2021 MLB Playoffs: NLDS Preview, Schedule, & TV Info
Corey Seager, Brandon Crawford, 2021 Season
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 MLB Playoffs are underway, as the eight best teams in baseball fight it out for a chance to represent their league in the World Series. After two Wild Card Games, the true playoffs begin with a best-of-five ALDS and NLDS.

On Thursday, we broke down both of the American League Division Series. In Game 1, the Houston Astros dismantled Lance Lynn and the Chicago White Sox while the Tampa Bay Rays proved they can make life very difficult for the Boston Red Sox.

The Astros and Rays now hold a 1-0 series lead as we head into Friday, with the NLDS kicking off at the same time as Game 2 of each of the AL series. The Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants will all be in action.

Now, we’ll dive deep into the National League, providing a preview, the schedule, and all the viewing information you’ll need to enjoy the MLB quarterfinal.

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Atlanta Braves

This is the lesser thought of between the two NLDS matchups, as it’s home to the worst team — by record — to make it to the postseason. Yes, the Braves finished with just 88 wins, 18 wins worse than the Wild Card Dodgers. And yet, due to winning the pitiful NL East, they represent the No. 3 seed.

They’ll face the No. 2 Brewers, whose defining feature has been elite pitching. The Brewers are not only home to this year’s likely NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, they also have one of the best bullpens and most complete starting rotations in baseball. Josh Hader, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Eric Lauer, and Brad Boxberger are just some of the names that will be thrown at Atlanta during this series.

Offensively, the Brewers are not quite at the level of the Braves. Christian Yelich is the closest thing they have to an offensive superstar, but he has not quite been able to meet the production of his unbelievable 2018 and 2019 seasons. He actually put up a career-worst .736 OPS in 2021.

This is where the Braves have an advantage. Despite Ronald Acuna Jr. being out for the season with a torn ACL, Atlanta has found a way to be immensely productive at the plate. This is largely in part due to their infield, as Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, and Austin Riley all had incredible offensive seasons.

The Brewers likely have the edge in this series due to the pitching gap between the two teams, but the Braves won’t go down without a serious fight.

Brewers (95-67) vs. Braves (88-73)

Game 1:
American Family Field, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Friday, October 8, 1:37 p.m. PT
TV: TBS
MIL: Corbin Burnes vs. ATL: Charlie Morton

Game 2:
American Family Field, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Saturday, October 9, 2:07 p.m. PT
TV: TBS
MIL: Brandon Woodruff vs. ATL: Max Fried

Game 3:
Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
Monday, October 11, 10:07 a.m. PT
TV: TBS
MIL: Undecided vs. ATL: Ian Anderson

Game 4 (if necessary):
Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
Tuesday, October 12, 2:07 p.m. PT
TV: TBS

Game 5 (if necessary):
American Family Field, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Thursday, October 14, 2:07 p.m. PT
TV: TBS

San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Now, we get to perhaps the most highly anticipated Division Series of all time. Not only is this the first playoff matchup between these two NL West rivals, it also sets MLB record for most combined wins between two playoff opponents and is the first time two 105+ win teams have met in the postseason.

The Dodgers tied a franchise record with 106 wins this season. Their reward was playing in a heated Wild Card Game and facing a 107-win Giants team in the first round. If this goes as planned, it could be one of the greatest NLDS matchups of all time.

The Dodgers were widely expected to be here. They are home to one of the most talented rosters in recent history, elite starting pitching, and an excellent back-end of the bullpen. The Giants, on the other hand, have been a shock to the baseball world.

Age is just a number in San Francisco, as Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and Darin Ruf have rediscovered the fountain of youth for this season. They defied all preseason projections to be the best team in baseball all year long, and now their reward is to face the Dodgers.

L.A. will likely have to play this series without Max Muncy and Clayton Kershaw. The latter is definitely out for the year with an elbow injury, but Muncy’s dislocated elbow is a series-to-series injury. If the Dodgers make it to the NLCS, they could get their All-Star first baseman back. For now, it’ll be some combination of Matt Beaty, Cody Bellinger, Billy McKinney, and former L.A. Angel Albert Pujols.

Even still, there is no doubt that this series will go down to the wire, as these two are about as close in record and statistics as two teams can get in baseball.

Giants (107-55) vs. Dodgers (106-56)

Game 1:
Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
Friday, October 8, 6:37 p.m. PT
TV: TBS
SF: Logan Webb vs. LAD: Walker Buehler

Game 2:
Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
Saturday, October 9, 6:07 p.m. PT
TV: TBS
SF: Kevin Gausman vs. LAD: Julio Urias

Game 3:
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
Monday, October 11, 6:37 p.m. PT
TV: TBS

Game 4 (if necessary):
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
Tuesday, October 12, 6:07 p.m. PT
TV: TBS

Game 5 (if necessary):
Oracle Park, San Francisco, California
Thursday, October 14, 6:07 p.m. PT
TV: TBS

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