What an opening for this year’s playoffs. We got to see the plot thicken between the greatest rivalry in the sport and a story book ending over in the National League on Wednesday night. I said it already, but we are looking at what could be the best MLB Playoffs in a while after what we saw in the Wild Card games.

AL Wild Card: Yankees 2, Red Sox 6

The Red Sox beat the Yankees in Fenway Tuesday night and are moving on to the ALDS to face the Tampa Bay Rays down in St. Petersburg, Florida. Wow, there is a lot that happened in this game.

Early Innings Madness

The first thing I have to mention is Giancarlo Stanton’s towering *single* that had every Yankees fan in the world jump out of their seats thinking he crushed one over the Monster onto Lansdowne St. Even longtime voice of the Yankees John Sterling was convinced Stanton hit the longest home run of all-time.

On the contrary, Xander Bogaerts hit a picture perfect home run over the centerfield wall to strike first and put the Red Sox in front 2-0. This was huge for the Red Sox, even though I think most would say it wasn’t even his biggest play of the night…

Gerrit Cole did not serve Yankees fans’ expectations after only getting through two innings and giving up three earned runs. He just did not look comfortable on the bump and continued the struggles he had as of late in his past few starts. After Bogaerts, Kyle Schwarber took liftoff against Cole for a solo shot in the bottom of the third to make it 3-0.

Interestingly enough, that was Schwarber’s second career Wild Card game home run off of Cole to take a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning… insanity.

Eovaldi Huge in Wild Card Start

As for the Red Sox ace, Nathan Eovaldi gave as good of an outing you could ask for. He went 5.1 innings with eight strikeouts, and he only gave up four hits with one run. There were questions about how confident Red Sox nation was with him on the mound in a win or game home game. There shouldn’t have been much doubt. This was the guy for you all season, especially pitching in front of the Fenway faithful.

Play of the Night

Anthony Rizzo put the Yankees on the board with a solo home run, and that’s when Alex Cora decided to go to the bullpen. Ryan Brasier came in and that’s when you know what got real. The Green Monster made another stellar play out in left field. It knocked down a projected 400 foot ball from Stanton with Aaron Judge on first base and one out. This set up what was the play of the game when Xander made the relay throw to gun Judge out at home to save a run.

From that point on, it was all Boston. Alex Verdugo(redsox) had himself a night to help lift the Red Sox to victory. He racked up the next three RBIs for the Sox in the sixth and seventh innings to give them a 6-1 lead.

New York might have some decisions to make in the offseason after what many would say was a disappointment for the team.

Boston eliminates the Yankees for the third straight time they have faced in the postseason (first in Wild Card game) and move on to the ALDS. Game one in Tampa Bay will feature the young standout pitcher, Shane McClanahan, and Eddie Rodriguez will go for the Sox. First pitch is set for 8:07 p.m. ET on FS1 Thursday night.

NL Wild Card: Cardinals 1, Dodgers 3

We had a pitcher’s duel Wednesday night between the teams’ two hall-of-fame aces that ended in a walk-off win for the LA Dodgers. They now move on to the NLDS in the Bay against the San Fransisco Giants.

Who would have ever thought that a team with 106 regular season wins would have to play in the Wild Card round rather than getting a first seed in the playoffs. The Dodgers were chasing the Giants for that spot all year, but fell one win short. Thus, LA made it as the top seed in a one game playoff with a team that had 16 less wins than them.

It was no easy task for the Dodgers, though. The Cardinals came into Wednesday night as the hottest team in baseball. They had a 17 game winning streak in September and made it clear they belonged in the postseason.

Aces High

Although Max Scherzer only gave up one run and three hits, he didn’t really seem like himself out there. He was still able to put a great start together, but he wasn’t locating his pitches as well as he usually does. Adam Wainwright looked very sharp. His night ended after 5.1 innings and allowed four hits and one run. Waino is no spring chicken, but he still has those cat-like reflexes out there.

Justin Turner was able to get his revenge on Wainwright after he snagged the line drive he hit. Not that there was meant to be any disrespect towards Turner, but Waino did flex on him a little bit after the play. Turner delivered for the Dodgers in the postseason once again. He hit a no-doubter into left field to tie the game one even.

The biggest factor I took away from this game was how well the managers did in making their decisions. The stakes are high in the Wild Card round and tough decisions have to be made. Dave Roberts subbed Joe Kelly for Scherzer in the fifth inning after he put two on base, and he was able to get the last couple of outs with no damage done.

After Turner’s home run, Wainwright struck out four out of the next five batters he faced. Mike Shildt made the decision in the bottom of the sixth to take the Cardinals legend out.

Walk-off Magic

The game was full of great defensive plays and good pitching. It wasn’t until the bottom of the ninth inning when the magic happened. When the inning began, everyone watching the game realized that something special was happening. Roberts decided to bring in St. Louis Cardinals legend, Albert Pujols, as a pinch-hitter in a huge moment. Truthfully, I wanted him to end the game right there… it would’ve been pretty sweet. He ended up lining out to centerfield, but it was really cool that he got that opportunity.

Alex Reyes was the reliever in for the bottom of the ninth. He began the regular season as one of the best closers in the game, but began to struggle towards the end of the year. Cardinals nation on Twitter let everyone know it was a mistake even before the heartbreak. This was Shildt’s only misplay of the night.

The one batter Reyes faced on Wednesday night was Chris Taylor. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Taylor made the magic happen. He ripped a line drive into the left field bleachers to walk it off for LA and send them to the NLDS. You can’t ask for a better ending to a game for the home team.

What a run it was for the Cardinals. They faced what arguably is the best team in baseball in a win-or-go home game, and there was a top contender for the NL Cy Young award on the bump. They put up a heck of a fight and proved that they deserved to be in that Wild Card spot.

The Dodgers will move on and face the San Fransisco Giants after a poetic ending in the NL Wild Card. The NLDS starts Friday night, first pitch at 9:37 p.m. ET. San Fransisco announced that Logan Webb will start game one, and the Dodgers are still TBD. Will the Dodgers edge out the team they have been chasing all year long?