The MLB playoffs are set to get underway on Friday, beginning with the new wild-card round.
Each series will be three games at the higher-seeded team’s home field.
With the winners moving on to the divisional series in each league.
Pitching will be the most important factor in short three-game series.
One team with two dominant starters may be able to steal the first two games and move on to the next round.
This is the best time of the year for the MLB and this postseason should be very competitive.
Without further ado, here are three players who need a good postseason.
Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
The two-time NL MVP gets his first chance in the playoffs with the Phillies on Friday.
This is the reason the Phillies gave Harper that mega contract back in 2019.
For him to lead this team to the playoffs and make a run.
As the Phillies chased a playoff berth in September, their hitters struggled to put runs on the board.
Harper must now be the key cog in making sure they can support their pitchers in this short wild-card series.
The Phillies will take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card round.
Despite being the underdogs, the Phillies should have the two best starting pitchers in the series with Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.
This puts all the pressure on the Philadelphia hitters to give those starters some run support.
Harper has appeared in 19 playoff games in his career with the Nationals.
In those games, he is batting .211 with five home runs and 10 runs batted in.
The slugger will need to hit better than that in this series if the Phillies have any hope of moving on.
It is good to see one of the game’s best players back in the postseason, but now he has to produce.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Playing for the New York Yankees in the playoffs brings an amount of pressure that players from other teams will not face.
The New York media and Yankees fans expect to win the World Series every year.
Anything short of that will be a disappointment.
So despite the historic regular season, we saw from Aaron Judge, the Yankees outfielder needs to have postseason success.
He has carried the Yankees throughout the season, his 62 home runs set the American League record and without him, the Yankees might not even be a playoff team.
— MLB (@MLB) October 5, 2022
For his career, Judge has played in 35 playoff games with a batting average of .230.
He has 11 home runs and 22 RBIs in those games.
His incredible regular season is a big reason why the Yankees have a first-round bye in the playoffs.
So the first time we will see Judge is in the ALDS with all the pressure on the slugger to perform.
The Yankees will go as far as Judge can take them this postseason.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
There is no question that Los Angeles Dodgers starter, Clayton Kershaw, has been one of the most criticized playoff performers in recent history.
His 4.19 career playoff ERA is nearly 1.5 runs higher than his career regular-season ERA.
This season the Dodgers need him more than ever.
After finishing with the best record in the regular season, LA gets a first-round bye.
But, when they take the field in the NLDS, Kershaw must be at his best.
With this Dodgers roster, it is championship or bust for them.
"We are winning the World Series in 2022… We will win the World Series this year, put it on record."
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) March 24, 2022
They already lost a starter, Walker Buehler, to an injury this year and can not afford any more injuries.
Kershaw pitched well in the 2020 world series, but many consider that a fluke season because of the 60-game schedule.
Now after a full schedule, all the pressure is on Kershaw to lead this Dodgers pitching staff back to a championship.