best-of-three instead of a single knock-out game, is the New York Mets. Having dropped their first game to the San Diego Padres, the Mets came back in Game 2 to level the series, forcing the third game for the first time ever.
It won’t be a clear-cut outcome though, with both of these teams oscillating between brilliance and pedestrian. With the Mets looking like the best team in baseball for much of the season, they have begun to show some wear on the tires with their starting rotation getting hit more than they would like to be.
Power hitting was the focus of trading season for both of these teams, and for neither team has it yet paid off, and both of these teams will be leaning heavily on their weakened bullpens to get them through the Wild Card round. Whether it is the Padres, who took Game 1, or the Mets who manage to save their skins, the winner will move on to face the top-seed Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS.