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Guardians Face Another Obstacle with Early Wildcard Playoff Games

Your Cleveland Guardians will open the 2022 MLB Playoffs with a 12:07 p.m. ET first pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Round. This is followed by another 12:07p.m. first pitch on Saturday, and if necessary, 4:07p.m. for Game 3 on Sunday. All of the games will take place at Progressive Field.

This creates some logistical issues for fans who bought tickets, only to realize they are unable to attend due to work obligations. No word yet from the Guardians on if exchanges or refunds will be permitted.

This is the first season of the new MLB Playoff format, which see's the Wild Card round be expanded from a one-game "win or go home" scenario to a three-game series, all at the higher seeds' ballpark. The Rays defeated the then-Indians in the second installment of the Wild Card Round in 2013, and now the Guardians and Rays will square off again,

The Guardians won the series against Tampa one week ago in Cleveland while also taking two out of three down in St. Petersburg in July. This series should be evenly matched, as the Rays play a very similar brand of baseball. The Guardians could face some challenges with all the tough left handed pitchers the Rays could deploy at any time, including likely Game 1 starter Shane McClanahan (12-8, 2.54 ERA). It is expected Tampa will follow McClanahan with Tyler Glasnow in Game 2. McClanahan will likely be on a pitch count after just recently returning from injury. No Game 3 starter has been announced by Tampa.

Cleveland will counter with Shane Bieber (13-8, 2.88 ERA) in Game 1, Triston McKenzie (11-11, 2.96 ERA) in Game 2, and Cal Quantrill (15-5, 3.38 ERA) if necessary in Game 3. Quantrill has yet to lose in his career at Progressive Field.

If the Guardians do succeed in knocking off Tampa Bay, they will head to the Bronx for an ALDS showdown with Aaron Judge and his 62 home runs. The Guardians were projected by many experts to be near the bottom of the AL Central in 2022, but the "kids" grew up right in front of the Cleveland faithful. Led by superstar third baseman Jose Ramirez, the Guardians will be looking to showcase their talent in front of the entire MLB world starting Friday afternoon at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.

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