The second phase of the playoffs begins this Tuesday

Major League Baseball’s first foray into a best-of-three wild-card round provided its share of memorable moments.

A 15-inning, 432-pitch game. A seven-run comeback. Joe Musgrove’s ears.

Now it’s up to the division series, which is business as usual with a best-of-five format. The four matchups are Braves-Phillies, Padres-Dodgers, Mariners-Astros and Guardians-Yankees and all start Tuesday.

The Astros, Yankees, Braves and Dodgers rested and watched the wild-card round drama from home, thanks to superior regular-season records. Now they will bring their own stories to the postseason stage.

Rested Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who set the American League record with 62 home runs this season, has a chance to crush postseason home runs. Jose Altuve, Justin Verlander and the Astros bring their extensive postseason experience to the mix.

The Dodgers and their lineup loaded with Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman take the field. Then there’s the defending World Series champion Braves, who rallied to win the NL East in the closing days of the regular season and look formidable once again.

Some of the game’s biggest stars are already heading home from the wild-card round: Max Scherzer, Pete Alonso and the Mets are all gone after a 101-win season. The good story of veteran Cardinals stars Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina ended in part because of a leaky bullpen. The Blue Jays and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. bounced back with an impressive Mariners comeback.

Who are the favourites?

Big question.

The Dodgers have dominated all season with a lineup that includes Betts, Turner and Freeman. They won 111 games in one of the best seasons in franchise history.

In the American League, the Houston Astros also surpassed 100 wins. They have a loaded lineup that includes Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez, along with Verlander, the potential AL Cy Young winner. The Yankees were sailing through much of the season, led by Judge’s breakout year, but they haven’t played that well since the All-Star break.

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Then there are the defending World Series champion Braves, who still have a loaded lineup that includes Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson, Michael Harris, Matt Olson and Ronald Acuña Jr.

Phillies vs. Braves

The Phillies won a playoff series for the first time since 2010 to advance to the NLDS, and will begin the 2022 Division Series slate against the defending champion Braves. The Braves and Phillies met fairly evenly in 2022, as the season series was tilted 11-8 in favor of the Braves. In those games, seven were decided by two runs or fewer.

Mariners vs. Astros

The Mariners came back from a seven-run deficit to shock the Blue Jays in Game 2 of the ALWCS, and will now face the AL leader. This season, Houston got the better of Seattle, taking 12 of 19 games in the regular season.

guardians

versus yankees

The only matchup that isn’t a division rivalry, the Guardians and Yankees will meet in the postseason for the second time in three years. The two teams met in the 2020 American League Wild Card Series, when New York swept Cleveland.

parents collide

with Dodgers

The Padres defeated a 101-win NLWCS Mets team on the road and will have to face another powerhouse in the 111-win Dodgers. This is the second time the two teams have met in the postseason, as the Dodgers swept the Padres in the 2020 NLDS en route to their first World Series title in more than 30 years.

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