The first Wild Card Round in MLB’s new playoff format provided some great moments, but we’re down to the final eight teams, which means it’s time for an MLB Division Series preview in 2022.

Naturally, the World Series odds have changed slightly with four teams getting eliminated in the previous round. That means it’s good to take a look at how things will reset in the Divisional Round before making any further playoff predictions. 

MLB Division Series preview 2022

Both the schedule for the American League Division Series and the schedule for the National League Division Series are set to begin on Tuesday.

Matchup Odds To Win Series Odds To Win Series
Astros vs Mariners Astros (-225) Mariners (+186)
Yankees vs Guardians Yankees (-220) Guardians (+182)
Braves vs Phillies Braves (-186) Phillies (+158)
Dodgers vs Padres Dodgers (-220) Padres (+182)

All odds taken October 10 at FanDuel Sportsbook

The new round is set to start with a bang with four games on Tuesday, so if you want to make Division Series predictions, time is running out. With that in mind, let’s check out an MLB Division Series Preview for the 2022 postseason.

       

Guardians vs Yankees

After taking out one AL East team in the Wild Card Round, the Guardians will try to beat another, meeting the Yankees in the ALDS. Unfortunately for the Guardians, they lost five of their six head-to-head meetings with the Yankees this season, including all three of their games at Yankee Stadium. They were also eliminated by the Yankees in the Wild Card Round two years ago, so they’ll be fighting history in this game.

On the bright side, Cleveland’s pitching looked locked in during the Wild Card Round, holding the Rays to just one run over 24 innings. Both Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie looked outstanding in their starts, which meant the Guardians didn’t even need Cal Quantrill to start.

If the Guardians are going to have a chance in this series, that trio will need to be the catalyst for Cleveland. Of course, the Cleveland bullpen was also one of the best in the American League this season. However, the Guardians were sixth in the American League in runs scored this year and seventh in OPS, as their offense can be sluggish at times outside of star player Jose Ramirez.

Likewise, the Yankees had one of the best bullpens in the American League this year despite losing some key players to injury. They also have five starters who they should be comfortable sending the mound in this series, most notably Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Frankie Montas. That should give the Yankees an edge in this series when it comes to pitching depth.

They also have Aaron Judge to anchor their lineup after his 62 home runs and 131 RBIs this season. Behind Judge, the Yankees scored the most runs and had the second-best OPS in the American League this year, giving them a leg up over Cleveland in that areas as well.

  • Pick: Yankees 3-2 (+270)

Mariners vs Astros

The Mariners and Astros will meet up for an all-AL West version of the ALDS. The Mariners are flying high coming off their first playoff series win since 2001 and their historic comeback over Toronto in Game 2 of the Wild Card Round. On the other hand, the Astros won 106 games this year and have been to the ALCS in five straight seasons, which is why the Astros futures odds remain the second-shortest in baseball as bettors make their Division Series predictions. They also won 12 of 19 head-to-head games with the Mariners this season.

The Astros bring the best rotation and bullpen in the American League to this series. While names like Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez aren’t yet household names, both pitchers had brilliant seasons and will headline Houston’s playoff rotation behind Justin Verlander.

Likewise, the Astros had the second-most home runs in the American League this year and the third-best OPS behind strong seasons from Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, and Yordan Alvarez, who was an MVP candidate for much of the season.

However, the Mariners have proven themselves to be feisty and better than the sum of their parts. Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray, and Logan Gilbert form a strong trio in the rotation while Seattle’s bullpen is not to be overlooked. The Mariners might be able to come close to matching Houston’s pitching depth and might be able to grind out enough runs in a low-scoring series to compete with the Astros.

  • Pick: Astros 3-1 (+250)

Phillies vs Braves

The NLDS will feature an NL East clash between the Phillies and the Braves. Philadelphia barely sneaked into the postseason but then swept the Cardinals in two games during the Wild Card Round. They also held their own against the Braves this year, although Atlanta won 11 of the 19 head-to-head meetings between these teams. 

At their best, the Braves are an offensive juggernaut with a ton of power. Atlanta led the National League in

home runs by a wide margin and was second in OPS. But the Braves also struck out more times than any National League team, so they have some vulnerabilities.

Pitching-wise the Braves had the second-best bullpen in the National League this season. However, they’ll need rookie Spencer Strider to come back strong from an injury and give them a third starter. Otherwise, Atlanta’s rotation depth beyond Max Fried and Kyle Wright could be challenged with Charlie Morton having an uneven season and Jake Odorizzi no longer being a frontline starter.

Of course, the Phillies have been trying to overcome defensive issues and a poor bullpen all season. Just like the Wild Card Round, they’ll need Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola to be sharp and go as deep into games as possible to hide those deficiencies in the bullpen. The silver lining is the Phillies have sluggers at nearly every position and might have the offensive firepower to give Atlanta trouble.

  • Pick: Braves 3-1 (+270)

Padres vs Dodgers

One NLDS will be an all-NL East affair and the other will be a showdown between two NL West rivals. The Padres started to heat up down the stretch and then beat the Mets in impressive fashion in the Wild Card Round. The problem for them is the Dodgers are a juggernaut that beat them in the NLDS two years ago and won 111 games this season. That includes a 14-5 record in head-to-head games against the Padres.

San Diego’s pitching was the headline of the Wild Card Series against the Mets. Both Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove pitched like bonafide aces while the back-end of the San Diego bullpen is well built. However, the Padres will need lefties Blake Snell and Sean Manaea to step up in the NLDS, especially since the Dodgers were 32-16 against left-handed starters this year.

Offensively, the Padres were middle of the pack for most of the season. The trade for Juan Soto and Josh Bell didn’t transform the San Diego lineup as intended. Of course, if they can get going and provide support for Manny Machado, the Padres will have a more formidable lineup.

If nothing else, the Padres know that they’ll need to be close to perfect to beat Los Angeles. The Dodgers were far and away the best offensive team in the National League this season, largely behind the trio of Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, and Trea Turner. The Dodgers also have a rotation that no other team in the National League can match.

They have five starters who finished the regular season with an ERA of 2.57 or less. The Los Angeles bullpen also had the lowest ERA in the National League this season, so getting to the bullpen isn’t any easier than facing the team’s parade of aces. That combination should be more than enough to send the Dodgers back to the NLCS.

  • Pick: Dodgers 3-1 (+270)

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