Ranking the potential 2022 World Series matchups
Now that we -- at last -- know the four teams who have reached the League Championship Series, we know something even more important: Who’s going to be in the World Series. There are now only four possible matchups for the Fall Classic:
Sure, Astros-Dodgers would have had a lot of spice, and all the fancy media folk wanted Dodgers-Yankees, or Mets-Yankees, and Mariners-Padres would have been incredible. But these four have all sorts of excitement baked in, too.
So, you know what we’ve got to do here, right? We’ve got to rank ‘em!
This would not, in fact, be the first time these clubs have met in the playoffs. The last time San Diego made the World Series, in fact, it had to go through Houston, in the National League Division Series in 1998. The Padres won that series in four games, pulling off something you’d think impossible: They beat Randy Johnson twice. Not that they rocked him around or anything: He gave up only three runs in 14 innings. But that was enough for San Diego, which was led by, of all people, Jim Leyritz, who had four homers in the series. (The Padres also had 1996 NL MVP Ken Caminiti, whom they had acquired from the Astros four years earlier).
This would be a fun series across the board, one in which surely most of the country would be cheering for the Padres. The Astros likely won’t be eager to see Juan Soto in the World Series again: He had three homers against them (the week he turned 20, no less) for the Nationals in the 2019 Fall Classic.
Here’s your East Coast bias series: A lot of people with notebooks in their pockets will enjoy an entire series they can travel via the Northeast Corridor Amtrak train. This is of course a rematch of the 2009 World Series, the last one the Yanks won and, for what it’s worth, the last time a team (the Phils) went into the World Series with a chance to repeat. (It’d be a rematch of the 1950 World Series, too, but it’s OK if you don’t remember that one).
Anybody else remember where, in October, Philadelphia clinched its first postseason berth since 2011? That’s right, in Houston, at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros even put up a congratulatory message on the Jumbotron. One suspects they will not be so welcoming in a World Series matchup. Like the Padres, the Phillies have played the Astros before in a postseason series, when Houston was in the National League: They met in the 1980 NLCS, which Philly won in five games en route to a World Series victory.
This was a famously fantastic series, one that not only went the distance but featured four extra-inning games. That included Game 5, one that the Astros led, 5-2, before the Phillies scored five in the eighth inning, only for Houston to score two more in the bottom half to tie it up. A Garry Maddox double in the top of the 10th ended up sending the Phils to the Series. The least these teams could do is wear their ‘80s jerseys at least once in this World Series.
San Diego has reached the World Series twice, both against historically great teams: The 1984 Tigers and the 1998 Yankees. Padres fans likely won’t have great memories when they see pinstripes, considering that 1998 sweep. This would be the most travel-weary of any possible series, with just one day to travel from the Bronx to Southern California. There aren’t many players on either roster who have played for both teams, but there’s a stealth one: Anthony Rizzo, who hit .141 in 49 games in 2011 before being traded to the Cubs for Andrew Cashner. (He would make a bit of a name for himself in Chicago).