2022 MLB World Series preview and how we got here

October is one of the most exciting months of the year. Pumpkin patches, Halloween, beautiful scenery, all of the major North American sports return to play, and then there is the MLB Postseason. This year 12 teams, 6 from each league, fought for the Commissioner’s Trophy in hopes of reaching the mountain top.

The teams representing the American League were last year’s pennant winner Houston Astros (106-56) alongside the New York Yankees (99-63), Cleveland Guardians (92-70), Toronto Blue Jays (92-70), Seattle Mariners (90-72), and the Tampa Bay Rays (86-76). The Mariners saw their electric return to the playoffs after a 21-year absence and the Guardians made the playoffs in their first year under the new name.

Aaron Judge (99) hits record-breaking 62nd home run against the Texas Rangers. (Tim Heitman USA-Today sports.)

The Bronx Bombers were led by AL home run leader and a record-breaking season by RF Aaron Judge. Roger Marris’ 61 home-runs in 1961 was a record that stood for, yes, 61 years and was broken by Judge’s 62. His 10.6 bWAR led all  major leaguer’s and is the current favorite for the AL MVP as Angels 2-way star and 2021 MVP Shohei Ohtani is currently odds for the runner-up.

The National League’s playoff picture looks different from their AL counter parts as three teams reached over 100 wins. Led by the 1st-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers (111-51), and followed by the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets who both finished (101-61). Rounding off the contenders with the St.Louis Cardinals (93-69), San Diego Padres (89-73), and Philadelphia Phillies (87-75).

The San Diego Padres were able to keep pace ending the season with a respectable 89 wins and their first full-season postseason birth since 2006. This came in spite of the suspension of arguably their best player, Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. who had previously been injured in a motorcycle crash and expected to return by season’s end.

The New York Mets saw their first return to the playoffs since their 2016 Wild Card defeat against the San Francisco Giants. The Phillies were the last team to make the playoffs and return for the first time since 2011 which saw them fall to the Cardinals in the National League Divisional Series (3-2).

Wild Card weekend would see four teams move on to the division series and send the other four teams back home to hibernation until February. The first of the teams to go would be the Tampa Bay Rays who fell 0-2 to the AL Central champion Cleveland Guardians. The rays couldn’t keep up with the Guardians exceptional pitching and would go home on an explosive 15th-inning walk-off home run by rookie RF Oscar Gonzalez.

The Seattle Mariners celebrate their historic win against the Blue Jays to advance to the ALDS. (Nathan Denette , AP Photo, The Canadian Press.)

The next team to go was the 92-win Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays would fall 0-2 to the Seattle Mariners, who won their first playoff series since 2001. Seattle’s electric offense gave all that they had in Game 2 mounting one 0f the most outstanding comebacks in Playoff history. After five innings of play the Blue Jays would go up 8-1. Following the fifth inning, Seattle would end up scoring nine of the game’s last ten runs to win 10-9 and advance to the ALDS to face off against the one-seeded Astros.

The National League Wild Card games were later on both days including Sunday Oct.9th’s deciding game 3 between the New York Mets and San Diego Padres. That series would see the San Diego Padres edged out the 101-win New York Mets 2-1 for the series after a 6-0 win in game three. The Mets hitters were no matchup to the $100-million man, Joe Musgrove, who shut down the Mets. He allowed just one hit over seven scoreless innings.

The Phillies faced off against the NL Central champion Cardinals (93-69) in the wild card series as fans around the country expected to see arguably the greatest ‘battery’ in team history suit up for a playoff run to remember. Even with star-studded corner infield duo Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals were stunned by the Phills, losing both games of the series.

The Division Series would see the 2 best teams of each league advance to face each other in the Championship series.

The Seattle Mariners were looking to capitalize off of their amazing win in Toronto, heading into the American League Divisional Series against the Houston Astros. However, this momentum would quickly die down after Game 1. Superstar slugger Yordan Alvarez would send a moonshot to take the series lead. After this, the Mariners offense could never quite match up with the Astros as they picked apart Seattle’s bullpen in Game 2, allowing 3 runs after the fifth and squandering their lead once again.  Rookie Jeremy Peña was able to hit a clutch 18th inning home run to officially send the Mariners home, sweeping Seattle and advancing to the ALCS to meet with the Yankees for a rematch of the 2019 American League Championship Series.

Josh Naylor (center) celebrates with Oscar Gonzalez (left) as the Guardians take a 2-1 series lead against New York. (Via Reuters, USA Today Sports)

The New York Yankees would face the Cleveland Guardians in the ALDS. The New York Yankees would drop 2 of their first 3 games in the division series. The pitching was lackluster and the Guardians were able to capitalize by stealing a game in New York. After the Guardians walked off game 3 with an Oscar Gonzalez single, the Yankees had their work cut out for them. New York was able to take game 4 with a commanding 4-2 win and would close out the series after Game 5’s 5-1 win. Led by a hot start and exceptional bullpen, the Guardians were unable to catch up with the Yankees as they advanced to the ALCS.

The NLDS 2 series’ would see both 100+ win squads taken down by the league’s underdogs.

San Diego Padres celebrate beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLDS. (Robert Gauthier, Los Angeles Times)

The San Diego Padres and 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers was an exciting matchup that led up to the hype. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the San Diego Padres have seen a roster overhaul that is built for moments like these. Adding players such as Austin Nola, Joe Musgrove, Josh Hader, Josh Bell, Yu Darvish, and most importantly superstar RF Juan Soto.  The dodgers were able to take a 1-0 series lead with a strong 5-3 victory in game 1 off the backs of great relief pitching. After this, however, the Dodgers wouldn’t win again.

The 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers might be the best team to never win a MLB playoff series. With one of the best offenses in baseball headlined by free agent acquisition 1B Freddie Freeman, the offense when cold. The star-studded pitching rotation for the Padres outdueled the Dodgers bats as the Padres went on to their first championship series since 1998.

The Philadelphia Phillies faced off against their division rival Atlanta Braves. The reigning World Series champions had narrowly edged out the Mets in the final week of the season to win the National League East. The Phillies bats came alive in game 1 as the electric back and fourth game ended in a 7-6 victory for Philadelphia. The explosive offense was shut down in game 2, as the Phillies were shut out 3-0 with the series tied up 1-1 going back home for Philadelphia. The offense would wake back up and score 17 runs in the following two games to send the Phillies to their first championship series since 2010.

The Championship series for both the NL and AL were over in just a combined nine games. The Houston Astros would silence the Bronx bombers, sweeping America’s team and shocking many in pursuit to their 4th Fall Classic appearance since 2017.

Jeremy Pena motions a gesture to the Astros dugout after a double in Game 1. (Troy Taormina, USA Today Sports)

The Houston Astros were the 2nd best team in the regular season amongst both leagues. The Yankees had confidence going into the series and many predicted a tight 6 or 7 game fight. Instead, the Astros amazing pitching and offensive production by the usual suspects, with rookie Jeremy Peña taking home ALCS MVP honors as the Astros to roll over the Yankees in 4.

The Philadelphia Phillies were able to take down the San Diego Padres in 5 games. Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins finally came alive after a slow postseason for the Phillies as Hoskins became the first Phillie since Chase Utley to achieved a multi-home run game in the postseason. The Phillies rotation were able to shut down ‘Slam Diego’ holding the Padres to just 11 runs in Philadelphia’s 4 wins. NLCS MVP Bryce Harper contributed a crucial 2-run home run to help lift the Phillies over the Padres in game 5 to send them to their fall classic since 2009.

2022 MLB Postseason bracket as of October 24th,2022. (© 2004-2022 CBS INTERACTIVE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CBS Sports is a registered trademark of CBS Broadcasting Inc. Images by Getty Images and US Presswire)

This 2022 postseason is getting wrapped and has come down to the final two teams, NL Pennant winner’s Philadelphia Phillies, and AL Pennant winner’s Houston Astros

The Philadelphia Phillies  (87-75) have had an improbable run to the World Series. First the underdogs barely snuck into the playoffs after beating the Astros on Oct. 3rd to clinch their first birth in 11 years. They didn’t end the regular season how they had liked to with back-to-back losses to the Astros heading into Wild Card weekend.

The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate their Game 5 win over the San Diego Padres to advance to the World Series. (David Maialetti © 2022 The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC. All Rights reserved.)

Headlined by Superstar OF/DH and 2021 MVP Bryce Harper, the Phillies have achieved what few thought was possible. On May 31st, The Phillies sat at just 21-29 for the season as it looked like another wasted year for the club, which has mired in mediocrity since 2012. Even worse, on June 25th they lost Bryce Harper to a thumb injury. This would ignite a spark in the team. The team promoted bench coach Rob Thompson and everything seemingly turned around.

NL home run leader and 2022 all-star Kyle Schwarber had a career year when the Phillies needed it most. Led by the 2-headed monsters with starting pitchers Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, the Phillies long-standing bullpen issues had some holes patched in the process and with their explosive offensive output by Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T. Realmuto, the Phillies are now fighting for their first World Series since 2009.

The Houston Astros have been the best team in baseball ever since bursting onto the scene during the 2017 season. Of course their infamous chelating scandal will forever hinder their postseason success and some fans will put an asterisk on their runs in 2017 and 2018. Led by LF/DH Yordan Alvarez and his 1.019 OPS, the Astros came back to form this year as the American League’s top dog. Their lineup from top to bottom once again shows the continued success of baseball’s most divisive team.

AL Cy Young front-runner Justin Verlander came back to the field this year and shocked the world by returning to form and putting up a season comparable to his 2012 MVP season. Verlander had an MLB-low 1.75 ERA and an 18-4 record. Christian Javier and Framber Valdez continued their amazing pitching leading to one of the best rotations in baseball.

Houston Astros celebrate the sweep of the New York Yankees to advance to the 2022 World Series. ( New York AP Photo/John Minchillo)

This World Series is reminiscent of last year’s fall classic as the NL underdog once again goes up against the Houston Astros. (Philadelphia Phillies) The Atlanta Braves were able to secure their first championship since 1995 behind an amazing rag tag group that was able to work together to beat the Astros. Both teams had a generation defining super star with the Braves’ Freddie Freeman and the Phillies Bryce Harper. The stakes are set and now it’s time to play ball.

Game 1 of the 2022 World Series will take place at Minute Maid Park on Friday Oct. 28 with first pitch at 8:03pm EST. AL CY Young favorite Justin Verlander (18-4 1.75 ERA) and Phillies Ace Aaron Nola (11-13 3.25 ERA) will kick off the final series of 2022.