Reyes: Flashing the Leather

Logo for Flashing the Leather column. - Graphic / Spencer Reyes

The 2022 Season Opens in the Czech Republic

The National Hockey League opened its 2022 season in “the city of a Hundred Spires” on Friday night, Oct. 7, when the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators took the ice at the O2 Arena.

16,648 fans screamed at the top of their lungs at an almost sold-out arena as a part of the NHL Global Series to spread of hockey across the world and retain foreign fans, similar to the London Games for the NFL or the NBA games in China.

Nashville shut out San Jose 8-0, scoring two goals in the first couple of periods and totaled another four in the last period of play. Center Matt Duchene and right-wingers Matt Luff and Michael McCarron were all one goal away from a hat trick. Teammates Yakov Trenin and Mikael Grandlund each had a goal of their own as well.

The Predators outshot the Sharks by 16, scored on one of their powerplay opportunities and blocked 12 more shots than the home team. “Smashville” extends their winning streak against the Sharks to four games from this past season.

On the flip side, San Jose has lost their last ten of 12 games in competition and is hoping to turn things around for the beginning of the season. The team’s captain, Logan Couture, told the media how he felt about the result.

“We’re embarrassed,” Couture said to the media. “You lose by that large of a margin, no one’s feeling good about themselves.”

Both teams will look to jumpstart their season after playing the 2022-2023 season opener in Prague, Czech Republic. 

To the Division Series We Go

The MLB sent four teams packing their bags as they head into the offseason after this week’s Wild Card matchups have concluded. Eight teams will take the next step in the postseason on Tuesday, Oct. 11 for the Division Series.

American League Division Series

This half of the bracket consists of two offensive powerhouses and two young teams looking for a shot at a championship.

Both the Cleveland Guardians and Seattle Mariners surprised all baseball fans when they defeated the playoff-caliber AL East second and third-seeded teams, the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays. What makes this even more impressive is that each underdog swept the other team. 

The Guardians sent out Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie to start both games, and each pitcher totaled eight strikeouts in their outings. The Guardians won the first game 2-1 and walked off the second game in the 15th inning. They may have burned seven pitchers from the bullpen, but each only pitched at most one inning with two days off.

The Mariners won their first game in shutout fashion 4-0, and came back from an 8-1 deficit in the sixth inning to cap off the series. They tallied 13 hits to total 10 runs with top-notch offensive performances from Eugenio Suárez, Cal Raleigh, Adam Frazier and Carlos Santana.

Seattle recorded the second-largest comeback in MLB playoff history, one run shy of the Oakland Athletics in game four of the 1929 World Series.

Seattle will start the next round against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park and the Guardians will go to the Bronx to play against the New York Yankees after both teams had a bye for the Wild Card Series.

National League Division Series

The National League produced some high, offensively paced talent that made for great storylines; first between the aging St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies, who just ended an 11-year postseason drought. The struggling San Diego Padres, who had traded away multiple assets as they entered the “win now” phase, faced the hopeful New York Mets, who are in year two under owner Steve Cohen’s watch.

The Phillies have done the unthinkable and moved onto the Division Series after sending St. Louis home for the 2022 season. Most fans around the country were rooting for the Cardinals, as it was the last chance for veterans Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina to play in the World Series. The Phillies came out swinging, totaling eight runs in two games to sweep the Cardinals with the help of Bryce Harper and a surprise youngster, Alec Bohm.

The Mets-Padres series made for good baseball, as it was the only series to go the full three games. San Diego took game one after dominating Max Scherzer by scoring seven runs, which were helped along the way by four home runs. The Mets rallied behind Jacob DeGrom to come back in game two 7-3, with nine runs from Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Mark Canha, Jeff McNeil and Eduardo Escobar.

In game three, the deciding factor went in favor of the Padres. The Mets’ bats were silent in a 6-0 shutout, with a lone hit from Pete Alonso and a walk by Starling Marte.

The Phillies will play in Atlanta against the Braves for the first two games of the division series, and San Diego will travel back to California for an NL West matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

All four teams are now hot to hit exceptionally, which should produce some great baseball for fans to watch for the next week or so. It should be interesting to see who will come out on top.

For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.