Nothing but sweeps in the MLB Wild Card round. Two-up, two-down in all four series. The Twins, Rangers, Diamondbacks, and Phillies are all moving on.
It’s a short-and-sweet edition today, and that’s because we’re prepping for another doozy of a weekender for tomorrow’s newsletter. You won’t want to miss it.
How Sweep It Is
Twins, Rangers, D-Backs & Phillies All Sweep Wild Card Rounds in 2 Games
Light work in the Wild Cards! All four opening-round series of the MLB playoffs were clean sweeps, and that spells trouble for the top seeds waiting in the next round. The Twins won their first playoff series in 21 years. The Rangers had the Rays backed against the wall for two straight games. The Diamondbacks used another comeback to shock the Crew. And in the nightcap, the Phillies flexed on the Marlins to set up a date with the Braves (oh, baby!).
What a week for Minnesota! After the Twins erased that haunting 18-game postseason losing streak, they finished the job on Wednesday with a 2-0 shutout against the Blue Jays. Sonny Gray was just too good (5 IP, 6 Ks, 5 Hits, 0 ER). Toronto left ducks on the pond twice, including a ground-out double play with the bases loaded. The Blue Jays were just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position this series. And now, it’ll be the Twins Cinderella story against baseball’s favorite villains, the Astros. MIN Wins Series (2-0)
All Texas in Game 2. A scoreless pitching duel through three innings was turned upside down when Adolis Garcia and Evan Carter went deep in the 4th. The Rangers started rolling after that, hanging seven runs in the 4th, 5th and 6th to demoralize the Rays. Remember, Tampa Bay started the season with that historic win streak. Come October, they’re going home with a Wild Card sweep. Rangers march on against the Orioles. TEX Wins Series (2-0)
In similar fashion to Game 1, the Brewers jumped on the Diamondbacks early and took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning. That lead remained through five frames after Zac Gallen (6 IP, 4 Ks, 5 Hits, 2 ER) recovered from the early woes. But Arizona got rolling with a four-run 4th that took Freddy Peralta off the mound. Corbin Carroll (2-for-4) and Ketel Marte (1-for-3, 2 RBIs) were brilliant again, and Alek Thomas hit a solo HR. The D-Backs, after sneaking into the postseason, have a date with their NL West rival Dodgers in the next round. ARI Wins Series (2-0)
It was all Phillies in the nightcap! Philadelphia got seven shutout innings from Aaron Nola (7 IP, 3 Ks, 3 Hits, 0 ER), and three runs of support in the 3rd and 4th innings before Bryson Stott put the game out of reach. The Stott Shot! The Phillies’ 2B just barreled a ball for a grand slam that put Philly up 7-0. The home fans went nuts, and the stage is set for Phillies-Braves in the NLDS. PHI Wins Series (2-0)
Division Series Matchups
AL: #1 Orioles vs. #5 Rangers
AL: #2 Astros vs. #3 Twins
NL: #1 Braves vs. #4 Phillies
NL: #2 Dodgers vs. #6 Diamondbacks
ALDS/NLDS Game 1s: Saturday (Oct. 7)
Premier League Bounces Back
Newcastle & Man. City Dominant as Premier League Bounces Back in Champions League
Another day of Champions League action saw two Premier League clubs bounce back after their league counterparts were upset on Tuesday. Wednesday was a different story. Newcastle didn’t just beat PSG (4-1), they obliterated them. Paris actually dominated possession (74%—26%), but Newcastle connected on 50 percent of their shots. Elsewhere, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona were all winners. The early stages of the Champions League mean there’s still plenty of time to turn things around, but the boys from Newcastle are off to a hot start.
Champions League Highlights (Matchday 2)
The 2030 edition of the World Cup will be an intercontinental affair. Morocco, Portugal and Spain will host the tournament, but the first three matches will be held in Uruguay and Argentina to commemorate the World Cup’s 100th anniversary. (Sports Illustrated)
WNBA fans have been clamoring for expansion teams to increase the league beyond just 12 squads. The WNBA released a video Wednesday on social media teasing that an announcement is coming Thursday regarding potential expansion. (Bleacher Report)
The transfer portal has been chaos for the NCAA across all sports, and it’s starting to see changes. The NCAA Division I Council approved shrinking of the transfer portal windows on Wednesday, dropping the gap from 60 days to 45 days. (CBS Sports)
Question of the Day
Which of the early NFL MVP front-runners do you think will win MVP? (click to vote)
QB Josh Allen (Bills) — +400 Odds
QB Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) — +500 Odds
QB Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) — +550 Odds
QB Jalen Hurts (Eagles) — +750 Odds
QB Lamar Jackson (Ravens) — +1000 Odds
RB Christian McCaffrey (49ers) — +2000 Odds