Here are Tuesday's results:
The four winners lead the Wild Card Series 1-0. These are best-of-three series, so we have four potential clinchers Wednesday.
The 2023 MLB postseason got underway Tuesday with the Diamondbacks, Phillies, Twins and Rangers notching victories in Game 1 of their respective Wild Card Series. History was made in Minnesota, while the Diamondbacks and Rangers pulled off road upsets to put themselves on the verge of the League Division Series.
The best-of-three Wild Card Series continue Wednesday with the Rays, Blue Jays, Brewers and Marlins fighting to stay alive.and .
Now let's recap the first day of the 2023 MLB postseason with six things we learned.
The big story on the losing side in Tampa was the complete and utter collapse of the Rays' normally reliable team defense. In all, the Rays committed four errors in Game 1, three of which were on throwing miscues. With error No. 3, the Rays became the first team to commit three errors in a postseason game since the Yankees in the 2019 ALCS. They reached their nadir with error No. 4, which was committed by the usually slick-fielding Jose Siri and which allowed the Rangers to double their lead from 2-0 to 4-0. During the regular season, the Rays ranked a quite respectable 10th in MLB in defensive efficiency, which is the percentage of balls in play that a defense converts into outs. Those team-wide skills, however, fully eluded them on Tuesday.
For the winning side, the story was starting pitcher and deadline addition Jordan Montgomery. At the front of a somewhat uncertain Texas playoff rotation, Montgomery delivered in a big way against one of the best offenses in baseball. In the end, he twirled seven scoreless innings against Tampa Bay with five strikeouts and no walks. Getting that kind of depth from Monty – who's been excellent this season both before and after the trade out of St. Louis – was huge.
It was not certain Royce Lewis would even be on the postseason roster. He did not play after Sept. 19 because of a hamstring injury, but he's healthy enough to DH in the Wild Card Series, and Lewis put the H in DH in Game 1. He swatted home runs in his first at-bats -- a two-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the third -- and he joined Evan Longoria and Gary Gaetti as the only players to go deep in their first two postseason at-bats. Lewis, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, has never been short on talent. He's just had trouble staying healthy. When he is on the field, he's a difference-making player, and we saw it in Game 1.
. Tuesday's Game 1 win was Minnesota's first postseason win since Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS. The 18-game postseason losing streak was not only the longest in baseball history, it was the longest in the history of the four major North American sports league. It's over now, and the Twins will look to begin a new streak -- a winning streak -- in Game 2 on Wednesday.
When it's on, Kevin Gausman's splitter is one of the most lethal pitches in the game. Hitters missed with 43% of their swings against it during the regular season, an astronomical rate, and when they did put it in play, the average exit velocity was 84 mph. It's difficult to hit, and when you do hit it, you don't hit it hard. In Game 1, the Twins did an excellent job laying off the split. Look at their results against the pitch:
That's a lot of takes on splitters below the zone, the ones that are supposed to get whiffs. During the regular season Gausman's splitter had close to a 50% swing rate. In Game 1, it was only 32%. Minnesota did well laying off the pitch and it forced Gausman into some bad counts, including on the second Lewis homer. He allowed three runs in only four innings.
On paper, the Brewers had a massive pitching advantage in Game 1: Corbin Burnes vs. Brandon Pfaadt. The D-backs could not get their rotation lined up for the Wild Card Series because they needed Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly to start last week just to get to the postseason, so Pfaadt got the ball in Game 1. Milwaukee took advantage with three early runs and a 3-0 lead.
The Diamondbacks stormed back, however. Corbin Carroll (two-run) and Ketel Marte (solo) hit back-to-back home runs in the third, then Gabriel Moreno hit a solo homer in the fourth to give Arizona a 4-3 lead.
Burnes allowed four runs in four innings plus two batters in Game 1. It was the third time in 2023 he allowed at least three homers in a game. He did it zero times in 2020, 2021, and 2022. I am certain the D-backs would have signed up for a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning prior to Game 1. That's probably the best case scenario for a Burnes vs. Pfaadt matchup.
Because of Pfaadt's short start -- three runs in 2 2/3 innings -- the D-backs and manager Torey Lovullo had to dip deep into their bullpen in Game 1. Six relievers combined for 6 1/3 shutout innings, but they certainly weren't clean innings. The Brewers had plenty of traffic. Look at these blown opportunities by Milwaukee:
Evan Longoria saved the D-backs with a brilliant lunging play in that fifth inning, turning a would-be double into the corner into an inning-ending line drive double play. He also prevented a double down the line in the seventh inning, holding the hitter to an infield single and keeping the double play in order. The next batter went 6-4-3. This is vintage Longoria:
The Brewers had 12 hits and four walks (and a hit batter) in nine innings, and they did go 3 for 10 with runners in scoring position, but it wasn't enough. Only two of those 12 hits went for extra bases and it's hard to win with singles. Milwaukee ranked 25th in home runs during the regular season and the inability to hit the ball out of the park was evident in Game 1.
Not only do the D-backs have a 1-0 lead in a best-of-three series, but they have Gallen and Kelly lined up for Games 2 and 3. The Brewers, on the other hand, can't give the ball to Brandon Woodruff in Game 2. He's out with a shoulder issue, so it'll be Wade Miley or Freddy Peralta. Good pitchers, both of them, but Arizona has to feel pretty good handing a 1-0 series lead over to Gallen on Wednesday.
How's this for symmetry: the Phillies notched 10 hits on the night in their win over the Marlins, with everyone contributing at least one. (Trea Turner, ever the overachiever, picked up the slack by recording two.) Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, Cristian Pache, and Nick Castellanos each drove in runs, with Bohm's third-inning double opening scoring and Castellanos' eighth-inning double closing it.
Amusingly, Bryce Harper was the last Phillie to enter the hit column. If his postseason history is any indication -- heck, if his regular season is any indication -- he could be in for another big month. Harper batted .349/.414/.746 with six home runs and 13 RBI in 17 games last October.
The four winners lead the Wild Card Series 1-0. These are best-of-three series, so we have four potential clinchers Wednesday.
Christian Walker doubled in two insurance runs in the top of the ninth and Arizona escapes Game 1 with a win despite the lopsided Brandon Pfaadt vs. Corbin Burnes starting pitching matchup. They now have Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly lined up for Games 2 and 3. Milwaukee had 12 hits and four walks (and a hit batter) in the game, but only two extra-base hits, and it's hard to put a crooked number on the board with singles.
The Brewers haven't announced their Game 2 starter yet. It was supposed to be Brandon Woodruff, but he has a shoulder issue. It's expected to be Wade Miley, though they could pivot to Freddy Peralta. Either way, Milwaukee's back is up against the wall and the D-Backs have their ace going Wednesday. A huge, huge Game 1 for Arizona.
A lot less drama than it looked like there would be about 10 minutes ago
They wanted to make sure this was only a one-run game heading to the ninth. Instead, Christian Walker just doubled home two off the center field wall. Geraldo Perdomo had already been caught stealing, so Williams has only gotten one batter out. It's 6-3 Diamondbacks.
Six huge outs by him. Arizona will hand at least a one-run lead to Paul Sewald in the ninth.
First and second with no outs, then no runs. The two teams have combined to leave 17 runners on base in 7.5 innings. Still 4-3 Arizona. Both teams have had plenty of chances.
Another terrific play by Longoria. Didn't get the out at first, but it kept it from going down the line for a double. That kept the double play in order and, sure enough, the next hitter went 6-4-3 to end the inning.
We're in the seventh inning. The D-Backs are on their sixth pitcher. I think they're gonna ask Ginkel and Sewald to get these last nine outs. Not sure who else they trust here, honestly.
The Brewers have put 15 runners on base in five innings and have scored only three runs. Seems hard to do.
The Brewers had the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the third inning and failed to score. In the bottom of the fifth, they loaded the bases with no out. Bryce Turang struck out and then Arizona turned to Ryan Thompson. Tyrone Taylor -- who hit a two-run homer earlier in the game -- hit a line drive that looked like it was ticketed for left field, which could've meant two runs for the Brewers.
Instead, three-time Gold Glover Evan Longoria made a leaping stab. The runner on second, Willy Adames, was caught too far off the base and doubled off to end the inning.
If this one ends up a close Diamondbacks' win, file this play away in your memory banks.
The score remains 4-3 Diamondbacks through five innings in Milwaukee. Both starters are gone, so it's a battle of the bullpens the rest of the way.
Line drive double play and the Brewers do not score after loading the bases with no outs. Sheesh.
every time I've glanced at this game the bases have been loaded
No HBP. It missed him. Overturned on replay. Still 3-3, though the bases are loaded with no outs.
Or maybe he wasn't HBP? Replay makes it look like it missed him.
And a bases loaded HBP ties the game.
Singles by Frelick, Adames, and Donaldson load the bases with no outs. Ryne Nelson is in for Arizona. Always liked his arm, but the results haven't been there as a big leaguer yet. Bottom of the order coming up for Milwaukee down 4-3 in the fifth.
Moreno grounds out. Both teams have turned bases loaded, two outs into zero runs.
D-Backs now have the bases loaded with two outs for that Moreno guy.
The first two batters he faced in the fifth reached base. Abner Uribe coming in to face the 2-3-4 hitters with two one and no outs. Pretty huge moment!
Here's the video. This is a tank job. Moreno is the youngest catcher to go deep in the postseason since Buster Posey in 2010 (Posey was a few weeks younger):
The first two games today took roughly 2:40, which is amazing time for a postseason game. D-Backs and Brewers are 90 minutes in and it's the bottom of the fourth 😬
D-Backs went 2 for 9 the first time through the lineup against Burnes. They're 3 for 6 with three homers the second time through.
Brewers strand the bases loaded, and the first batter of the next inning goes deep. Gabriel Moreno to deep center field. It's 4-3 D-Backs.
Had runners on second and third with one out, and the bases loaded with two outs, and did not score. It's only the third inning, but that felt like a missed opportunity. Wouldn't have been a bad idea to pinch-hit Monasterio for Turang against the lefty (though Turang did draw a walk). It's 3-3 after three.
The Brewers had a 3-0 lead with ace Corbin Burnes on the hill, so it looked like everything was going as planned for the NL Central champs. Things took a drastic turn very quickly in the top of third inning, though. Nine-hole hitter for the Diamondbacks Geraldo Perdomo singled with one out. Leadoff man and overwhelming favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll followed with a home run. Then Ketel Marte went back-to-back.
That was the first career playoff homer for Carroll, obviously, as he's a rookie playing in his first-ever playoff game. This is Marte's fifth career playoff game and second career playoff home run. At 23 years old, Carroll is the youngest D-Backs player ever to hit a postseason home run. He's the fourth Arizona rookie to homer in the playoffs, after Erubial Durazo (1999), Mark Reynolds (2007) and Paul Goldschmidt (2011).
The last time the Diamondbacks went back-to-back in the playoffs was NLDS Game 1 in 2017 against the Dodgers when Marte and Jeff Mathis did it against Clayton Kershaw.
Corbin Carroll just obliterated a baseball. No-doubter off Corbin Burnes. The lead is cut to 3-2. D-Backs needed that shot in the arm ... and Ketel Marte just went deep. Back-to-back homers tie the game at 3-3.
Had a gut feeling today that Pfaadt would be effective for about five innings. The gut was wrong.
Tyrone Taylor with a no-doubt bomb to left field. It's the second inning. The D-Backs couldn't line up Gallen or Kelly for this start because they needed them last week to clinch a postseason berth, and it's biting them right now.
Pfaadt escapes the inning with just the one run allowed. Could've been worse.
Carlos Santana found a hole with a ground ball single. The Brewers have runners on first and second with one out against Brandon Pfaadt.