National League Division Series

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In Major League Baseball, the National League Division Series (NLDS) determines which two teams from the National League will advance to the National League Championship Series. The Division Series consists of two best-of-five series, featuring the three division winners and the winner of the wild-card play-off.

History[edit]

The Division Series was implemented in 1981 – for only one year – as a result of a midseason strike with first-place teams before the strike taking on the first-place teams after. After 1993, Major League Baseball decided to implement the Division Series permanently, because it was restructuring each league into three divisions. (The implementation of this decision, however, was delayed a year, until 1995, due to the 1994–1995 players' strike.[1]) Previously, because of a players' strike in 1981, a split-season format forced a divisional playoff series, in which the Montreal Expos won the Eastern Division series over the Philadelphia Phillies three games to two while the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Houston Astros three games to two in the Western Division. The team with the best overall record in the major leagues, the Cincinnati Reds, failed to win their division in either half of that season and were controversially excluded, as were the St. Louis Cardinals, who finished with the NL's second-best record. The Atlanta Braves have currently played in the most NL division series with thirteen appearances. The St. Louis Cardinals have currently won the most NL division series, winning ten of the twelve series in which they have played. The Pittsburgh Pirates (who finished with a losing record from 1993 to 2012) were the last team to make their first appearance in the NL division series, making their debut in 2013 after winning the 2013 National League Wild Card Game. In 2008, the Milwaukee Brewers became the first team to play in division series in both leagues when they won the National League wild card, their first postseason berth since winning the American League East Division title in 1982 before switching leagues in 1998. Milwaukee had competed in an American League Division Series in the strike-shortened 1981 season.

Format[edit]

The NLDS is a five-game series where the wild-card team is assigned to play the divisional winner with the best winning percentage in the regular season. The two remaining divisional winners meet in the other (NLDS) series with the team with the second best winning percentage, hosting that series. (From 1998 to 2011, if the wild-card team and the division winner with the best record were from the same division, the wild-card team played the division winner with the second-best record, and the remaining two division leaders played each other.) The two series winners move on to the best-of-seven NLCS. The winner of the wild card has won the first round seven out of the 11 years since the re-alignment and creation of the NLDS.[needs update] According to Nate Silver, the advent of this playoff series, and especially of the wild card, has caused teams to focus more on "getting to the playoffs" rather than "winning the pennant" as the primary goal of the regular season.[2]

Initially, the best-of-5 series played in a 2-3 format, with the first two games set at home for the lower-seed team and the last three for the higher seed.[3][4] Since 1998, the series has followed a 2-2-1 format,[5] where the higher seed team plays at home in Games 1 and 2, the lower seed plays at home in Game 3 and Game 4 (if necessary), and if a Game 5 is needed, the teams return to the higher seed's field. When MLB added a second wild card team in 2012, the Division Series re-adopted the 2-3 format due to scheduling conflicts. It reverted to the 2-2-1 format from 2013 onwards.[6]

NLDS Results[edit]

  • Team names link to the season in which each team played
Key
dagger Wild card
Year Winner Loser Wins Losses
1981 Montreal Expos Philadelphia Phillies 3 2
Los Angeles Dodgers Houston Astros 3 2
1995 Atlanta Braves Colorado Rockiesdagger 3 1
Cincinnati Reds Los Angeles Dodgers 3 0
1996 Atlanta Braves Los Angeles Dodgersdagger 3 0
St. Louis Cardinals San Diego Padres 3 0
1997 Atlanta Braves Houston Astros 3 0
Florida Marlinsdagger San Francisco Giants 3 0
1998 Atlanta Braves Chicago Cubsdagger 3 0
San Diego Padres Houston Astros 3 1
1999 Atlanta Braves Houston Astros 3 1
New York Metsdagger Arizona Diamondbacks 3 1
2000 St. Louis Cardinals Atlanta Braves 3 0
New York Metsdagger San Francisco Giants 3 1
2001 Atlanta Braves Houston Astros 3 0
Arizona Diamondbacks St. Louis Cardinalsdagger 3 2
2002 St. Louis Cardinals Arizona Diamondbacks 3 0
San Francisco Giantsdagger Atlanta Braves 3 2
2003 Chicago Cubs Atlanta Braves 3 2
Florida Marlinsdagger San Francisco Giants 3 1
2004 St. Louis Cardinals Los Angeles Dodgers 3 1
Houston Astrosdagger Atlanta Braves 3 2
2005 St. Louis Cardinals San Diego Padres 3 0
Houston Astrosdagger Atlanta Braves 3 1
2006 New York Mets Los Angeles Dodgersdagger 3 0
St. Louis Cardinals San Diego Padres 3 1
2007 Colorado Rockiesdagger Philadelphia Phillies 3 0
Arizona Diamondbacks Chicago Cubs 3 0
2008 Los Angeles Dodgers Chicago Cubs 3 0
Philadelphia Phillies Milwaukee Brewersdagger 3 1
2009 Los Angeles Dodgers St. Louis Cardinals 3 0
Philadelphia Phillies Colorado Rockiesdagger 3 1
2010 Philadelphia Phillies Cincinnati Reds 3 0
San Francisco Giants Atlanta Bravesdagger 3 1
2011 St. Louis Cardinalsdagger Philadelphia Phillies 3 2
Milwaukee Brewers Arizona Diamondbacks 3 2
2012 San Francisco Giants Cincinnati Reds 3 2
St. Louis Cardinalsdagger Washington Nationals 3 2
2013 St. Louis Cardinals Pittsburgh Piratesdagger 3 2
Los Angeles Dodgers Atlanta Braves 3 1
2014 St. Louis Cardinals Los Angeles Dodgers 3 1
San Francisco Giantsdagger Washington Nationals 3 1
2015 New York Mets Los Angeles Dodgers 3 2
Chicago Cubsdagger St. Louis Cardinals 3 1
2016 Los Angeles Dodgers Washington Nationals 3 2
Chicago Cubs San Francisco Giantsdagger 3 1
2017 Chicago Cubs Washington Nationals 3 2
Los Angeles Dodgers Arizona Diamondbacksdagger 3 0

NLDS Appearances[edit]

Series
appearances
Team Wins Losses Win % Most recent
win
Most recent
appearance
Games
won
Games
lost
Game
win %
Most Recent
game win
13 St. Louis Cardinals 10 3 .769 2014 2015 33 18 .647 2015
13 Atlanta Braves 6 7 .462 2001 2013 27 23 .540 2013
12 Los Angeles Dodgers 6 6 .500 2017 2017 22 23 .489 2017
8 San Francisco Giants 4 4 .500 2014 2016 15 18 .455 2016
7 Houston Astros 2 5 .286 2005 2005 10 18 .357 2005
7 Chicago Cubs 4 3 .571 2017 2017 12 15 .444 2017
6 Philadelphia Phillies 3 3 .500 2010 2011 13 11 .542 2011
6 Arizona Diamondbacks 2 4 .333 2007 2017 9 14 .391 2011
5 Washington Nationals 1 4 .200 1981 2017 10 14 .417 2017
4 New York Mets 4 0 1.000 2015 2015 12 4 .750 2015
4 San Diego Padres 1 3 .250 1998 2006 4 10 .286 2006
3 Cincinnati Reds 1 2 .333 1995 2012 5 6 .455 2012
3 Colorado Rockies 1 2 .333 2007 2009 5 6 .455 2009
2 Miami Marlins 2 0 1.000 2003 2003 6 1 .857 2003
2 Milwaukee Brewers 1 1 .500 2011 2011 4 5 .444 2011
1 Pittsburgh Pirates 0 1 .000 - 2013 2 3 .400 2013

Frequent matchups[edit]

Count Matchup Record Years
5 Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros Braves, 3–2 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005
3 San Diego Padres vs. St. Louis Cardinals Cardinals, 3–0 1996, 2005, 2006
3 St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Cardinals, 2–1 2004, 2009, 2014
2 St. Louis Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Tied, 1–1 2001, 2002
2 Florida Marlins vs. San Francisco Giants Marlins, 2–0 1997, 2003
2 Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves Tied, 1–1 1998, 2003
2 Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies Tied, 1–1 2007, 2009
2 San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves Giants, 2–0 2002, 2010
2 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves Tied, 1–1 1996, 2013
2 New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Mets, 2–0 2006, 2015

NOTE: With the Houston Astros move to the American League at the conclusion of the 2012 season, the Braves vs Astros series is not currently possible.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • 1996, 1997, & 2007 are the years in which the National League Division Series finished in sweeps in both series.
  1. ^ See: Division Series § 1993-1994: Proposal, realignment, and cancellation of 1994 postseason.
  2. ^ Nate Silver, "Selig's Dream: The Wild Card as Enabler of Pennant Races," in Steven Goldman, Ed., It Ain't Over 'til It's Over (New York: Basic Books): 170-178.
  3. ^ 1984 NL Championship Series, Baseball-Reference.com
  4. ^ 1997 AL Division Series, Baseball-Reference.com
  5. ^ Gillette, Gary; Palmer, Pete, eds. (2006). "October Classics: Postseason Series and Playoffs". The 2006 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. New York: Sterling Publishing. p. 1656. 
  6. ^ Sporting News (2012-03-02). "MLB expands playoff field to 10 teams with addition of two wild cards". Retrieved 2013-10-28.