MLB Playoff Bracket 2013: Breaking Down Updated National League Divisional Round

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 30:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during game two of a doubleheader on July 30, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

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.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on September 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

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

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 31:  Starling Marte #6 of the Pittsburgh Pirates slides in safe at second in the fifth inning against Pete Kozma #38 of the St. Louis Cardinals during the game on July 31, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Just
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

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.

ST. LOUIS - APRIL 9:  Ramon Vazquez #5 of the Pittsburgh Pirates slides safely into home against Yadier Molina #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals on April 9, 2009 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 2-1.  (Dilip Vishwanat/Ge
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

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

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
AL Wild CardTampa Bay Rays at Cleveland IndiansWed, Oct 28 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com 
AL Wild Card

 

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

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta BravesThu, Oct 38:30 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 2Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta BravesFri, Oct 46 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3Atlanta Braves at 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

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1AL Wild Card at Boston Red SoxFri, Oct 43 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 2AL Wild Card at Boston Red SoxSat, Oct 55:30 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3Boston Red Sox at AL Wild CardMon, Oct 7TBDTBS or MLBN***Postseason.TVTBS.com
Game 4*Boston Red Sox at AL Wild CardTue, Oct 8TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 5*AL Wild Card at Boston Red SoxThu, Oct 10TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
ALDS A

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1Detroit Tigers at Oakland AthleticsFri, Oct 49:30 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 2Detroit Tigers at Oakland AthleticsSat, Oct 59 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3Oakland Athletics at Detroit TigersMon, Oct 7TBDTBS or MLBN***Postseason.TVTBS.com
Game 4*Oakland Athletics at Detroit TigersTue, Oct 8TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 5*Detroit Tigers at Oakland AthleticsThu, Oct 10TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
ALDS B

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1TBD at TBDFri, Oct 11TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 2TBD at TBDSat, Oct 12TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3TBD at TBDMon, Oct 14TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 4TBD at TBDTue, Oct 15TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 5*TBD at TBDWed, Oct 16TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 6*TBD at TBDFri, Oct 18TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 7*TBD at TBDSat, Oct 19TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
NLCS

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1TBD at TBDSat, Oct 12TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 2TBD at TBDSun, Oct 13TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 3TBD at TBDTue, Oct 15TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 4TBD at TBDWed, Oct 16TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 5*TBD at TBDThu, Oct 17TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 6*TBD at TBDSat, Oct 19TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 7*TBD at TBDSun, Oct 20TBDFoxPostseason.TV 
ALCS

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1NL Champion at AL ChampionWed, Oct 23TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 2NL Champion at AL ChampionThu, Oct 24TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 3AL Champion at NL ChampionSat, Oct 26TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 4AL Champion at NL ChampionSun, Oct 27TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 5*AL Champion at NL ChampionMon, Oct 28TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 6*NL Champion at AL ChampionWed, Oct 30TBDFoxPostseason.TV
Game 7*NL Champion at AL ChampionThu, Oct 31TBDFoxPostseason.TV
World Series
* If necessary

*** "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).