National League Division Series: Wikis


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In Major League Baseball, the National League Division Series (NLDS) determine which two teams from the National League will advance to the National League Championship Series. The Division Series consist of two best-of-five series, featuring the three division winners and a wild-card team.



The Division Series was permanently created after the 1993 season when Major League Baseball restructured each league into three divisions, but their first regular playing was in 1995 due to the cancellation of the 1994 playoffs. 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 eleven appearances. One team has yet to play in an NL division series, the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Washington Nationals also have only appeared as the Montreal Expos.


Since 1998, the wild-card team has been assigned to play the division winner with the best winning percentage in one series, and the other two division winners meet in the other series. However, if the wild-card team and the division winner with the best record are from the same division, the wild-card team plays the division winner with the second-best record, and the remaining two division leaders play. The two series winners move on to the best-of-seven NLCS. The winner of the wild card has won the first round 7 out of the 11 years since the re-alignment and creation of the NLDS. 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.[1]

Currently, the Division Series follows a 2-2-1 format. [2] The higher seed plays at home in Games 1 and 2. The lower seed plays at home in Game 3 and Game 4 (if necessary). If a Game 5 is needed, the teams return to the higher seed's field.

Historically, MLB had also used a 2-3 format in a best-of-5 series, but no longer uses that format.[3] [4]

There is currently no award for the Most Valuable Player of the Division Series.

Frequent matchups

Since the NLDS' inception, six matchups have occurred more than once. The Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros have played five division series, the Braves winning the first three series and the Astros the last two. The San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals have played three series, all of which the Cardinals won, and the Cardinals have also played the Arizona Diamondbacks twice. The Florida Marlins have played the San Francisco Giants twice, and won both series, 3 games to 0 and 3 games to 1. The Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves have met twice in the NLDS, with the Braves winning in 1998 and the Cubs winning in 2003. The Philadelphia Phillies and the Colorado Rockies have also met twice in the NLDS, with the Rockies winning in 2007 and the Phillies winning in 2009.

NLDS results

Year Winner Loser Wins Losses Notes
1981 Montreal Expos Philadelphia Phillies 3 2 Specially-formed series due to split-season format.

Included first post-season games in Canada

Los Angeles Dodgers Houston Astros 3 2
1994 Not held due to player strike.
1995 Atlanta Braves Colorado Rockies 3 1
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
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
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
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
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
St. Louis Cardinals San Diego Padres 3 1
2007 Colorado Rockies Philadelphia Phillies 3 0
Arizona Diamondbacks Chicago Cubs 3 0
2008 Los Angeles Dodgers Chicago Cubs 3 0
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
Philadelphia Phillies Colorado Rockies 3 1
† indicates wild card team

See also

External links


  • 1996, 1997, & 2007 are the years in which the National League Division Series finished in sweeps in both series.
  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^
  3. ^ 1984 NLCS - Baseball References
  4. ^ 1997 ALDS1 - Baseball References

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