MLB Playoff Bracket 2018: Dates, World Series Matchup, Picture and Schedule

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28:  The Boston Red Sox celebrate their 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five to win the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After six months and 162 regular-season games, the real action has begun with the 2018 MLB playoffs.

The American League bracket had been set for some time with three 100-win teams and two more dangerous squads all having their eyes on a World Series title. On the other hand, the National League playoffs remained a mess until the final day.

There are now just two teams remaining. The margin for error at this point is slim, likely creating plenty of drama until a World Series champion is crowned.

Here is what you need to know for the playoffs, with a bracket available at MLB.com.

                 

2018 MLB Playoff Schedule

Tiebreaker Games

Milwaukee Brewers defeat Chicago Cubs, 3-1

Los Angeles Dodgers defeat Colorado Rockies, 5-2

              

National League Wild Card Game

Colorado Rockies defeat Chicago Cubs, 2-1 (13 innings)

                

American League Wild Card Game

New York Yankees defeat Oakland A's, 7-2

               

National League Division Series (Milwaukee Brewers defeat Colorado Rockies 3-0)

Game 1: Milwaukee Brewers def. Colorado Rockies, 3-2 (10 innings)

Game 2: Milwaukee Brewers def. Colorado Rockies, 4-0

Game 3: Milwaukee Brewers def. Colorado Rockies, 6-0

               

National League Division Series (Los Angeles Dodgers defeat Atlanta Braves 3-1)

Game 1: Los Angeles Dodgers def. Atlanta Braves, 6-0

Game 2: Los Angeles Dodgers def. Atlanta Braves, 3-0

Game 3: Atlanta Braves def. Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-5

Game 4: Los Angeles Dodgers def. Atlanta Braves; 6-2

                

American League Division Series (Boston Red Sox defeat New York Yankees 3-1)

Game 1: Boston Red Sox def. New York Yankees, 5-4

Game 2: New York Yankees def. Boston Red Sox, 6-2

Game 3: Boston Red Sox def. New York Yankees 16-1

Game 4: Boston Red Sox def. New York Yankees, 4-3

                

American League Division Series (Houston Astros defeat Cleveland Indians 3-0)

Game 1: Houston Astros def. Cleveland Indians, 7-2

Game 2: Houston Astros def. Cleveland Indians, 3-1

Game 3: Houston Astros def. Cleveland Indians, 11-3

               

National League Championship Series (Los Angeles Dodgers defeat Milwaukee Brewers 4-3)

Game 1: Milwaukee Brewers def. Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-5

Game 2: Los Angeles Dodgers def. Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3

Game 3: Milwaukee Brewers def. Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-0

Game 4: Los Angeles Dodgers def. Milwaukee Brewers, 2-1 (13 innings) 

Game 5: Los Angeles Dodgers def. Milwaukee Brewers, 5-2

Game 6: Milwaukee Brewers def. Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-2

Game 7: Los Angeles Dodgers def. Milwaukee Brewers, 5-1

                

American League Championship Series (Boston Red Sox defeat Houston Astros 4-1)

Game 1: Houston Astros def. Boston Red Sox, 7-2

Game 2: Boston Red Sox def. Houston Astros, 7-5

Game 3: Boston Red Sox def. Houston Astros, 8-2

Game 4: Boston Red Sox def. Houston Astros, 8-6

Game 5: Boston Red Sox def. Houston Astros, 4-1

           

World Series (Boston Red Sox defeat Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1)

Game 1: Boston Red Sox def. Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-4

Game 2: Boston Red Sox def. Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2

Game 3: Los Angeles Dodgers def. Boston Red Sox, 3-2 (18 innings)

Game 4: Boston Red Sox def. Los Angeles Dodgers, 9-6

Game 5: Boston Red Sox def. Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-1

Full schedule available at MLB.com.

                       

Top Storylines      

The Brewers Finally Lost

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 07:  Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers at bat in the third inning of Game Three of the National League Division Series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 7, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin E
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Sometimes, playoff success simply comes down to being hot at the right time, and that was perfectly fine for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The squad had seven straight wins to match the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central and then followed it up with a win in Game 163 to avoid the Wild Card game. While the division rivals were eliminated in the sudden-death game, Milwaukee went onto sweep the Colorado Rockies.

The 11 straight wins put them in rare territory in MLB history:

The winning streak grew to 12 games with Milwaukee's victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers to open the NLCS.

Alas, the Dodgers finally ended the win streak in Game 2 of the NLCS, when Justin Turner's two-run homer in the eighth inning gave them a 4-3 win.

But the Brewers remained one of the best stories in baseball. Christian Yelich was the big star as the likely MVP in the National League, but there were other players who helped put the games in the hands of the bullpen. This is where the real strength of the team was as Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, Jeremy Jeffress and others can shorten any game. 

While the Dodgers eliminated them, the Brewers were amazing since late September, even if their win streak finally came to a close. Ultimately, the Brewers just couldn't regain their momentum in time to save their season.

             

Can the Red Sox Avoid a Final Let Down?

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 8: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox runs toward third base during the fourth inning of game three of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees on October 8, 2018 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

There is something special about a playoff series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. While the first round was mostly filled with one-sided matchups, the AL East rivals at least held our attention due to the tension in every game.

Just like during the regular season, Boston was the better team in the ALDS, winning the series in four games and earning bragging rights for the next five months.

The problem is this was just the start of the postseason for the Red Sox.

This team won 108 games this year so it is obviously talented, but the players are relatively inexperienced when it comes to playoff success. Most of the roster had never won a playoff series before this year, so winning one over a hated rival is certain to create a lot of excitement.

Rookie manager Alex Cora responded, though, and rallied his team for a five-game victory over a very good Astros team.

There are still lingering questions about top starters Chris Sale and David Price in the playoffs, so this is no time for Boston to relax. Sale was hospitalized for a stomach illness, and Price has struggled in the postseason throughout his career even though he allowed just three hits and zero runs in the closeout game against Houston.

Boston was baseball's best team during the regular season. But the Dodgers represent a monumental challenge for the Sox in the World Series. 

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