We're almost down to four teams in the Major League Baseball playoffs. The San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies are set to kick off the National League Championship Series on Tuesday.
The Houston Astros, meanwhile, completed a sweep of the Seattle Mariners over the weekend to claim a spot in the ALCS.
The American League divisional series was supposed to wrap on Monday night. However, a rain delay turned into a postponement, so Game 5 between the Cleveland Guardians and New York Yankees will also take place on Tuesday.
Barring another weather delay, the ALCS should be set by Tuesday evening. Assuming that goes as planned, the upcoming schedule will be as follows:
Lukas Weese @Weesesports
Below is the League Championship Series broadcast schedule:<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MLB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MLB</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Postseason?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Postseason</a> <a href="https://t.co/8RFhJHn2fq">pic.twitter.com/8RFhJHn2fq</a>
The 2022 World Series is slated to kick off on Friday, October 28, with the team with the best record playing host. It is scheduled to conclude on Saturday, November 5, with all games being broadcast on Fox.
So who will make and win the World Series? With five teams still alive, that's tough to predict. However, FiveThirtyEight has set probability percentages for all five teams using an Elo-based statistical system and simulations. The model is updated after every game.
FiveThirtyEight Predictions to Reach, Win the World Series
- Houston Astros: 58 percent, 38 percent
- New York Yankees: 31 percent, 20 percent
- San Diego Padres: 52 percent, 19 percent
- Philadelphia Phillies: 48 percent, 17 percent
- Cleveland Guardians: 10 percent, 5 percent
It's interesting that the Yankees have better odds to win the World Series than two NL teams that have already made the conference championship round. However, it's not particularly surprising.
New York features a talent-loaded roster—headlined by ace Gerrit Cole and slugger Aaron Judge—and won 99 games during the regular season. If the Yankees do get past Cleveland, they should have a legitimate shot at beating the 106-win Astros.
Of course, not everyone expects New York to get past the overlooked Guardians.
Could Cleveland be the sleeper team that wins it all in 2022? FiveThirtyEight's model says it's unlikely. However, at least a few in the social-media world are hoping to see the Guardians make it to the final stage.
Andrew Mason @MaseDenver
I’m rooting for a Padres-Guardians World Series now.<br><br>Cleveland hasn’t won the World Series since 1948. San Diego has never won a major-sports title in anything, unless you count the Major Indoor Soccer League.<br><br>If I don’t have a team playing, I like seeing long droughts end.
Of course, few expected the NLCS to feature the Padres and the Phillies, which goes to show just how difficult it can be to pick winners early in the season. The unexpected often happens in baseball, which is precisely why Cleveland could prevail.
Game 5 between New York and Cleveland could legitimately go either way. We could see both teams go deep into the bullpen, and Cleveland's depth could provide an edge there. But Judge and the Yankees' bats could also give New York an early lead.
As for the National League series, the Padres seem to be the early favorites. Quinn Allen of SportsBettingDime has San Diego as the World Series representative thanks to the postseason experience of players like Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell.
Bleacher Report's Joe Tansey also has the Padres going over the Phillies in the NLCS.
"San Diego's pitching depth, not the hitting of Juan Soto or Manny Machado, will ultimately give it the edge and send it back to the World Series for the first time since 1998," Tansey wrote.
A panel of experts from MLB.com is split on the series, though San Diego again appears to be the favorite. In a poll of reporters and analysts, 46 picked the Padres, while 30 picked the Phillies.
Padres third baseman Manny Machado led the picks for NLCS MVP with 18 votes.
Most early predictions for the World Series champion have been rendered irrelevant because of teams like the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers bowing out before the championship round. However, Fox Sports' Ben Verlander's prediction of an Astros win is still alive.
Verlander's prediction of the Astros over the Braves is not.
The safest prediction that one can make, based on the postseason thus far, is that the unpredictable is likely to occur on the grandest stage.