MLB Playoff Picture 2022: Reviewing Experts' Picks for Updated World Series Bracket

Erik BeastonOctober 10, 2022

MLB Playoff Picture 2022: Reviewing Experts' Picks for Updated World Series Bracket

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    HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 04: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout at the end of the first inning during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park on October 04, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
    Logan Riely/Getty Images

    The American and National League Divisional Series are set following a Wild Card Round that saw stunning upsets, historically long games and some superb pitching. San Diego, Philadelphia and Seattle all played spoiler, while Cleveland survived 15 innings against Tampa to cash their ticket to New York.

    Who do the experts have to emerge from the divisional round and compete in their respective league's championship series for the right to play for a world title?

    What might fans expect from those games?

    Find out with this preview of the next round of the MLB playoffs.

Divisional-Series Bracket and Game 1 Schedule

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    CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Cleveland Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor (22) reacts after hitting a single during the second inning of the Major League Baseball Wild Card Series Game 2 between the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Guardians on October 8, 2022, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Tuesday, Oct. 11

    NLDS: (5) Philadelphia Phillies at (2) Atlanta Braves, 1:07 p.m., Fox

    ALDS: (6) Seattle Mariners at (1) Houston Astros, 3:37 p.m., TBS

    ALDS: (3) Cleveland Guardians at (2) New York Yankees, 7:37 p.m., TBS

    NLDS: (6) San Diego Padres at (1) Los Angeles Dodgers, 9:37 p.m., FS1

Reviewing Expert Picks

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    Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger runs around first base against the Colorado Rockies during a baseball game Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
    AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

    R.J. Anderson (CBS Sports)

    AL Divisional: Yankees, Houston; NL Divisional: Atlanta, Los Angeles

    AL Champions: Houston; NL Champions: Los Angeles

    World Series Champions: Los Angeles


    Kate Feldman (CBS Sports)

    AL Divisional: Yankees, Houston; NL Divisional: Atlanta, Los Angeles

    AL Champions: Houston; NL Champions: Los Angeles

    World Series Champions: Los Angeles


    Rowan Kavner (Fox Sports)

    AL Divisional: Yankees, Toronto; NL Divisional: Atlanta, Los Angeles

    AL Champions: Toronto; NL Champions: Los Angeles

    World Series Champions: Los Angeles


    Alex Rodriguez (Fox Sports)

    AL Divisional: Yankees, Houston; NL Divisional: Atlanta, Los Angeles

    AL Champions: Houston; NL Champions: Los Angeles

    World Series Champions: Los Angeles


    Matt Snyder (CBS Sports)

    AL Divisional: Yankees, Toronto; NL Divisional: Atlanta, Los Angeles

    AL Champions: Toronto; NL Champions: Los Angeles

    World Series Champions: Los Angeles


    Ben Verlander (Fox Sports)

    AL Divisional: Yankees, Houston; NL Divisional: Atlanta, Los Angeles

    AL Champions: Houston; NL Champions: Atlanta

    World Series Champions: Houston

Party-Crashing Phils, Padres

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09: Josh Hader #71 of the San Diego Padres celebrates with Austin Nola #26, Juan Soto #22 and Manny Machado #13 after defeating the New York Mets in game three to win the National League Wild Card Series at Citi Field on October 09, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The San Diego Padres defeated the New York Mets with a score of 6 to 0. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
    Sarah Stier/Getty Images

    First, the Phillies ended any chance at a storybook ending for future Hall of Famers Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina with a two-game sweep of St. Louis in the Wild Card Round. Then, the San Diego Padres sent a New York Mets team packing that had loaded up specifically for a deep postseason run.

    Both squads barely squeezed into the playoffs but now have the attention of everyone, including their higher-seeded opponents, as the divisional round approaches.

    The Phillies got here on a ninth-inning barrage in Game 1 in which they hung six runs on the Cardinals in stunning fashion. In Game 2, they stunted St. Louis' offense, allowing seven hits but no runs. In two games, the Phils allowed just two runs, keeping their heavy-hitting opponents subdued.

    They will have to try to replicate that performance against an Atlanta team they know well. The teams played 19 times this season as division rivals, with the defending World Series champions winning 11 of them.

    They have also met in the playoffs in 1993 when Philadelphia ousted Atlanta in the NLCS to advance to the World Series.

    The Padres completely shut down the bats of the Mets in their two wins over New York, utilizing strong pitching and their own superb hitting to spell the end of Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso and Starling Marte's season.

    They have the unenviable task of matching up with the best team in baseball in 2022โ€”a Los Angeles Dodgers team that set a record for franchise wins and looked every bit as dominant along the way.

    The Dodgers controlled the season series, but the playoffs are an entirely different beast. San Diego got great pitching out of Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove against the Mets, and if there is one thing that baseball fans know about October, it is that pitching and defense can result in even the mightiest of upsets.

    It will be a tall task for the Padres even then, with the Dodgers excelling on both sides of the ball, but they have the makeup of a team that can make some noise or, at the very least, stretch the series longer than some may expect.

Can Aaron Judge Replicate Historic Regular-Season Hitting in the Playoffs?

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 4: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees runs to first base against the Texas Rangers in game one of a double header at Globe Life Field on October 4, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
    Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

    Aaron Judge received all of the headlines and media attention for his record-smashing 62nd home run and the few leading up to it, but some of that is for naught if he cannot carry it over into the playoffs against a Cleveland team coming off a pitching duel with Tampa in Game 2 of the wild-card series.

    The Guardians gave up no runs in 15 innings and sent the Rays home with a home run from rookie Oscar Gonzalez. In the previous game, starter Shane Bieber was dominant, allowing just one run on three hits and recording eight strikeouts.

    If Cleveland can make it difficult for Judge to get going, it can realistically stifle the Yankees offense and ensure New York goes another year without a World Series appearance.

    Factor in some early postseason drama surrounding closer Aroldis Chapman and you have a scenario that would seemingly favor the Guardians.

    Except for the fact that the Yankees led the majors in home runs and was fourth in OPS (.751). Even against solid pitching, the Bronx Bombers had lived up to their nickname all season, hitting balls out of the park 40 more times than the second-best Astros, per MLB.com's Nick Aguilera.

    Something has to give.

    Either Cleveland silences the bats and upsets New York en route to an ALCS appearance or Judge continues a magical year, fueling an offensive onslaught as New York reaches the championship series for the first time since 2019.

Mariners Look to Upset Top-Seeded Astros

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    TORONTO, ONTARIO - OCTOBER 08: Julio Rodriguez #44 of the Seattle Mariners reacts to a line out against the Toronto Blue Jays during the third inning in game two of the American League Wild Card Series at Rogers Centre on October 08, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
    Mark Blinch/Getty Images

    Three experts picked the Toronto Blue Jays to represent the AL in the World Series. Julio Rodriguez and the Mariners blew those postseason predictions up, sweeping the Jays and setting up a meeting with the defending American League champion Astros.

    To do so, they had to overcome a seven-run deficit in Game 2 of the Blue Jays series to stun the home team, showing the sort of resiliency that defines the greatest underdogs in sports history.

    Both teams tout strong rotations, so pitching will almost certainly be the difference in the series.

    Houston's ace, 39-year-old Justin Verlander, should be collecting his fifth Cy Young award at the end of the season and figures to be a key cog in the Astros machine this postseason. He will get the first taste of the Seattle lineup when he pitches Game 1.

    Seattle has yet to make any starter official, but according to MLB.com, president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has strongly suggested it will be Logan Gilbert getting the nod, coming off a breakout season in which he went 13-6 with a 3.20 ERA.

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