After watching the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Wild Card Game Tuesday night, the focus of the 2013 MLB playoffs has shifted to the divisional round.
There are two marquee matchups on tap for the NLDS. The Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Atlanta Braves, and Pittsburgh advances to face the St. Louis Cardinals.
With so much at stake, there's sure to be a ton of great baseball ahead. Let's break down the matchups.
All stats and information via MLB.com and ESPN.
Watch postseason baseball live on TBS.com or your mobile device.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves
The Dodgers and Braves are two of the hardest teams in baseball to decipher. Both are capable of being the best in the league at times, but both have also shown this season that they can under-perform at times.
Los Angeles has the biggest advantage in the pitching department. With an ace like Clayton Kershaw (16 wins, a 1.83 ERA and 232 strikeouts) and a No. 2 like Zack Greinke (15 wins, a 2.63 ERA and 148 strikeouts), there is no better starting tandem in baseball right now.
Led by veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the Dodgers' offense (sixth-ranked team batting average and ninth-ranked on-base percentage) will push Atlanta to its limit. The Braves will be ready, though.
While Atlanta doesn’t have a prototypical ace, Kris Medlen has emerged as the star of the staff and will take the ball in Game 1. Add in a strong rotation—Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Paul Maholm all have at least 10 wins—and the Braves pose a legitimate threat.
They'll lean on Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Brian McCann to try to neutralize LA's strong pitching. MLB on Twitter also reported on Wednesday that Dan Uggla has been left of the roster for this series.
Atlanta struggled offensively this season (20th-ranked team batting average and 13th in both runs and on-base percentage), but with a shutdown bullpen full of talented stars (top-ranked 2.46 bullpen ERA), the Braves will hope to do enough at the plate and outpitch the Dodgers.
Series Prediction: Atlanta wins 3- 2
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The Pirates are the ultimate underdog franchise coming into this postseason, and their meeting with the Cardinals could breed the most entertaining series of the divisional round.
These Central Division rivals have met 19 times this season (Pittsburgh won 10 and St. Louis nine) and have become very familiar with each other. With a near even split in the regular season, this divisional series has all the earmarks of an instant classic.
The teams met four times in September, and the Cardinals took the victory in each of those games by a combined score of 33-12. While pitching will be important (the Pirates have the third-best ERA in baseball and St. Louis is fifth), this series will come down to timely scoring and consistent offense.
Pittsburgh has bona fide offensive stars like Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez, but the team overall has been lackluster offensively, ranking in the bottom half of the league in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
That’s where St. Louis will separate itself.
The Cardinals have been a well-oiled offensive machine this season and the contributions are coming from everywhere. With the club ranked third in runs, fourth in batting average and third in on-base percentage, St. Louis has far more offensive firepower than the Pirates.
Pittsburgh and the Cardinals are well matched in pitching, but the offensive disparity will be the deciding factor.
Series Prediction: St. Louis wins 3-1
Full 2013 MLB Playoff Bracket, Schedule and Viewing Information
|AL Wild Card||Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians||Wed, Oct 2||8 p.m.||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 1||Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals||Thu, Oct 3||5 p.m.||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 2||Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals||Fri, Oct 4||1 p.m.||MLBN||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 3||St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates||Sun, Oct 6||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 4*||St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates||Mon, Oct 7||TBD||TBS or MLBN***||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 5*||Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals||Wed, Oct 9||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 1||Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves||Thu, Oct 3||8:30 p.m.||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 2||Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves||Fri, Oct 4||6 p.m.||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 3||Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers||Sun, Oct 6||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 4*||Atlanta Braves @ Los Angeles Dodgers||Mon, Oct 7||TBD||TBS or MLBN***||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 5*||Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta Braves||Wed, Oct 9||TBD||TBS|
|Game 1||AL Wild Card at Boston Red Sox||Fri, Oct 4||3 p.m.||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 2||AL Wild Card at Boston Red Sox||Sat, Oct 5||5:30 p.m.||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 3||Boston Red Sox at AL Wild Card||Mon, Oct 7||TBD||TBS or MLBN***||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 4*||Boston Red Sox at AL Wild Card||Tue, Oct 8||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 5*||AL Wild Card at Boston Red Sox||Thu, Oct 10||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 1||Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics||Fri, Oct 4||9:30 p.m.||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 2||Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics||Sat, Oct 5||9 p.m.||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 3||Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers||Mon, Oct 7||TBD||TBS or MLBN***||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 4*||Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers||Tue, Oct 8||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 5*||Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics||Thu, Oct 10||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 1||TBD at TBD||Fri, Oct 11||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 2||TBD at TBD||Sat, Oct 12||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 3||TBD at TBD||Mon, Oct 14||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 4||TBD at TBD||Tue, Oct 15||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 5*||TBD at TBD||Wed, Oct 16||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 6*||TBD at TBD||Fri, Oct 18||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 7*||TBD at TBD||Sat, Oct 19||TBD||TBS||Postseason.TV; TBS.com|
|Game 1||TBD at TBD||Sat, Oct 12||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 2||TBD at TBD||Sun, Oct 13||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 3||TBD at TBD||Tue, Oct 15||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 4||TBD at TBD||Wed, Oct 16||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 5*||TBD at TBD||Thu, Oct 17||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 6*||TBD at TBD||Sat, Oct 19||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 7*||TBD at TBD||Sun, Oct 20||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 1||NL Champion at AL Champion||Wed, Oct 23||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 2||NL Champion at AL Champion||Thu, Oct 24||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 3||AL Champion at NL Champion||Sat, Oct 26||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 4||AL Champion at NL Champion||Sun, Oct 27||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 5*||AL Champion at NL Champion||Mon, Oct 28||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 6*||NL Champion at AL Champion||Wed, Oct 30||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
|Game 7*||NL Champion at AL Champion||Thu, Oct 31||TBD||Fox||Postseason.TV|
*** "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" (via MLB.com).