National League Championship Series

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"NLCS" redirects here. For other uses, see NLCS (disambiguation).

In Major League Baseball, the National League Championship Series (NLCS) is a round in the postseason that determines who wins the National League pennant and advances to Major League Baseball's championship, the World Series, facing the winner of the American League Championship Series. The reigning National League Champions are the St. Louis Cardinals.

Prior to 1969, the National League champion (the "pennant winner") was determined by the best win-loss record at the end of the regular season. There were four ad hoc three-game playoff series due to ties under this formulation (in 1946, 1951, 1959 and 1962). (The American League had to resolve a tie in 1948, but used a single-game playoff for that.)

A structured postseason series began in 1969, when both the National and American Leagues were reorganized into two divisions each, East and West. The two division winners within each league played each other in a best-of-five series to determine who would advance to the World Series. In 1985, the format changed to best-of-seven.

The NLCS and ALCS, since the expansion to best-of-seven, are always played in a 2–3–2 format: games 1, 2, 6 and 7 are played in the stadium of the team that has home field advantage, and Games 3, 4 and 5 are played in the stadium of the team that does not. Home field advantage is given to the team that has the better record, with the exception that the team that made the postseason as the Wild Card team cannot get home field advantage. From 1969 to 1993, home field advantage was alternated between divisions each year regardless of regular season record and from 1995 to 1997 home field advantage was predetermined before the season.

In 1981, a divisional series was held due to a split season caused by a players' strike.

In 1994, the league was restructured into three divisions, with the three division winners and a wild-card team advancing to a best-of-five postseason round, the National League Division Series (NLDS). The winners of that round advance to the best-of-seven NLCS. The NLDS was first played in 1995 due to the cancellation of the 1994 postseason during another players' strike.

Every current National League franchise except the Washington Nationals has appeared in the NLCS at least once, although the Nationals appeared as the Montreal Expos in 1981. The Houston Astros made four NLCS appearances before moving to the American League in 2013.

As of the 2013 season, the Milwaukee Brewers are the only franchise to play in both the NLCS (in 2011) and the ALCS (in 1982). No franchise has yet to win both the National and American League Championship Series.

Championship Trophy[edit]

The Warren C. Giles Trophy, named for the president of the NL from 1951 to 1969, is awarded to the NLCS winner.[1]

Most Valuable Player Award[edit]

See: League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award#National League winners

A Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the outstanding player in each series, though voters can consider performances made during the divisional series. The MVP award has been given to a player on the losing team twice, in 1986 to Mike Scott of the Houston Astros and in 1987 to Jeff Leonard of the San Francisco Giants.

Although the National League began its LCS MVP award in 1977, the American League did not begin its LCS MVP award until 1980.[2]

NLCS results (1969–present)[edit]

Denotes wild-card team (since 1995)
* Denotes MVP did not play for winning team
Year Winner Loser Record Series MVP TV
Series Recap
1969 New York Mets Atlanta Braves 3–0   NBC
1970 Cincinnati Reds Pittsburgh Pirates 3–0   NBC
1971 Pittsburgh Pirates San Francisco Giants 3–1   NBC
1972 Cincinnati Reds Pittsburgh Pirates 3–2   NBC
1973 New York Mets Cincinnati Reds 3–2   NBC
1974 Los Angeles Dodgers Pittsburgh Pirates 3–1   NBC
1975 Cincinnati Reds Pittsburgh Pirates 3–0   NBC
1976 Cincinnati Reds Philadelphia Phillies 3–0   ABC
1977 Los Angeles Dodgers Philadelphia Phillies 3–1 Dusty Baker, Los Angeles NBC
1978 Los Angeles Dodgers Philadelphia Phillies 3–1 Steve Garvey, Los Angeles ABC
1979 Pittsburgh Pirates Cincinnati Reds 3–0 Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh NBC
1980 Philadelphia Phillies Houston Astros 3–2 Manny Trillo, Philadelphia ABC
1981 Los Angeles Dodgers Montreal Expos 3–2 Burt Hooton, Los Angeles NBC
1982 St. Louis Cardinals Atlanta Braves 3–0 Darrell Porter, St. Louis ABC
1983 Philadelphia Phillies Los Angeles Dodgers 3–1 Gary Matthews, Philadelphia NBC
1984 San Diego Padres Chicago Cubs 3–2 Steve Garvey, San Diego ABC
1985 St. Louis Cardinals Los Angeles Dodgers 4–2 Ozzie Smith, St. Louis NBC Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark launch game-winning HRs in the 9th inning of back-to-back games, rallying St. Louis from a 0–2 series hole.
1986 New York Mets Houston Astros 4–2 Mike Scott, Houston* ABC
1987 St. Louis Cardinals San Francisco Giants 4–3 Jeffrey Leonard, San Francisco* NBC
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers New York Mets 4–3 Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles ABC
1989 San Francisco Giants Chicago Cubs 4–1 Will Clark, San Francisco NBC
1990 Cincinnati Reds Pittsburgh Pirates 4–2 Rob Dibble and Randy Myers, Cincinnati CBS
1991 Atlanta Braves Pittsburgh Pirates 4–3 Steve Avery, Atlanta CBS Series MVP Steve Avery masters the Pirates twice, winning similar 1–0 shutouts in both game 2 and game 6 to complete a worst-to-first season for the Braves.
1992 Atlanta Braves Pittsburgh Pirates 4–3 John Smoltz, Atlanta CBS The Braves trailed 2–0 entering the 9th inning of game 7 but rallied to score 3 runs, ending on Francisco Cabrera's bases loaded two-out single to clinch the pennant.
1993 Philadelphia Phillies Atlanta Braves 4–2 Curt Schilling, Philadelphia CBS Despite being outscored 33–23 over 6 games, the Phillies tallied two 10th inning wins in game 2 and game 5 to dethrone the two-time defending NL champion Braves.
1994 Not held due to players' strike.
1995 Atlanta Braves Cincinnati Reds 4–0 Mike Devereaux, Atlanta ABC (Games 1–2)
NBC (Games 3–4)
The Braves steal back to back extra inning wins on the road in games 1 and 2, then surge to victories late in games 3 and 4 to sweep the NL pennant.
1996 Atlanta Braves St. Louis Cardinals 4–3 Javy López, Atlanta FOX Atlanta climbs out of a 3–1 series hole, dominating the Cardinals in games 5, 6 and 7 by a total score of 32–1 including a 15–0 win in game 7.
1997 Florida Marlins Atlanta Braves 4–2 Liván Hernández, Florida NBC The heavily favored Braves outscore the Marlins but lose the series in 6 games, failing to solve series MVP Livan Hernandez.
1998 San Diego Padres Atlanta Braves 4–2 Sterling Hitchcock, San Diego FOX The upstart Padres stun the heavily favored Braves, shutting out Atlanta in games 2 and 6 while holding them to only one run in game 3.
1999 Atlanta Braves New York Mets 4–2 Eddie Pérez, Atlanta NBC In a wild NLCS Atlanta jumps to a 3–0 series lead but dramatically loses games 4 and 5. In game 6 the Braves stage multiple late comebacks and walk-off in the 11th.
2000 New York Mets St. Louis Cardinals 4–1 Mike Hampton, New York FOX The Mets bats handle St. Louis pitching, tallying 29 runs in their four victories. The Mets advance to face their crosstown rivals the Yankees in the "Subway Series".
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks Atlanta Braves 4–1 Craig Counsell, Arizona FOX Reigning Cy Young winner Randy Johnson teams with Curt Schilling to power the Diamondbacks past the Braves and into their first ever World Series appearance.
2002 San Francisco Giants St. Louis Cardinals 4–1 Benito Santiago, San Francisco FOX The wild card Giants win back to back 1-run games, including a walk-off single by Kenny Lofton in deciding game 5, to clinch the pennant.
2003 Florida Marlins Chicago Cubs 4–3 Iván Rodríguez, Florida FOX The Cubs cannot put away the Marlins. Chicago blows a 3–1 series lead including a 3–0 lead in the 8th inning of game 6 and a 5–3 lead in the 5th inning of game 7.
2004 St. Louis Cardinals Houston Astros 4–3 Albert Pujols, St. Louis FOX In the only NLCS where the home team won every game, the Cardinals' Jim Edmonds slugs a 12th inning walk-off home run in game 6 and St. Louis rallies to win game 7.
2005 Houston Astros St. Louis Cardinals 4–2 Roy Oswalt, Houston FOX Series MVP Roy Oswalt allows only two total runs in two starts as the Astros avenge their 2004 NLCS defeat to St. Louis and reach their first World Series.
2006 St. Louis Cardinals New York Mets 4–3 Jeff Suppan, St. Louis FOX Yadier Molina's 2-run home run in the 9th inning of game 7 powers the Cardinals into the Fall Classic in a tightly contested, back and forth series.
2007 Colorado Rockies Arizona Diamondbacks 4–0 Matt Holliday, Colorado TBS The Rockies win 7 consecutive postseason games, capping off a run of 21 wins in 22 games, sweeping their way to their first ever World Series appearance.
2008 Philadelphia Phillies Los Angeles Dodgers 4–1 Cole Hamels, Philadelphia FOX Series MVP Cole Hamels pitches the Phillies to wins in game 1 and game 5, and Philadelphia rallies dramatically to win game 4 on the road.
2009 Philadelphia Phillies Los Angeles Dodgers 4–1 Ryan Howard, Philadelphia TBS The Phillies wrap up back-to-back NLCS victories over the Dodgers, keyed by a 9th inning come-from-behind win in game 4.
2010 San Francisco Giants Philadelphia Phillies 4–2 Cody Ross, San Francisco FOX The Giants' Juan Uribe delivers a walk-off sacrifice fly in game 4 and a game-winning home run in the eighth inning of game 6.
2011 St. Louis Cardinals Milwaukee Brewers 4–2 David Freese, St. Louis TBS The Cardinals lineup outslugs the Brewers, hitting eight home runs and scoring 43 total runs in a back and forth, high-scoring series.
2012 San Francisco Giants St. Louis Cardinals 4–3 Marco Scutaro, San Francisco FOX San Francisco rallies from a 3–1 series deficit, outscoring the Cardinals in games 5, 6 and 7 by a combined score of 20–1.
2013 St. Louis Cardinals Los Angeles Dodgers 4–2 Michael Wacha, St. Louis TBS Rookie pitcher Michael Wacha shuts out Dodgers twice as Cardinals win low-scoring series in 6 games

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Fantastic feeling' for Bill Giles,". Philadelphia Inquirer. Oct 16, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  2. ^ League Championship Series Most Valuable Players ( ). MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2009-08-31.