2013 MLB Playoffs

NLDS Schedule 2013: TV Info, Dates, Times and Series-by-Series Analysis

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 in the National League Wild Card game at PNC Park October 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2013

With the Pittsburgh Pirates defeating the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, 6-2, in the wild-card matchup, the National League Divisional Series are now set. 

The Pirates find themselves with another stiff divisional test, this time against the National League's best team in the regular season: the St. Louis Cardinals. Meanwhile, in a matchup dripping with star power, the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Atlanta Braves. 

Both series promise to be excellent matchups. Let's break them down. 

 

Schedule

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1Pittsburgh Pirates @ St. Louis CardinalsThu, Oct 35 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com 
Game 2Pittsburgh Pirates @ St. Louis CardinalsFri, Oct 41 p.m.MLBNPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3St. Louis Cardinals @ Pittsburgh PiratesSun, Oct 6TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 4*St. Louis Cardinals @ Pittsburgh PiratesMon, Oct 7TBDTBS or MLBN***Postseason.TVTBS.com
Game 5*Pittsburgh Pirates @ St. Louis CardinalsWed, Oct 9TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
NLDS A

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta BravesThu, Oct 38:30 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 2Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta BravesFri, Oct 46 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3Atlanta Braves @ Los Angeles DodgersSun, Oct 6TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 4*Atlanta Braves @ Los Angeles DodgersMon, Oct 7TBDTBS or MLBN***Postseason.TVTBS.com
Game 5*Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta BravesWed, Oct 9TBDTBS 
NLDS B

* If necessary

 

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals

The good times keep rolling for the Pirates after they defeated the Reds. Their prize for that victory? A tough matchup against divisional rival St. Louis. 

The first obvious advantage for the Cardinals is that they'll have ace Adam Wainwright for Game 1 and would have him for Game 5 if needed, as well. 

The Cardinals can really hit, with five players—Allen Craig (97), Matt Holliday (94), Carlos Beltran (84), Yadier Molina (80) and Matt Carpenter (78)—tallying more than 75 RBI this season (though Craig won't be available for the NLDS).

With Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller behind Wainwright—and Joe Kelly and Michael Wacha available as well—the Cardinals have a stockpile of talented pitchers at their disposal. It's hard to find many weaknesses on this team. 

The Pirates will need their pitching to carry the torch. Game 1 starter A.J. Burnett and staff ace Francisco Liriano have been spectacular this season, while fans will want to see star-in-the-making Gerrit Cole get a crack at this Cardinals lineup, too. As well, the Pirates have one of the best bullpens in all of baseball. 

Offensively, Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez have been excellent this season, but you wonder if they alone can carry an otherwise average lineup. If the Pirates can keep the games low-scoring and can generate a few runs with speed and timely hitting, they've got a shot. 

But ultimately, the balance of St. Louis will be too much to overcome.

Prediction: Cardinals in five.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves

Expect this series to be a battle of the pitchers. 

The Dodgers have arguably the best rotation in the National League, led by a nasty one-two punch of Clayton Kershaw (who would likely pitch twice if the series goes five games) and Zack GreinkeHyun-Jin Ryu and Ricky Nolasco give the team a solid third and fourth option, while Kenley Jansen has been excellent as the team's closer. 

The Braves have a very good staff of their own, with Kris Medlen, Mike MinorJulio Teheran and Paul Maholm all winning 10 or more games this year, though it doesn't have the star power the Dodgers can boast. They also have the best bullpen in baseball, led by dynamo closer Craig Kimbrel

Matt Kemp may be out for the year, but keep in mind that the Dodgers were 42-8 without him this season. Obviously, they would rather have Kemp, but with Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig in the lineup, this team can still rake. 

The Braves will like their chances given that they went 5-2 against the Dodgers in the regular season, though October baseball is a whole new animal. While Atlanta led the NL in home runs this year, that all-or-nothing approach at the plate will hurt them against aces like Kershaw and Greinke

Prediction: Dodgers in four.

 

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