Regardless of who faces whom, Major League Baseball's 2022 postseason will be a thrilling ride for 26-30 days.

But there are a handful of possible matchups that would really move the proverbial needle.

For this discussion, all forms of matchups are on the table: batter vs. batter, pitcher vs. pitcher, batter vs. pitcher, player vs. team, team vs. team, manager vs. any of the above.

Anything where the content almost writes itself, either because of previous meetings, one party's dominance, historic relevance or a combination of it all.

Basically, it's a bunch of, "Oh yeah, that'd be a ton of fun."

We made sure to include every likely playoff team in at least one of these 10 matchups, so it's not just a whole bunch of Yankees/Mets/Dodgers/Astros hot air. We didn't even include possible World Series rematches from 2021 (Atlanta-Houston), 2020 (Los Angeles-Tampa Bay) or 2017 (Houston-Los Angeles), even though those would surely be entertaining.

The list is presented in no particular order.

 

Aaron Judge vs. Justin Verlander (and Yankees-Astros in General)

Can't go wrong with MVP vs. Cy Young, right?

It's not going to happen in the National League with Sandy Alcantara's Miami Marlins all but eliminated from the postseason, but we could certainly be headed for quite a few showdowns between the New York Yankees' Aaron Judge and the Houston Astros' Justin Verlander in the American League Championship Series.

Historically, Verlander has pretty well owned this matchup.

Judge did homer off JV in April 2019 and the 2019 ALCS, but he's 4-for-27 with the two homers, one walk and 10 strikeouts.

In this mutual season of dominance, they have only met once, back on June 24. In that game, Judge went 0-for-3 against Verlander with a flyout to the warning track, an infield lineout and a foul popout.

Will those previous matchups matter for the next encounter, though?

Or what of the fact that Judge has been best in the majors against fastballs and third-best against sliders, which are Verlander's two primary pitches?

Regardless of how the at-bats play out, any instance of Judge vs. Verlander would be a "stop whatever you're doing and behold the beauty" moment.

Even outside of the Judge-Verlander showdowns, there's quite a bit of bad blood here from the 2017 and 2019 ALCS meetings. We could get another pivotal Jose Altuve vs. Aroldis Chapman showdown (with or without alleged buzzers). And instead of facing Gerrit Cole, the Yankees would be banking on him to help carry them back to the World Series for the first time since 2009.

 

Freddie Freeman vs. Atlanta Braves

There are plenty of intriguing possible player vs. former team matchups worth considering.

Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets against the Cleveland Guardians would be fun. Joey Gallo and the Los Angeles Dodgers going up against the Yankees could be entertaining. Heck, if the Minnesota Twins get in, they could go on a reunion tour by opening with Chris Archer against the Tampa Bay Rays, followed by Carlos Correa against the Astros, Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela against the Yankees and then putting a bow on it all by beating Eddie Rosario and the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.

Nothing can hold a candle to the possibility of Freddie Freeman going up against Atlanta, though.

Freeman played a key role as the Braves beat the Dodgers in last year's National League Championship Series. But after 12 years with Atlanta, he hit free agency and packed his bags.

Then, in his first career at-bat against his former team, he homered. (Of course he did.) He triple-slashed .348/.464/.652 in six games this season against the Braves, immediately becoming an indispensable member of the team that seemingly already had it all before it added him to the equation.

Here's what I want to know: If the matchup does happen, will the fans in Atlanta give him a standing ovation before his first plate appearance at Truist Park, or is that gesture of appreciation only suitable for regular-season games with substantially less at stake? Would it perhaps hinge on whether he hurt Atlanta in Games 1 and 2, considering the Dodgers would almost certainly have home-field advantage?

Freeman would be a constant topic of conversation throughout the series, only occasionally interrupted by the times that Kenley Jansen and Craig Kimbrel were trying to close games against their former teams.