MLB 2022: Championship Series
Division Series Recaps and Predictions for the Pennant
By MLB Correspondent Mia Barahona
Ironically, the Division Series featured three matchups of division rivals out of the four matchups. The highly anticipated matchups provided upsets from the lower seeds against the higher seeds, the first inside-the-park home run by a catcher in postseason history, extra innings heroics, and a lucky goose to remember.
Division Series Recap
NL: #1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. #5 San Diego Padres
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers
Winner: San Diego Padres
The Dodgers won 111 regular season games and had a huge advantage when it came to playing their NL West rival, the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers won the season series 14 games to San Diego’s 5 games and had a divisional lead of 22 games between the first place Dodgers and second place Padres in the NL West. The Padres and their lucky goose won the series causing an upset over the favored Dodgers.
In game 1, Dodgers’ starter Julio Urias made his first career game 1 postseason start, allowing 3 runs in 5 innings pitched while striking out 6 batters. The Dodgers started their scoring with a Trea Turner home run in the bottom of the first inning. The Dodgers added 3 more runs in the bottom of the third inning chasing Padres’ starter Mike Clevinger out, having only pitched 2.2 innings while allowing 4 runs on 6 hits. The Padres’ Wil Myers tried to start a comeback in the top of the fifth inning hitting a solo home run. The comeback wasn’t enough as the Dodgers won the game, 5-3.
In game 2, Padres’ Manny Machado started the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the first inning. Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning and Max Muncy hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. The Padres regained the lead in the top of the third inning with a Manny Machado double and Jake Cronenworth groundout. The Dodgers soon tied in the bottom of the third inning with a Trea Turner solo home run. What should’ve been an inning double play in the top of the second inning, Dodger’s Trea Turner made an error allowing 2 San Diego runners on base that eventually scored a run from Padres’ Jurickson Profar RBI single. Jake Cronenworth added on a solo home run to seal a Padres win 5-3.
In game 3, Padres’ Jake Cronenworth hit an RBI single driving in Juan Soto that gave the Padres a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Dodgers’ starter Tony Gonsolin was shaky and left the game after pitching only 1.1 innings allowing reliever Andrew Heaney to give up a solo home run to Padres’ Trent Grisham. A Mookie Betts’ sac fly in the top of the fifth inning cut the Padres lead to 2-1. The Dodgers offense had many opportunities to score more runs, including a bases loaded jam in the top of the third inning, but failed to capitalize as they went 0 for 9 in runners on scoring position. The Padres eventually won the game 2-1, their first postseason win at home since 2006.
In game 4, after a 31-minute rain delay, San Diego native and Padres’ pitcher Joe Musgrove gave up a 2-run double to the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman in the top of the third inning to put the Dodgers up 2-0 in their elimination game. The Dodgers then added another run in the top of the seventh inning hoping that they could get 9 more outs and force a game 5 in Los Angeles. Other plans happened as the Padres’ Austin Nola started a 5 run comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning that completed the comeback and upset as the Padres defeated the Dodgers 5-3; The Padres earned a championship berth, their first since 1998. With the Dodgers defeat, they became the second team to lose a playoff series to an opponent with 22 less wins as the first was the Chicago White Sox over the Chicago Cubs in the 1906 World Series.
NL: #2 Atlanta Braves vs. #6 Philadelphia Phillies
Prediction: Atlanta Braves
Winner: Philadelphia Phillies
The defending 2021 World Series Champions, the Atlanta Braves, have the highest expectations to repeat as champions once again. The last repeat champions were the ‘98-’00 New York Yankees and the Braves hoped to return back to the World Series starting off with a divisional series against their NL East rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves look to have had an easy series win but the Phillies got hot at the right time when it mattered and caused an upset as the Braves would not be looking to repeat as champions.
In game 1, the Phillies’ offense got off to a hot start when Nick Castellanos and Alec Bohm hit RBI singles in the top of the first inning to put the Phillies up 2-0. Braves’ Travis d’Arnaud hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Phillies added 4 more runs between the top of the third inning to the top of the fifth inning to extend their lead to 7-1. In a last hope of sparking a ninth inning comeback, Braves’ Matt Olson hit a 3-run home run to put the Braves within a run but ultimately fell short 7-6.
In game 2, a rain delay of 2 hours and 55 minutes didn’t stop Braves’ starter Kyle Wright from pitching 6 scoreless innings allowing 2 hits and walking 1 while striking out 6 batters. A struggling Braves offense came to life during the bottom of the sixth inning as they scored 3 runs. The Braves 3 runs was enough to win the game and tie the series a game apart heading back to Philadelphia.
In game 3, the game remained scoreless until the Phillies’ offense exploded for 6 runs in the bottom of the third inning that started with a Bryson Stott RBI double, a Rhys Hoskins bat slam for a 3-run home run and ended with a solo home run from Bryce Harper. The Phillies’ offense wasn’t done scoring as they scored 3 more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning that led them to a 9-1 victory.
In game 4, Phillies’ Brandon Marsh hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of the second inning followed by an inside-the-park home run by J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto’s home run made him the first catcher ever to hit an inside-the-park home run in the postseason. The Phillies’ opened the scoring with a 3 run bottom of the sixth inning. The Braves’ solo home run efforts weren’t enough to tie as the Phillies added another run with a Bryce Harper solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning that propelled them to a 8-3 win earning a championship series berth, their first since 2010.
AL: #1 Houston Astros vs. #5 Seattle Mariners
Prediction: Houston Astros
Winner: Houston Astros
Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that the Houston Astros are a force to be reckoned with. Their offense is explosive and their pitching is fantastic. Arguably one of the favorites to win the World Series, the Astros will do anything to win and forget about the troubled sign stealing scandal.
In game 1, in his first postseason game since 2019, Astros’ starter Justin Verlander pitched a disappointing 4 innings allowing 6 runs on 10 hits. The Mariners had a substantial lead coming into the bottom of the ninth inning 7-5. Instead of Astros’ Yordan Alvarez being walked with 2 outs, Mariners’ Robbie Ray allowed a walk-off 3-run home run hit by Alvarez as the Astros won 8-7.
In game 2, Astros’ Kyle Tucker started the scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning. The Mariners quickly tied and regained a 1 run lead in the top of the fourth inning. As if Yordan Alvarez already hadn’t saved the Astros before in the prior game, he did it again. Yordan Alvarez hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning and it was enough to help the Astros win, again, 4-2.
In game 3, a new postseason record was set as this was the first postseason game in Seattle in 21 years. For seventeen innings, the game remained scoreless surpassing the previous record of fifteen innings between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Guardians in the 2022 American League Wild Card Series game 2. Astros’ rookie Jeremy Pena hits a solo home run in the top of the eighteenth inning to give the Astros a much needed 1-0 lead. The Mariners couldn’t come back to tie and walk-off the game, sending the Astros to the championship series in six consecutive seasons with their win.
AL: #2 New York Yankees vs. #3 Cleveland Guardians
Prediction: New York Yankees
Winner: New York Yankees
The Yankees are one of the best franchises, not only in baseball, but in other sports from around the world. Their 27 championships are a record within the MLB, but the team always strives for greatness and a 28th championship. Their last championship came in 2009, and have struggled to meet the expectations since then. This year, slugger Aaron Judge had a phenomenal season to remember with 62 home runs, 131 RBI’s and a .311 avg. that could possibly win him the MVP and a championship back to New York.
In game 1, Gerrit Cole made his first postseason start at Yankee Stadium since becoming a member of the team in 2020. He gave up a solo home run to the Guardians’ Steven Kwan in the third inning to put the Yankees down 1-0. The Yankees’ offense came back to score runs in the bottom of the third inning, fifth inning, and sixth inning to give them the lead 4-1. Other than allowing a single run, Gerrit Cole pitched 6.1 innings while walking 1 batter, hitting a batter and striking out 8 batters. The Yankees won 4-1 and marked their sixth straight postseason win over Cleveland since the 2017 American League Division Series game 3.
In game 2, Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton started the Yankees scoring with a 2-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. The Guardians came within a run from an Andres Gimenez RBI single in the top of the fourth inning and tied the game 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run from Amed Rosario. Guardians’ Oscar Gonzalez hit an RBI single to break the tie and pull ahead 3-2 in the top of the tenth inning. Josh Naylor hit an RBI double to add an insurance run to propel the Guardians 4-2 as that was enough to win the game.
In game 3, the Guardians scored 2 runs between the bottom of the first and second inning but not before Aaron Judge hit a game tying 2-run homerun in the top of the third inning. The Yankees kept on adding on to their lead 5-3 hoping to win. In the bottom of the ninth inning down 2 runs, the Guardians came back to win 6-5.
In game 4, facing elimination, Yankees’ Gerrit Cole pitched 7 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 8 batters. Anthony Rizzo started the Yankees’ scoring with an RBI single in the top of the first inning. Harrison Bader hit a 2-run home run totaling the Yankee runs to 3. The Guardians came up with an RBI single from Jose Ramirez in the bottom of the third inning and a solo home run from Josh Naylor in the bottom of the fourth inning to pull within a run, 3-2. The Yankees added their final run from a Giancarlo Stanton sac fly and forced a game 5 in New York as they won 4-2.
In game 5, Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton hits a 2-run home run to quickly put the Yankees up 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Aaron Judge adds a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning to extend the Yankees’ lead 3-0. Guardians’ Jose Ramirez hits a sac fly in the top of the third inning to put Cleveland in the scoring column but wasn’t enough as Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo hits an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning as the Yankees ultimately won the game 5-1 and the series.
Championship Series predictions
NL: #5 San Diego Padres vs. #6 Philadelphia Phillies
Prediction: San Diego Padres (series is currently 1-1)
If you were to tell me earlier this year that the Padres and Phillies were competing for the NL pennant with a World Series berth on the line, I would have laughed because the Dodgers and Braves are arguably the best teams in the National League right now. That is nowhere near today’s case as the Padres and Phillies caused their respective upsets and are now looking to compete against each other. Both of these two teams are neck and neck with each other in every category but the Padres have the slightest advantage in offense and starting pitching. The Padres can win, but don’t doubt the Phillies ever.
AL: #1 Houston Astros vs. #2 New York Yankees
Prediction: Houston Astros (Astros currently lead 1-0)
This is a highly anticipated series for numerous reasons. It’s a rematch of the very controversial 2017 and 2019 ALCS. The tension between these two teams building up from the past 5 years will most definitely make this series a must watch with intense moments and a potential winner takes all game 7. Both teams have high scoring offenses, dominating pitching staffs, and skilled defense. But to win the AL pennant, would be the Houston Astros because of their recent domination against the Yankees and how well they can perform in games as they are the better team between the two.
Championship Series Schedule
(Separate schedule for NL and AL)
*If necessary (Best-of-7 series)
NL games will be on Fox/FS1
- Game 1: Tuesday, October 18 | (Phillies 2-Padres 1)
- Game 2: Wednesday, October 19 | (Padres 8-Phillies 5)
- Game 3: Friday, October 21
- Game 4: Saturday, October 22
- Game 5: Sunday, October 23
- Game 6: Monday, October 24*
- Game 7: Tuesday, October 25*
AL games will be on TBS
- Game 1: Wednesday, October 19 | (Astros 4-Yankees 2)
- Game 2: Thursday, October 20
- Game 3: Saturday, October 22
- Game 4: Sunday, October 23
- Game 5: Monday, October 24*
- Game 6: Tuesday, October 25*
- Game 7: Wednesday, October 26*