2022 American League Wild Card Series 1

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2022 American League Wild Card Series
Cleveland Guardians logo
2022 American League Wild Card Series logo
Tampa Bay Rays logo
Cleveland Guardians
92 - 70 in the AL
2 - 0
Series Summary
Tampa Bay Rays
86 - 76 in the AL


The Teams[edit]




Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Starters Time (ET)
1 Tampa Bay Rays 1 Cleveland Guardians 2 October 7 Shane McClanahan (1-0) Shane Bieber (0-1) 12:07 pm
2 Tampa Bay Rays 0 Cleveland Guardians 1 October 8 Tyler Glasnow (0-0) Triston McKenzie (0-0) 12:07 pm


Game 1 @ Progressive Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Rays 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 1
Guardians 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 x 2 8 0
WP: Shane Bieber (1-0); LP: Shane McClanahan (0-1); SV: Emmanuel Clase (1)
Home Runs: TB - Jose Siri (1); CLE José Ramírez (1)
  • Attendance: 30,741

Game 1 featured both teams sending out their pitching aces, Shane Bieber for Cleveland and Shane McClanahan for Tampa Bay, both coming off excellent season, so a low-scoring game was expected and it was exactly how it unfolded. What was less expected was that all the runs would score by virtue of home runs, since both teams were in the majors' lower third in terms of long balls hit, but that is also what happened. The game was played quickly, as it took only 2 hours and 17 minutes to complete all nine innings.

There was not much action on the basepaths as the two teams combined for just 11 hits. Both starters pitched at least 7 innings, exactly that for McClanahan, and 7 2/3 for Bieber. They walked one opponent between them (by Bieber) and struck out 13, 8 by Bieber. Neither team threatened during the first five innings although the Guardians placed the most runners on base, with Steven Kwan reaching second base in the 3rd on an error by Rays 1B Ji-Man Choi. He was stranded, and when the Guardians had back-to-back singles by Oscar Gonzalez and Josh Naylor with one out in the 4th, Owen Miller ended the threat by grounding into a double play. For the Rays, only Jose Siri hit the ball with any authority, although his fly ball to the warning track in the 3rd was caught easily by CF Myles Straw.

The scoreless spell was broken in the 6th, when all the runs were scored. With one out in the top of the inning, Siri hit another ball well, but this time managed to push it more towards right field and it cleared the fence for a solo home run. The lead hardly lasted, however, as Amed Rosario singled with one out in the bottom of the inning, and José Ramírez followed with a long ball of his own on a ball crushed to center field. The Rays challenged that Rosario had failed to retouch second base as he watched the ball clear the fence, but it wasn't the case. Both runs scored, the Guardians were up, 2-1, and that is the way it would stay. Pinch-hitter Isaac Paredes singled with two outs in the top of the 8th to end Bieber's evening, but closer Emmanuel Clase came out immediately and got Siri to line out softly to third base after pinch-runner Vidal Brujan had stolen second base. In the bottom of the inning, lefty Garrett Cleavinger replaced McClanahan and allowed a two-out single to Ramírez but nothing else. Clase then came back in the 9th to close out the win. He overpowered Yandy Diaz, striking him out on four pitches, then got Wander Franco to ground out and Randy Arozarena to fly out weakly to left field to end the game.

Game 2 @ Progressive Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 R H E
Rays 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Guardians 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 0
WP: Sam Hentges (1-0); LP: Corey Kluber (0-1)
Home Runs: Oscar Gonzalez (1)
  • Attendance: 34,971

Game 2 was very similar to Game 1 - except it took twice as long to play! Once again, there were two dominant starting pitchers, and as a result both teams were struggling to put runners on base, let alone score runs. For Cleveland, young Triston McKenzie got the ball and gave his manager 6 excellent innings, allowing just 2 hits and no runs. For the first 4 1/3 innings, all the outs were recorded on either a strikeout or a soft fly ball to CF Myles Straw. Ji-Man Choi finally got a hit with one out in the 4th, but Tampa Bay never threatened while the rail-thin McKenzie was on the mound. For the Rays, the choice of Tyler Glasnow was a bit of a surprise, not because he wasn't an excellent pitcher, but because he had only pitched three games all year in coming back from Tommy John surgery, one of them in the minors, and would be working with a low pitch count limit. It didn't really matter, as he was so good that he needed just 63 pitches to get through 5 scoreless innings, giving Kevin Cash everything he could have hoped for.

When the two starters left, both teams got to use their entire bullpen. For Tampa Bay, it did not start well as the first reliever used, Pete Fairbanks did not have his usual pinpoint control, walking the two batters he faced, Straw, who then stole second base, and Steven Kwan. Fairbanks was then removed due to an injury - he apparently did not have normal feeling in his fingers - and was replaced by Jason Adam who promptly hit Amed Rosario with a pitch. Now the situation was dire, with the bases loaded, nobody out, and the heart of the batting order coming up, but Adam managed to escape in a way that would have made Harry Houdini proud, striking out José Ramírez and then getting Josh Naylor to ground into a double play. In the 7th, Oscar Gonzalez led off with a single, but the Rays turned another double play, this one hit into by Will Brennan. Those two innings were really the Guardians' biggest threats for a long stretch. But Tampa did not get any offense going either: James Karinchak, Trevor Stephan and Emmanuel Clase pitched a hitless, scoreless inning each in relief of McKenzie, so the Rays had still not scored after nine turns at bat. For Tampa Bay, after Adam's two innings, Drew Rasmussen got five outs and Garrett Cleavinger four, so the Guardians were also unable to score in regulation innings.

With the tiebreaker rule not in effect, the game settled into the sort of long extra-inning duel not seen since pre-Covid-19 days. The Rays used three more pitchers - Shawn Armstrong, Brooks Raley and Corey Kluber - to complete 14 scoreless innings. It was them who had the best scoring chances as the innings kept piling on: Nick Sandlin, like Fairbanks before him, had to leave early due to an injury, but Eli Morgan did good work. The Guardians' next pitcher, Enyel De Los Santos, had a rougher inning in the 12th: he walked the first batter he faced, Randy Arozarena, but got Harold Ramirez to hit into a force out and Vidal Brujan to fly out. However, Taylor Walls singled and Ramirez advanced to third base. Then, in the second key play of the game after Naylor's double play grounder in the 6th, Manuel Margot hit a tough grounder to 3B José Ramírez, who made a great stop, then made an even nicer throw to first, where Naylor made a stretch worthy of a ballet dancer to record the third out by a whisker. The Rays challenged the call, but in vain. Naylor made another magnificent stretch in catching a relay from Ramírez that ended the 13th inning, but this was with no one on base as Sam Hentges was now on the mound. In the top of the 15th, the Rays managed a pair of singles against Hentges, by Brujan and Margot, but the lefty struck out Francisco Mejia and Jose Siri to end the inning. And finally, the first batter of the bottom of the 15th, Oscar Gonzalez, got all of Kluber's 1-0 pitch, driving it deep into the center field stands for a no-doubt walk-off homer. It was a tremendous game, and no other ending would have been worthy. The blast eliminated the Rays, who were done in by their failure to generate any offense - not that the Guardians had done much better, as all of their runs in the short series had come on two home runs...

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mandy Bell: "Oscar-worthy ending in 15th puts Guardians in ALDS", mlb.com, October 8, 2022. [1]
  • Adam Berry: "'Frustrating' dearth of scoring caps Rays' '22: Tampa Bay loses final 7 games of season en route to 1st-round playoff exit", mlb.com, October 8, 2022. [2]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "Rays-Guardians position-by-position breakdown", mlb.com, October 5, 2022. [3]

Related Sites[edit]

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NL Wild Card Series Phillies (WC3) over Cardinals (NLC) (2-0)

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