The National League Division Series are set.
The Washington Nationals will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers after winning a dramatic wild-card game against the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3.
The St Louis Cardinals will battle the Atlanta Braves for a place in the Championship Series, and we have previewed both match-ups for you.
Will Dallas Keuchel be the key to the Braves taking the next step?
This is why the Braves went out and signed Keuchel in the middle of the season. The lefty got World Series experience with the Astros and made multiple appearances in the postseason with Houston. He gives the Braves a veteran for their rotation to send out in Game 1 of the NLDS and possibly for a second time in Game 4 or 5. But will he be what they need to advance to the next round? Or will he struggle as he did in his final few outings in the playoffs for Houston (4.43 ERA last four appearances)?
Can the Nationals hit consistently in their match-up with the Dodgers?
While Max Scherzer can catch some flak for lacklustre postseason performances with the Nationals, it has truly been the line-up that has let Washington down in the playoffs over the last few years. Since 2014, Washington have averaged 3.8 runs per game in the playoffs, scoring three runs or fewer in seven of their 15 games. The Dodgers have a solid pitching staff. Will the line-up do enough to support a rotation that will likely keep the Nationals in all of their games?
Players to watch
Jack Flaherty, SP, Cardinals
The 23-year-old righty might have been the best pitcher in MLB down the stretch in 2019. In the second half, Flaherty put up a 0.91 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in 99 1/3 innings. He will not get to start Game 1 on Thursday, but he will likely pitch Game 2 on Friday and will either have a chance to send the Cardinals back to St Louis tied 1-1 or up 2-0.
Kenley Jansen, CP, Dodgers
The Dodgers decided to stand pat at the deadline and did not go out and get either an additional closer in the market or at least a man who could step in and take over in case Jansen struggled. Los Angeles' closer posted a career-worst 3.71 ERA this year while blowing a career-high eight saves. This could easily be seen as an anomaly with hope that he will get over it in the playoffs, but in the last two years he has had some serious postseason breakdowns. He has posted a 3.55 ERA with four home runs allowed in nine appearances in the World Series over the last two years. Jansen struggled again during the regular season. The Nationals showed in the wild-card game they can get to good closers in the late innings. Will that factor into the series?
Braves over the Cardinals in five games
The Braves have an odd advantage in this one: the Cardinals haven't faced Keuchel or Max Fried yet this season. The one pitcher they will definitely face in the playoffs is Mike Soroka and he dominated them to a tune of a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings (two starts) this season. But the Cardinals have had success with their pitching as well, so this will come down to the two line-ups. The Braves' line-up is better. They tasted the postseason last year and their young hitters have more experience under their belt. That will be the difference.
Nationals over the Dodgers in five games
The Nationals' starting rotation looks to strong to think they will lose with the way they are set up. The Dodgers have to face Patrick Corbin in Game 1. He shut out Los Angeles over seven innings in his lone start against them this season and the Dodgers showed massive vulnerability in match-ups against lefties in the playoffs last year. They addressed that by playing Cody Bellinger every day but this year the Dodgers were not as good against lefties as they were righties. But beyond that Los Angeles will have to face Stephen Strasburg in Game 2 and he is an absolute beast in the postseason. The Dodgers could easily be down 2-0 going back to Washington. But the Nationals still have to hit in this series. That is the x-factor. If they do not the Dodgers will win. But it is undeniable how well the Nationals' pitching sets up for the NLDS against the Dodgers.
|Coronavirus: Tampa Bay Rays open Tropicana Field for limited workouts|
|Rangers would prefer to hold second spring training at new stadium|
|Coronavirus: Nationals to receive World Series rings in virtual ceremony|
|Coronavirus: Former Astros, Athletics manager Howe in ICU with COVID-19|
|With the DH likely coming to all of MLB, which NL hitters would benefit the most?|
|Cashman: Yankees star Judge set to return at full capacity|
|Coronavirus: Rays star pitcher Snell refuses to play unless he gets full salary|
|Coronavirus: Nationals reliever Doolittle concerned about starting MLB season|
|Coronavirus: MLB to bring restart proposal to players, report says|
|Coronavirus: Less than one per cent of MLB employees test positive for COVID-19 antibodies|
|Coronavirus: MLB reportedly shortens 2020 draft from 40 rounds to five|
|Coronavirus: Stars salute return of baseball in South Korea|
|Red Sox outfielder Verdugo says he´s physically 100 per cent|
|Coronavirus: Rays´ Snell wins ´MLB The Show´ Players League championship|
|Former Athletics and All-Star pitcher Keough dies aged 64|
|No fans for MLB games? It´s happened before|
|Astros´ Verlander makes significant progress following groin surgery|
|Coronavirus: Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony postponed until 2021|
|Orioles star Mancini not expecting to play in 2020 due to colon cancer|
|Red Sox docked draft pick, Cora suspended one year for sign stealing|
|NTSB: MLB Hall of Famer Roy Halladay had drugs in system, doing stunts when plane crashed|
|Coronavirus: Arizona governor says state willing to host all 30 MLB teams in empty ballparks|
|Former MLB manager Jim Frey dies at 88|
|Yankees general partner, co-chairperson Hank Steinbrenner dies aged 63|
|Former All-Star Glenn Beckert dies at 79|
|Reynolds announces retirement after 13 years in MLB|
|Yankees again top Forbes´ annual MLB valuations|
|Who will shine and who will struggle due to delayed MLB schedule?|
|Coronavirus: MLB insists nothing decided amid reports season will start in May|
|MLB Hall of Famer and Detroit Tigers legend Al Kaline dead at 85|
|Coronavirus: Astros pitcher Justin Verlander to donate weekly paycheques from MLB to charity|
|Cardinals´ Mikolas nearing return to mound|
|Coronavirus: Former MLB All-Star outfielder Jim Edmonds tested positive for COVID-19|
|Angels clear pitcher Griffin Canning to throw|
|Former White Sox pitcher Ed Farmer dies at 70|
|Coronavirus: Texas´ Choo giving $1,000 to all 191 Rangers minor leaguers|
|Coronavirus: MLB cancels Cubs-Cardinals London Series|
|Coronavirus: Orioles slugger Davis ´ready to roll right now´|
|Red Sox ace Sale undergoes Tommy John surgery|
|Coronavirus: Former All-Star outfielder Jim Edmonds tested for COVID-19|
|Coronavirus: MLB owners approve deal to grant players service time|
|MLB players reportedly agree to deal to keep service time|
|Rangers´ Calhoun cleared for workouts|
|White Sox option Michael Kopech to Triple A-Charlotte|
|Former Braves owner Bill Bartholomay dies at the age of 91|
|Heralded prospect McKay among Rays´ roster cuts|
|Coronavirus: MLB commissioner calls for optimism on postponed Opening Day|
|Coronavirus: Manfred says ´nothing´s off the table´ as MLB hopes to start road to comeback in May|
|Royals add Rosenthal to 40-man roster, DFA Skoglund|
|Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge still not cleared for baseball activities|
|Blue Jays GM proposes shortened doubleheaders to ease MLB schedule|
|Coronavirus: Red Sox complex shut down as minor leaguer tests positive for COVID-19|
|Coronavirus: Pirates players buy 400 pizzas for hospital staff|
|Stanton would be playing for Yankees if MLB wasn´t postponed – Boone|
|Retired MLB Gold Glove winner Ian Kinsler plans to play for Israel at Tokyo Olympics|
|Coronavirus: Seattle Mariners tell players to enter offseason mode|
|Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale could miss season due to elbow injury|
|Astros ace Verlander undergoes groin surgery|
|Coronavirus: Yankees stay in Florida with eyes on MLB World Series|
|Coronavirus: MLB delays opening day by at least two weeks|
|Coronavirus: Mariners aim to relocate opening home games of regular MLB season|
|Verlander in doubt for Astros´ MLB opener: It would take a miracle|
|Dodgers ace Kershaw named Opening Day starter|
|Yelich signs nine-year, $215m deal with Brewers|
|Yankees shut down Judge for two weeks due to rib fracture|
|Red Sox star Chris Sale avoids Tommy John surgery for now|
|Red Sox ace Sale sent for MRI due to elbow soreness|
|Red Sox ace Sale to start MLB season on IR|
|Severino´s season over before it starts as Yankees star undergoes Tommy John surgery|
|Yankees´ Stanton takes aim at Astros: I would´ve hit 80-plus homers if I knew pitches|