Major League Baseball: Thrilling first-round clash

The first round of the major league playoffs, which will pit the best runners-up in the American and National Leagues, begins on Friday. In addition to the duel between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners, the post-season schedule will offer fans quality confrontations.

TVA Sports will broadcast national games during the playoff schedule. The Phillies and the Cardinals will square off on our airwaves Friday at 2 p.m. ET. Their duel will be followed by a matchup between the Padres and Mets at 8 p.m.

Tampa Bay Rays v. cleveland patron

The Rays (86-76) won’t be going into the playoffs with much confidence after losing their last five games. The Guardians (92–70) did even better in late September, defeating a Florida team twice.

Tampa Bay’s offense will need to be more consistent after being limited to one point or less in seven of its last 11 contests. Injuries to Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Lowe obviously hurt.

It may be on the mound that it will be played. Shane McClanahan and Tyler Glasnow, who recently returned from injury, are the best options for the Rays. However, Shane Bieber, Tristan McKenzie and Cal Quantrill each had their most productive seasons.

It will also be a battle between managers Terry Francona, the mentor, and his protégé Kevin Cash. The two men worked together for three years in Cleveland.

Philadelphia Phillies v. St. Louis Cardinals

You have to go back to 2011 to see the Phillies (87-75) and the Cardinals (93-69) meet in the playoffs. The latter stunned their rivals before winning the World Series.

This season, the “Cards” have been led by Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, who each surpassed the 100 RBI plateau. Good old Albert Pujols, in his last season in the majors, also contributed very well on offense with 68 points and 24 long balls.

The Phillies are also well endowed with National League home run leader Kyle Schwarber and stars Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins.

Zack Wheeler (12-7) will start St. Louis for Game 1, while Philadelphia will rely on Jose Quintana (6-7).

San Diego Padres v. new york food

The Mets (101–61) came close to winning the Nations East, but were overtaken by the Atlanta Braves, who posted the same record. So the New Yorkers will have to go through the second best and it is a dangerous opponent that awaits them.

The Padres (89–73) vastly improved their squad at the trade deadline by acquiring the iconic Juan Soto and the effective Josh Hader. Soto has been slow to explode in San Diego, but it could be in the playoffs that he will open up the machine.

At pitcher, the Mets have aces in Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer (11-5). It is the latter, the winner of three Cy-Young trophies, that will be sent to the field on Friday. The Padres haven’t announced the identity of their starter, but following the usual rotation, Yu Darvish (16-8) should automatically be there.

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