MLB playoffs: Follow Phillies-Cardinals, Mariners-Blue Jays Game 1 live as baseball’s wild-card series begin

The 2022 MLB season is advancing into a brave new world, a 12-team postseason bracket that will decide a champion over the next month. And it’s going to get real fast. The new best-of-three wild-card series begin Friday and will be decided by Sunday at the latest. The burst of high-stakes baseball pits eight teams against each other — Guardians-Rays, Cardinals-Phillies, Blue Jays-Mariners, Mets-Padres — for the right to advance.

The favorites they would face in the next round are familiar — the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees hold the top seeds. But certainly some of these challengers have designs on toppling baseball’s existing world order.

First, they have to get through this weekend. Here’s how Friday’s schedule looks, and where you can watch.

Game 1: Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Guardians – 12:07 p.m., ESPN

Game 1: Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals – 2:07 p.m., ABC

Game 1: Seattle Mariners at Toronto Blue Jays – 4:07 p.m., ESPN

Game 1: San Diego Padres at New York Mets – 8:07 p.m., ESPN

[Here’s the full TV schedule for the MLB postseason]

You can follow all the games with live updates and analysis right here on Yahoo Sports.

Shane Bieber, José Ramírez help Guardians stifle Rays in Game 1

What decade is it? Behind a vintage ace performance from Shane Bieber and a two-run homer from José Ramírez, the Guardians turned away the Rays in a lightning-fast Game 1. Bieber went 7 2/3 innings, allowing only one run on a Jose Siri long ball, and striking out eight.

Rays starter Shane McClanahan was almost as good as Bieber, but he allowed the Ramírez blast that put Cleveland back on top almost immediately after Siri’s homer. From there, Bieber shut it down. Cleveland skipper Terry Francona turned to untouchable closer Emmanuel Clase for the final four outs. All told, the game was done in less than 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Cleveland will enter Saturday’s Game 2 with an elimination opportunity in the new wild-card format. They are sending young curveball artist Triston McKenzie to the mound against the Rays’ Tyler Glasnow, an ace who only recently returned from Tommy John surgery.

  • Welcome back to the postseason, Albert Pujols.

  • After 7 2/3 stellar innings from Shane Bieber, Guardians skipper Terry Francona turns to the bullpen, going directly to closer Emmanuel Clase. Cleveland’s bullpen had the best ERA in baseball in the second half.

    Major League Team Stats » 2022 » Relievers » Dashboard | FanGraphs Baseball

    Major League team stats for 2022 relievers with dashboard

  • Phillies and Cardinals about to get started on ABC. St. Louis, NL Central champion, has a tough matchup with Philadelphia’s excellent starting pitching. Zack Wheeler leads the way for the Phillies today. Here are the lineups.

  • Guardians superstar Jose Ramirez answers! Cleveland leaps ahead with a 2-run homer.

  • Rays turn a great double play — featuring an A+ stretch by first baseman Ji-Man Choi — to get Shane McClanahan out of a jam and keep this one scoreless.

  • We have some postseason emotion early as Guardians ace Shane Bieber gets some whiffs.

  • First up on Friday, the No. 6 seed Rays and the No. 3 seed Guardians from Cleveland.

    Here are the lineups.

Need to catch up on the major storylines as the postseason begins? We’ve got you covered.