National League Division Series
|Part of a series on the|
|Major League Baseball postseason|
|Wild Card game|
|League Championship Series|
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.
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.) 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.
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.
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. Since 1998, the series has followed a 2-2-1 format, 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.
|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 no longer possible.
- Team names link to the season in which each team played
|1981||Montreal Expos||Philadelphia Phillies||3||2||One-time split-season format, due to strike (first half leader vs. second half leader); despite best overall NL East record, St. Louis Cardinals miss the playoffs|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Houston Astros||3||2||One-time split-season format, due to strike (first half leader vs. second half leader); despite best overall NL West record (and best overall NL record), Cincinnati Reds miss the playoffs|
|1995||Atlanta Braves||Colorado Rockies†||3||1||Due to newly added wild card, the expansion Colorado Rockies reach the postseason in only their third season in the league|
|Cincinnati Reds||Los Angeles Dodgers||3||0|
|1996||Atlanta Braves||Los Angeles Dodgers†||3||0|
|St. Louis Cardinals||San Diego Padres||3||0|
|1997||Atlanta Braves||Houston Astros||3||0|
|Florida Marlins†||San Francisco Giants||3||0|
|1998||Atlanta Braves||Chicago Cubs†||3||0|
|San Diego Padres||Houston Astros||3||1|
|1999||Atlanta Braves||Houston Astros||3||1||Series included last two games played at Astrodome|
|New York Mets†||Arizona Diamondbacks||3||1||Todd Pratt hit a home run in the 10th inning of Game 4 to win series for Mets; Diamondbacks set new record by reaching postseason in only their second season|
|2000||St. Louis Cardinals||Atlanta Braves||3||0|
|New York Mets†||San Francisco Giants||3||1||Bobby Jones pitched a 1-hit shutout in Game 4 to clinch series for Mets who become the first wild card team to win series in consecutive years|
|2001||Atlanta Braves||Houston Astros||3||0|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||St. Louis Cardinals†||3||2|
|2002||St. Louis Cardinals||Arizona Diamondbacks||3||0|
|San Francisco Giants†||Atlanta Braves||3||2|
|2003||Chicago Cubs||Atlanta Braves||3||2||For the first time since the 1908 World Series, the Cubs win a postseason series.|
|Florida Marlins†||San Francisco Giants||3||1|
|2004||St. Louis Cardinals||Los Angeles Dodgers||3||1|
|Houston Astros†||Atlanta Braves||3||2|
|2005||St. Louis Cardinals||San Diego Padres||3||0||The sweep ends the Padres season at an overall record at 82-83.|
|Houston Astros†||Atlanta Braves||3||1||Game 4 was the longest postseason game in MLB history (18 innings)|
|2006||New York Mets||Los Angeles Dodgers†||3||0||In Game 3, Mets score 9 runs on 14 hits to complete the sweep of the Dodgers|
|St. Louis Cardinals||San Diego Padres||3||1||For second straight year, Cards eliminate Padres in NLDS|
|2007||Colorado Rockies†||Philadelphia Phillies||3||0||Rookie Ubaldo Jimenez leads the Rockies over the Phillies as they advance to the NLCS|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Chicago Cubs||3||0||Diamondbacks outscore the Cubs 16-5, in the 3 game sweep|
|2008||Los Angeles Dodgers||Chicago Cubs||3||0||Dodgers score 2 in the 1st inning and never look back as they defeat the Cubs 3-1 for the sweep in the series|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Milwaukee Brewers†||3||1||Shane Victorino's grand slam in Game 2 was key moment in Phils' win|
|2009||Los Angeles Dodgers||St. Louis Cardinals||3||0||In his first career post season start, Vicente Padilla pitches 7 strong innings as the Dodgers sweep the Cardinals|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Colorado Rockies†||3||1||Led by a Ryan Howard double, Phillies rally for 3 runs in the 9th to advance to the NLCS|
|2010||Philadelphia Phillies||Cincinnati Reds||3||0||In his playoff debut, Roy Halladay threw the second no-hitter in MLB post season history|
|San Francisco Giants||Atlanta Braves†||3||1||In his playoff debut, Tim Lincecum threw a 2-hit, 14 strikeout complete game shutout|
|2011||St. Louis Cardinals†||Philadelphia Phillies||3||2|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Arizona Diamondbacks||3||2||Nyjer Morgan's walk off single in the 10th inning send the Brewers to the NLCS|
|2012||San Francisco Giants||Cincinnati Reds||3||2||Giants became the eighth team to win a five-game playoff after trailing 2-0; MLB's new playoff format makes them the first to do so by winning last three on the road|
|St. Louis Cardinals†||Washington Nationals||3||2||Cardinals win Game 5 with the biggest elimination game comeback in MLB history|
|2013||St. Louis Cardinals||Pittsburgh Pirates†||3||2||Adam Wainwright pitches a complete game as the Cards defeat the Pirates in 5 games|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Atlanta Braves||3||1||Juan Uribe's 8th inning 2 run homer lifts the Dodgers in game 4 and wins the series|
|2014||St. Louis Cardinals||Los Angeles Dodgers||3||1||Cy Young and MVP candidate, Clayton Kershaw loses games 1 and 4; Cardinals advance to NLCS for the fourth consecutive year|
|San Francisco Giants†||Washington Nationals||3||1||Giants win 18-inning Game 2, the longest postseason game in MLB history, and win series|
|2015||New York Mets||Los Angeles Dodgers||3||2||Jacob deGrom bests Cy Young candidates Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in Games 1 and 5, helping the Mets advance to their first NLCS since 2006|
|Chicago Cubs†||St. Louis Cardinals||3||1||The Cubs set a postseason record with 6 home runs in Game 3, defeating the Cardinals, the team with the best record in 2015, in Game 4 to advance to their first NLCS since 2003|
|2016||Los Angeles Dodgers||Washington Nationals||3||2||Dodgers advance to NLCS. Clayton Kershaw closes Game 5 with a two out save in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Nationals.|
|Chicago Cubs||San Francisco Giants†||3||1||Cubs advance to NLCS|
|† indicates wild card team
|Team||Wins||Losses||Win %||Most recent
|13||St. Louis Cardinals||10||3||.769||2014||2015|
|12||Los Angeles Dodgers||5||6||.500||2016||2016|
|8||San Francisco Giants||4||4||.500||2014||2016|
|4||Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos||1||3||.250||1981||2016|
|4||New York Mets||4||0||1.000||2015||2015|
|4||San Diego Padres||1||3||.250||1998||2006|
- American League Division Series (ALDS)
- MLB division winners
- MLB postseason
- List of American League pennant winners
- List of National League pennant winners
- List of World Series champions
- Baseball-Reference.com - annual playoffs
- MLB.com - MLB's Division Series historical reference - box scores, highlights, etc.
- 1996, 1997, & 2007 are the years in which the National League Division Series finished in sweeps in both series.
- See: Division Series § 1993-1994: Proposal, realignment, and cancellation of 1994 postseason.
- 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.
- 1984 NL Championship Series, Baseball-Reference.com
- 1997 AL Division Series, Baseball-Reference.com
- Gillette, Gary; Palmer, Pete, eds. (2006). "October Classics: Postseason Series and Playoffs". The 2006 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. New York: Sterling Publishing. p. 1656.
- Sporting News (2012-03-02). "MLB expands playoff field to 10 teams with addition of two wild cards". Retrieved 2013-10-28.