The 2013 MLB playoffs have arrived.
Six months of non-stop baseball have led us to the postseason, but not before we get a one-game play-in to determine who moves on to the next one-game play-in.
It's September/October Madness!
Here's all the pertinent viewing information you need leading up to the postseason, which will feature a batch of evenly matched teams vying for the World Series crown.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
|Tampa Bay Rays @ Texas Rangers||Mon, Sept. 30||8:00 p.m. ET||TBS|
After 162 games, these two American League squads hit a stalemate at 91-71. To settle the score, they'll play one more game to determine who faces the Cleveland Indians in the winner-take-all play-in game.
Former Cy Young winner David Price will take the ball for Tampa Bay against rookie Martin Perez, who has registered a 3.55 ERA for Texas this season.
According to Fox Sports' Jon Morosi, Nelson Cruz will return from his 50-game suspension to start for the Rangers tonight in their must-win game.
Nelson Cruz will bat sixth as the DH tonight in the return from his 50-game Biogenesis suspension. @FOXSportsLive— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) September 30, 2013
Cruz's return is sure to be a huge storyline for this all-important matchup.
AL Wild Card Game: Rays/Rangers vs. Cleveland Indians
|AL Wild Card @ Cleveland Indians||Wed, Oct. 2||8:00 p.m.||TBS|
Winners of their last 10 games, the Indians stormed down the final stretch to secure one of two AL Wild Card berths. The entire rotation took advantage of a friendly September schedule, but manager Terry Francona will hand the ball to rookie Danny Salazar, who posted a 3.12 ERA, 65 strikeouts and 15 walks through 52 innings this year.
NL Wild Card Game: Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
|Cincinnati Reds @ Pittsburgh Pirates||Tue, Oct. 1||8:00 p.m. ET||TBS|
The Pittsburgh Pirates earned their first postseason bid since 1992, but it could be over after one day if they fall to the Cincinnati Reds. Francisco Liriano, who has been revitalized this season with a 3.02 ERA and 9.11 K/9 ratio, will look to neutralize lefties Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo and Jay Bruce.
Meanwhile, Dusty Baker is starting Johnny Cueto, who has only made 11 starts in an injury-riddled season, instead of budding ace Homer Bailey.
ALDS: AL Wild Card Winner vs. Boston Red Sox
|Game 1||AL Wild Card @ Boston Red Sox||Fri, Oct. 4||TBD||TBS or MLBN*|
|Game 2||AL Wild Card @ Boston Red Sox||Sat, Oct. 5||TBD||TBS|
|Game 3||Boston Red Sox @ AL Wild Card||Mon, Oct. 7||TBD||TBS or MLBN*|
|Game 4 (if necessary)||Boston Red Sox @ AL Wild Card||Tue, Oct. 8||TBD||TBS|
|Game 5 (if necessary)||AL Wild Card @ Boston Red Sox||Thu, Oct. 10||TBD||TBS|
A year removed from finishing last in the AL East at 69-90, the Boston Red Sox went 97-65, producing baseball's best run differential at plus-197. Free-agent signings Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino have paid massive dividends while John Lackey has found a second life.
ALDS: Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics
|Game 1||Detroit Tigers @ Oakland Athletics||Fri, Oct. 4||TBD||TBS or MLBN*|
|Game 2||Detroit Tigers @ Oakland Athletics||Sat, Oct. 5||TBD||TBS|
|Game 3||Oakland Athletics @ Detroit Tigers||Mon, Oct. 7||TBD||TBS or MLBN*|
|Game 4 (if necessary)||Oakland Athletics @ Detroit Tigers||Tue, Oct. 8||TBD||TBS|
|Game 5 (if necessary)||Detroit Tigers @ Oakland Athletics||Thu, Oct. 10||TBD||TBS|
Guess which third baseman in this series has the higher WAR, according to FanGraphs.
That's right, it's Josh Donaldson. Embodying the spirit of Oakland's no-name achievers, Donaldson hit .301/.384/.499 with 24 homers. They don't have name-brand talent like Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, but the A's scored just 29 fewer runs than the Tigers this year.
Then again, they don't have aces Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez.
NLDS: Pirates/Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals
|Game 1||NL Wild Card @ St. Louis Cardinals||Thu, Oct. 3||TBD||TBS|
|Game 2||NL Wild Card @ St. Louis Cardinals||Fri, Oct. 4||TBD||TBS or MLBN*|
|Game 3||St. Louis Cardinals @ NL Wild Card||Sun, Oct. 6||TBD||TBS|
|Game 4 (if necessary)||St. Louis Cardinals @ NL Wild Card||Mon, Oct. 7||TBD||TBS or MLBN*|
|Game 5 (if necessary)||NL Wild Card @ St. Louis Cardinals||Wed, Oct. 9||TBD||TBS|
The winner of the NL Wild Card clash will face the NL Central winner. The St. Louis Cardinals finished with the NL's best record with the help of Matt Carpenter's 126 runs and Adam Wainwright's 1.30 BB/9 rate. Matt Holliday enters the playoffs with a scorching bat, hitting .348/.442/.552 after the All-Star break.
NLDS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves
|Game 1||Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta Braves||Thu, Oct. 3||TBD||TBS|
|Game 2||Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta Braves||Fri, Oct. 4||TBD||TBS or MLBN*|
|Game 3||Atlanta Braves @ Los Angeles Dodgers||Sun, Oct. 6||TBD||TBS|
|Game 4 (if necessary)||Atlanta Braves @ Los Angeles Dodgers||Mon, Oct. 7||TBD||TBS or MLBN*|
|Game 5 (if necessary)||Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta Braves||Wed, Oct. 9||TBD||TBS|
This series is all about pitching.
Atlanta enters the postseason with an MLB-best 3.18 team ERA, but Los Angeles rates second with a 3.25 mark. The Dodgers have been baseball's hottest squad since calling up rookie Yasiel Puig and getting healthy returns from both Puig and Hanley Ramirez. The Braves must rely on a young pitching staff led by Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Kris Medlen.
*According to MLB.com: "TBS will air three of the four Division Series games on Friday, October 4 and up to three games on Monday, October 7. MLB Network will air one Division Series game on both of those dates. TBS will air 18 of the 20 Division Series games."