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 that season only – as a result of a midseason strike with first-place teams before the strike taking on the first-place teams after. In 1994, Major League Baseball decided to implement the Division Series permanently, because it was restructuring each league into three divisions. (The new division series had a somewhat diferent format than the one-off 1981 tournament. Additionally, 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 thirteen 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 Manager Loser Manager Wins Losses
1981 Montreal Expos Jim Fanning Philadelphia Phillies Dallas Green 3 2
Los Angeles Dodgers Tommy Lasorda Houston Astros Bill Virdon 3 2
1995 Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox Colorado Rockiesdagger Don Baylor 3 1
Cincinnati Reds Davey Johnson Los Angeles Dodgers Tommy Lasorda 3 0
1996 Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox Los Angeles Dodgersdagger Bill Russell 3 0
St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa San Diego Padres Bruce Bochy 3 0
1997 Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox Houston Astros Larry Dierker 3 0
Florida Marlinsdagger Jim Leyland San Francisco Giants Dusty Baker 3 0
1998 Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox Chicago Cubsdagger Jim Riggleman 3 0
San Diego Padres Bruce Bochy Houston Astros Larry Dierker 3 1
1999 Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox Houston Astros Larry Dierker 3 1
New York Metsdagger Bobby Valentine Arizona Diamondbacks Buck Showalter 3 1
2000 St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox 3 0
New York Metsdagger Bobby Valentine San Francisco Giants Dusty Baker 3 1
2001 Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox Houston Astros Larry Dierker 3 0
Arizona Diamondbacks Bob Brenly St. Louis Cardinalsdagger Tony La Russa 3 2
2002 St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa Arizona Diamondbacks Bob Brenly 3 0
San Francisco Giantsdagger Dusty Baker Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox 3 2
2003 Chicago Cubs Dusty Baker Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox 3 2
Florida Marlinsdagger Jack McKeon San Francisco Giants Felipe Alou 3 1
2004 St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa Los Angeles Dodgers Jim Tracy 3 1
Houston Astrosdagger Phil Garner Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox 3 2
2005 St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa San Diego Padres Bruce Bochy 3 0
Houston Astrosdagger Phil Garner Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox 3 1
2006 New York Mets Willie Randolph Los Angeles Dodgersdagger Jim Tracy 3 0
St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa San Diego Padres Bruce Bochy 3 1
2007 Colorado Rockiesdagger Clint Hurdle Philadelphia Phillies Charlie Manuel 3 0
Arizona Diamondbacks Bob Melvin Chicago Cubs Lou Piniella 3 0
2008 Los Angeles Dodgers Joe Torre Chicago Cubs Lou Piniella 3 0
Philadelphia Phillies Charlie Manuel Milwaukee Brewersdagger Dale Sveum 3 1
2009 Los Angeles Dodgers Joe Torre St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa 3 0
Philadelphia Phillies Charlie Manuel Colorado Rockiesdagger Jim Tracy 3 1
2010 Philadelphia Phillies Charlie Manuel Cincinnati Reds Dusty Baker 3 0
San Francisco Giants Bruce Bochy Atlanta Bravesdagger Bobby Cox 3 1
2011 St. Louis Cardinalsdagger Tony La Russa Philadelphia Phillies Charlie Manuel 3 2
Milwaukee Brewers Ron Roenicke Arizona Diamondbacks Kirk Gibson 3 2
2012 San Francisco Giants Bruce Bochy Cincinnati Reds Dusty Baker 3 2
St. Louis Cardinalsdagger Mike Matheny Washington Nationals Davey Johnson 3 2
2013 St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny Pittsburgh Piratesdagger Clint Hurdle 3 2
Los Angeles Dodgers Don Mattingly Atlanta Braves Fredi González 3 1
2014 St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny Los Angeles Dodgers Don Mattingly 3 1
San Francisco Giantsdagger Bruce Bochy Washington Nationals Matt Williams 3 1
2015 New York Mets Terry Collins Los Angeles Dodgers Don Mattingly 3 2
Chicago Cubsdagger Joe Maddon St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny 3 1
2016 Los Angeles Dodgers Dave Roberts Washington Nationals Dusty Baker 3 2
Chicago Cubs Joe Maddon San Francisco Giantsdagger Bruce Bochy 3 1
2017 Chicago Cubs Joe Maddon Washington Nationals Dusty Baker 3 2
Los Angeles Dodgers Dave Roberts Arizona Diamondbacksdagger Torey Lovullo 3 0
2018 Milwaukee Brewers Craig Counsell Colorado Rockies dagger Bud Black 3 0
Los Angeles Dodgers Dave Roberts Atlanta Braves Brian Snitker 3 1

NLDS appearances[edit]

Series
appearances
Team Wins Losses Win % Most recent
win
Most recent
appearance
Games
won
Games
lost
Game
win %
14 Atlanta Braves 6 7 .462 2001 2018 27 23 .540
13 St. Louis Cardinals 10 3 .769 2014 2015 33 18 .647
13 Los Angeles Dodgers 7 6 .538 2018 2018 25 24 .510
8 San Francisco Giants 4 4 .500 2014 2016 15 18 .455
7 Houston Astros 2 5 .286 2005 2005 10 18 .357
7 Chicago Cubs 4 3 .571 2017 2017 12 15 .444
6 Philadelphia Phillies 3 3 .500 2010 2011 13 11 .542
6 Arizona Diamondbacks 2 4 .333 2007 2017 9 14 .391
5 Washington Nationals 1 4 .200 1981 2017 10 14 .417
4 New York Mets 4 0 1.000 2015 2015 12 4 .750
4 San Diego Padres 1 3 .250 1998 2006 4 10 .286
4 Colorado Rockies 1 3 .250 2007 2018 5 9 .357
3 Cincinnati Reds 1 2 .333 1995 2012 5 6 .455
3 Milwaukee Brewers 2 1 .667 2018 2018 7 5 .583
2 Miami Marlins 2 0 1.000 2003 2003 6 1 .857
1 Pittsburgh Pirates 0 1 .000 - 2013 2 3 .400

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
3 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves Dodgers, 2–1 1996, 2013, 2018
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 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.