2022 MLB playoffs already here – and for the first time, 12 teams are fighting for the glory of the World Series.
With an extra round early in the postseason and the possibility of this year’s Fall Classic extending into Game 7 on November 5, it will be a very short October for some – and it could very well be the last championship celebration in MLB history for the last remaining squad.
Will the favorite Los Angeles Dodgers rule the National League or will the reluctant Braves make another deep breakthrough? Can anyone in the American League stop the New York Yankees and Houston Astros from fighting in the ALCS? And which teams are most likely to finish their performances this weekend?
MLB experts Bradford Doolittle, Alden Gonzalez and David Schonfield have you prepared for everything from match-by-match odds and each team’s predicted last game date to the best and worst case scenario for all 12 World Series contenders. The World Series and match odds are based on the Dolittle formula, using power ratings as the basis for 10,000 simulations to determine the most likely outcomes.
Note. The odds for the World Series and matches are derived from the Dolittle formula, which uses power ratings as the basis for 10,000 simulations to determine the most likely outcomes.
Watch: Wild-card Round Friday-Sunday on Sportzshala and ABC | bracket
I’ll probably go home this weekend
Tampa Bay Rays
Seed #6 | 86-75 | al wild card
Wild Card Enemy: Guardians (45.5% Advance Chance)
World Series odds: 1.9% | Caesar’s chances: +3000
Estimated date for their last game: October 9th.
How could they stay longer: Yes, the Rays have a deep bullpen as always (look at the numbers for Jason Adam and Pete Fairbanks), but the kickoff is a lot better than you might think. Shane McClanahan was Cy Young’s choice for three-quarters of the season, Drew Rasmussen was consistent all season, and Jeffrey Springs went from a mediocre pitcher to a very good starter overnight. All three finished with less than 3.00 ERAs. Then Tyler Glasnow, who finally returned from Tommy John surgery at the end of September. If they need a fifth player, seasoned playoff veteran Corey Kluber is there. The Rays have a pitching depth to withstand the rigors of a long October. — Shenfield
What can send them home before you finish reading this: They fail to score points. Only Cleveland hit fewer home runs among playoff teams, as the roster simply lacks stellar power. Vander Franco failed to ignite while battling injuries in his sophomore year. Brandon Lowe, who hit the 39th homer last season, is out for the season with a back injury. David Peralta hasn’t returned home since he was purchased within the stipulated time. Yandy Diaz hits base and Randy Arozarena was a master of the doubles fight – and we all remember his heroism in the 2020 postseason – but you have to wonder where the firepower comes from. — Shenfield
One thing they do could destroy the Astros: The Rays defeated the Astros at home from September 19 to 21 and then lost two of their three away games to them on the last weekend of the regular season. But it’s hard to draw anything from this, especially in the last series, when the Reis rested key players, preparing for the playoffs. The Rays can play anyone, including the Astros. But their outfield defense could be a divider in a potential matchup. The Raises have had second-best defensive play in the Majors this season, with an above-average strikeout rate. And it’s no surprise that the Astros scored a lot of volleys. José Siri, one of the best centre-backs in the game, could play a big role, especially at Minute Maid Park. — Gonzalez
Seed #5 | 89-72 | al wild card
Wild card opponent: Blue Jays (42.4% chance to advance)
World Series odds: 2.2% | Caesar’s chances: +2000
Estimated date for their last game: October 9th.
How could they stay longer: Refuse to lose. Anything can happen. True for blue. Believe. Hey, after Cal Raleigh clinched Seattle’s playoff berth and ended the franchise’s 21-year playoff drought with a dramatic hit, two strikeouts, last ninth, 3-2, no-run home run — maybe fate is on the side of the sailors. If you want a baseball reason, the bullpen is deep and built for October. But they’ll need to score a few runs, and for that, how about a dream scenario: rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez returns from a back pain that sidelined him at the end of September, and his playoffs have been going on for ages. — Shenfield
What can send them home before you finish reading this: The pitch will have to carry them, but it also looked a little tired at times on the site. Luis Castillo had three tough September starts when he suddenly lost in the middle of an innings. Rookie George Kirby was a model of consistency until a recent underwhelming performance (and has been well above total innings since 2021). Robbie Ray had two zero starts in September mixed with three mediocre ones. The bullpen has been pushed hard throughout the season, and lately Paul Sewald has been leaning towards a homer. The Mariners don’t score enough runs to leave much room for error, so all staff will have to contribute. — Shenfield
One thing they do could destroy the Astros: The Astros won 12 of 19 games against the Mariners but only eight points ahead of Seattle. However, in six games started by Justin Verlander, the Astros outscored their division rivals 30–11. Houston won five of those starts. In his last three games against Seattle, Verlander allowed three runs in 21 ⅔ innings. In other words, it will be critical for Seattle to take advantage on days when Verlander not innings. Jose Urquidi, Framber Valdez and Christian Javier have a 5.40 ERA in 48⅓ innings against M this year. — Gonzalez
They should be around next week, but after that…
Seed #3 | 91-70 | AL Central Champions
Wild Card Enemy: Beams (55.5% Advance Chance)
World Series odds: 2.9% | Caesar’s chances: +3500
Estimated date for their last game: October 15th.
How could they stay longer: The Guardians have been compared to the 2014-15 Royals for their style of play: contact shots, speed, defense…and a dominant bullpen. Emmanuel Clais is as good as anyone, closer to Edwin Diaz, and the top three pitchers ahead of him – James Karinchak, Trevor Stefan and lefty Sam Henges – were all outstanding. They’re hard to hit, they hit, and all four are stingy at home runs. Things have gotten even better since early July as the ERA ranks second in the majors behind the Dodgers. Get the lead in five or six, and Guardians almost always hold it. October baseball is becoming more and more of a stall, and Cleveland can compete with any team. — Shenfield
What can send them home before you finish reading this: Lack of power. The Guardians have the fewest home runs among playoff teams, and you win the playoffs by hitting home runs. Don’t buy it? In last year’s playoffs, the team with the most home runs went 25-2-10—that’s 25 wins, two losses, and 10 tied games. No, the royals didn’t hit many home runs in 2014 and 2015, but they did. did hit them in the playoffs (and it was an era with fewer home runs overall). Sure, it would be fun to see the Guardians scrape and scrape their way to the World Series, but they’ll likely need to step up. — Shenfield
One thing they do could destroy the Astros: The only American League team that kicked the ball in more than the Astros were the Guardians, by a pretty significant margin. Cleveland also stole third in major tournament bases and led the sport by going from first to third in singles. Putting the ball in play and managing bases effectively and aggressively is the Guardians’ recipe for success in October, not just against the Astros, but against everyone. The Astros are the second-best defensive team in the postseason in above-average strikeouts. But Martin Maldonado has been below the league average in stealing percentage this season. The Guardians need to get to the base, and they need to run – and just hope the series doesn’t turn into a slugfest. — Gonzalez
Toronto Blue Jays
Seed #4 | 92-70 | al wild card
Wildcard Enemy: Sailors (57.6% chance to advance)
World Series odds: 3.7% | Caesar’s chances: +1800
Estimated date for their last game: October 16th.
How could they stay longer: The crime is gone. The Blue Jays haven’t delivered the same gaudy offensive performance they did in 2021, but that’s because the league has seen its offensive numbers drop. When this offense clicks, it’s still as good as any other in the game, with a mix of power and tall mid-range hitters. The most important player in this stretch was Beau Bichette, who hit .403 in September. Alejandro Kirk and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are two of the best contact hitters in the game (and Vladi obviously provides upper deck power as well). And don’t forget, George Springer was a great postseason player in his career, hitting .269/.349/.546 with 19 home runs in 63 games. — Shenfield
What can send them home before you finish reading this: BULLPEN. Jordan Romano was pretty good as a insider, although he didn’t quite go crazy with six bad saves (he did finish well, going 19 no points in his last 20 matches). Getting to Romano was a bit tricky. The bullpen was ranked 16th in the FanGraphs WAR Majors, but was only ahead of St. Louis and Milwaukee for playoff teams. Thanks to Romano, they were a bit better at added win probability, but the lack of depth is a problem and indeed, more than any other playoff team, the Jays will need their starting players to go deep into the game. — Shenfield
One thing they do could destroy the Astros: Top three starting Blue Jays players…