MLB Playoffs: Philly Downs Padres, Yankees Head to Houston

MLB Playoffs: Philly downs Padres, Yankees Head to Houston
A Guardians batter breaks the bat in Game 5 against the Yankees. | Image by Getty Images

National League Championship Series, Game 1: Phillies 2, Padres 0.

Philadelphia won Game 1 of the National League Championship Series 2-0 on Tuesday night after Kyle Schwarber hit a 488-foot home run to help beat the Padres in San Diego.

Schwarber’s homer was the longest in Petco Park’s 18-year history on a night where both teams combined for only four hits, eight baserunners, and totaled 20 strikeouts.

Zack Wheeler’s seven innings of one hit pitched helped the Phillies win. He only allowed two baserunners, a walk to Juan Soto in the first and a single up the middle by Wil Myers in the fifth.

Yu Darvish was the starter on the mound for the Padres and allowed three hits and struck out seven over the course of seven innings. Darvish was once a teammate of homerun-hitting Schwarber.

“He’s a friend of mine,” Darvish said, ESPN reported. “Every time we meet, we greet each other and all that, but next time I meet him, I might have to punch him.”

The loss erased the Padres’ home-field advantage. It gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead in the series as the clubs head into Game 2 on Wednesday at 4:35 p.m. EDT with Aaron Nola (post-season 2-0, 0.00 ERA) on the hill for the Phillies and Blake Snell (1-0, 3.12) throwing for the Friars.

American League Division Series Game 5: Yankees 5, Guardians 1.

Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge homered early on Tuesday night in the Bronx, helping the Yankees defeat the Guardians 5-1. On Wednesday, the Yankees move ahead to Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, facing off against the Astros.

The Yankees travel to Houston with a trip to the World Series on the line for the third time in six years, hoping for a different result.

“We’ll walk in there with some confidence,” New York skipper Aaron Boone told MLB.com. “We know they’re a great team, rested and ready. We look forward to the challenge.”

The Astros defeated the Yankees in the 2017 and 2019 American League Championship Series. They had a batting average of .205 in 2017 and scored 22 runs across seven games.

In 2019, New York had a batting average of .214 and scored 21 runs across six games. It could be argued that this Houston team (106-56 in the regular season, best in the AL) is more powerful and has more depth than the previous two Astro teams the Yankees faced. Houston swept Seattle 3-0 in their American League Division Series last week.

It is likely that Houston has the best pitching depth of the four teams that are still alive in the playoffs. The Astros had the best-run defense in the American League during the Designated Hitter era (since 1973), allowing only 518 runs over the course of the entire season.

New York and Houston square off in Game 1 of the ALCS on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park starting at 7:37 p.m. EDT. Jameson Taillon (0-1, with no ERA in the post-season) pitching for the Yankees against Justin Verlander (0-0, 13.50) for the Astros.

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