Good morning, I’m Kevin Sweeney, filling in again for Dan Gartland. It’s time for playoff baseball.
In today’s SI:AM:
Previewing the MLB wild-card series
The MLB postseason gets underway with a bang Tuesday, with all four three-game wild-card series getting underway throughout the day. Here’s a look at what you have to look forward to.
Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays (3:08 p.m. ET)
The Rangers let an automatic spot in the Division Series slip away in the season’s final weekend, dropping the AL West crown to the Astros via tiebreaker. And to make matters worse, that means Texas has to hit the road and take on a 99-win team in the Rays, who came up just short in the AL East. While we tend to think of postseason baseball as producing more low-scoring games, both these offenses rank in the top five in the league in runs scored. Starting pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Tyler Glasnow will have their hands full.
Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins (4:38 p.m. ET)
The Twins have a chance to snap one of the cruelest streaks in sports with a win today. Minnesota hasn’t won a postseason game since Oct. 5, 2004. Much of that horrible streak can be attributed to the team’s struggles with the Yankees over the years (13 of the Twins’ 18 straight playoff losses have come against the Bronx Bombers), so we’ll see whether a matchup with the Blue Jays changes Minnesota’s fortunes. With just 87 wins on the season, the Twins have the worst record of any AL playoff team but do get home field advantage here to try to knock off the Jays.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers (7:08 p.m. ET)
Arizona’s postseason history isn’t as bad as Minnesota’s, but the Diamondbacks do have just one postseason win to their name in the past decade. But after sneaking into the playoffs behind a talented young core that overachieved in 2023, the D-Backs are hunting to make their stay in October an extended one. It won’t be easy Tuesday night against Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, who has pitched to a 2.73 ERA in his last 15 starts and has been electrifying in seven career postseason appearances. The winner of this series gets a crack at the mighty Dodgers in the NLDS.
Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies (8:08 p.m. ET)
The Phillies are no stranger to working their way from a wild card to the World Series, expertly navigating that path a season ago before coming up just short against the Astros. Is another deep October run on the horizon? Before what would be a much-anticipated rematch with the Braves in the NLDS, the Phillies will have to get through a Marlins team that actually won the teams’ season series 7–6 this season. Nine of those 13 games were decided by two runs or fewer, so expect a competitive series here.
Our staff of MLB writers have picks and predictions for the entire postseason. You can check them out here.
The best of Sports Illustrated
- The Giants’ season is already on the brink after another disastrous display, this time an embarrassing offensive showing against the Seahawks. Matt Verderame has more on an organization in flux.
- Chris Herring and Chris Mannix take stock of the two superpowers in the Eastern Conference after both the Bucks and Celtics made huge trades in the last week.
- This might be the last chance the Brewers have to make a playoff push with outstanding manager Craig Counsell at the helm. Tom Verducci breaks down the stakes heading into the team’s wild-card series.
- Some huge games loom in Week 6 of the college football season, including the final Big 12 edition of the Red River Showdown. Pat Forde previews all that’s ahead.
- Albert Breer caught up with Khalil Mack to break down all six of his record-breaking sacks from Sunday’s win over the Raiders.
- Plus, a Week 5 retrospective from Richard Johnson, with thoughts on what we learned about Georgia, USC and more from a hectic Saturday slate.
The top five…
…things I saw yesterday:
The Canucks and Ducks played the NHL’s first regular-season game outside North America on this day in 1997. Which country did the game take place in?
Yesterday’s SIQ: Who is MLB’s all-time leader in home runs by a second baseman? (Today is the anniversary of when he passed Ryne Sandberg to move to the top of that list.)
- Robinson Canó
- Craig Biggio
- Chase Utley
- Jeff Kent
Answer: Jeff Kent. His 377 homers are the most by far by a second baseman. Robinson Canó is next on the list with 335, Rogers Hornsby had 301, Craig Biggio had 291 and Ryne Sandberg rounds out the top five with 282.
While Kent is undoubtedly the best power-hitting second baseman in history, that wasn’t enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. He peaked with 46.5% of the vote this year in his final time on the ballot, well shy of the 75% needed for induction.