Wild Card Day 2 Live: D-backs vs Brewers, Phillies vs Marlins

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Well, that was fast!

With one game still to go, three of the wild card matchups have already been decided: The Texas Rangers opened the day by eliminating the Tampa Bay Rays with a dominant 7-1 win, and the Minnesota Twins won their first playoff series since 2002 by sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays. The Arizona Diamondbacks knocked off the NL Central-winning Milwaukee Brewers, and the Philadelphia Phillies are coming off another strong showing from the home crowd so far, hoping to knock off the Miami Marlins.

We’ve got you covered with our takeaways after each series ends.

Original link: Day 1 | What you need to know Parentheses Selection Watch on ESPN, ABC

Live updates

Takeaways

Twins 2, Blue Jays 0: Sometimes the analysis is simple: The Twins pitched well, the Blue Jays didn’t hit well — and the Twins swept two low-scoring games for their first season series win since 2002. Credit a Minnesota pitching staff that has the ability to make a deep postseason run. Pablo Lopez And Sonny Gray Both were great in their starts and would match up favorably with the top two starters on any team. There are plenty of guys in the bullpen who can pump it into the upper 90s. This relief corps has the potential to be dominant this October (despite manager Rocco Baldelli’s insistence on using it Louis Verland may bite him at some point in high-arousal situations). The question is whether the Twins can score enough runs — but don’t discount the possibility of knocking off the Astros in the ALDS. As for the Jays, they remain without a postseason win Vladimir Guerrero Jr./Bo Bichette era, and you have to wonder if the team needs a major offensive overhaul in the offseason. –David Schoenfield


Rangers 7, Rays 1: Credit the Rangers: They lost the season-ending series in Seattle, lost their AL West title, and then flew cross-country to play a tough Rays team that had the best home record in the AL. We especially saw the best version of Rangers Jordan Montgomery And Nathan Eovaldi Allowing just one run in 17⅔ innings. We saw a lineup that had power ups and down lineups — including rookies Evan CarterThose having an October breakout.

What we didn’t learn: Can the bullpen stop the tight game? The starters went deep and games weren’t close. And manager Bruce Bochy’s batting decisions Robbie Grossman At third against right-handed starters, with few other good hitters to choose from, Grossman remains somewhat suspect as he hit .182 with a .569 OPS over the past two seasons against righties. We’ll see if that continues in Baltimore. — Schoenfield


Arizona 5, Brewers 2: What we saw during an all-too-brief NL Wild Card round in Milwaukee was perhaps a young, talented team beginning a new chapter in its history. Arizona’s sweep was impressive — not because its flashy athleticism was on full blast but because the team showed that the big stage isn’t too big. It’s a clichéd observation to be sure, but it fits.

The Diamondbacks displayed professional, disciplined batting in both games. The quality of their at-bats improved as the game progressed and they got it Corbin Burns And Freddy Peralta Second time by order. They did it with power, always a good formula for postseason wins.

The Arizona bullpen has been impressive in two games, with manager Torrey Lovullo showing no qualms about bringing out a parade of guys you’ve probably never heard of. but Kevin Zinkel, Joe Mantiply, Miguel Castro And the others all rolled late in the season — and when a bullpen gathers steam in the playoffs, anything can happen.

To be sure, it’s a gut-punch loss for Milwaukee, which squandered numerous scoring opportunities with multiple runners on base and so has little to show for it from a 94-win season. But credit probably also goes to Arizona, which did an outstanding job of handling the situation. If the D-Backs keep it up next week, this matchup against the heavily favored Dodgers could be a fun one. –Bradford Doolittle

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