By Tatsuya Uemoto, Staff Writer
The MLB Playoffs are a fierce competition between teams that have survived the season and are in the thick of the action, and fan expectations are rising.
Coming into the 2022 season, the MLB and Players’ Association agreed to expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 12. In the new expanded playoff format, each of the six division winners automatically gets a bid, and then there are three wild card teams from the American League (AL) and National League (NL). Each of the top two seeded division winners from each league got a first-round bye for the wild card round, with the other eight teams competing to move on to the Division Series.
The New York Yankees have now made the playoffs for the sixth straight year, finishing the season with a record of 99-63. On Sept. 27, the Yankees clinched a divisional title in the AL East for the first time in three years with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Expectations are high for the Yankees, as they have not won the World Series since 2009, despite 10 postseason appearances since. Therefore, many people hope that this year will be the year they become world champions. After finishing second in the AL, The Yankees are currently taking on the Cleveland guardians, who swept the Tampa Bays in the Wild Card Round.
On the other hand, the Seattle Mariners have made the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, with a record of 90-72. The last time the Mariners made the playoffs was in 2001, so it will get a lot of attention to see what kind of games they will play. On Sept. 30, the Mariners clinched a playoff spot with a dramatic 2-1 win over Oakland Athletics. It was pitchers duel on both sides, with the game tied at 1 heading into the 9th inning. However, a solo homer from Cal Raleigh for the Mariners sealed the deal, giving them a spot in the playoffs as the second Wild Card seed in the AL. There is a great deal of excitement in Seattle, as this is their first postseason appearance in 21 years.
Junior computer science major at the University of Washington, Travis Lee, who is living in Seattle, has been waiting for this his whole life.
“This year has been a very exciting year for Mariners fans. I have lived in Seattle since I was born, and this is the most exciting year of my life as a Mariners fan,” he said. “The year I was born was 2001, and they had never made the playoffs since I was born. So, I am very happy they made it to the playoffs this year. I hope this momentum will help the Mariners become a world champion.”
The San Diego Padres clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 2. Their 89-73 record was good enough for the second wild card seed in the NL. This is the Padres’ first playoff appearance in two years, and one of the players that made a huge impact this year was Yu Darvish. Yu Darvish was a major contributor to the team this season, bringing them 16 wins.
Junior business management major at Fresno Pacific University, Koutaro Matsumaru, who is from Japan, confirms how closely Darvish’s home country is eyeing the Padres’ push in October.
“Darvish’s participation in the playoffs has been widely reported in the Japanese news,” he said. “We are looking forward to his performance in the playoffs.”
The San Diego Padres defeated the New York Mets two games to one in the Wild Card Round. In game one, Yu Darvish only allowed one run over seven innings, securing the 7-1 victory. After the Mets won game two by a score of 7-3, the Padres shut out the Mets 6-0 on Sunday, Oct. 8, to clinch the series and move on to the NLDS, where they will take on their divisional rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers won the NL West with the best record in baseball of 111-51.
In this way, the playoff attracts attention from all over the world and becomes a major event for many people. The remaining eight teams will look to solidify their ticket to the World Series.