After a chaotic, 162-game regular season, it’s officially time for October baseball.
Between the atmosphere in the crowd and the strategy that goes into the play on the field, there isn’t much that can match the environment that playoff baseball creates.
Add in the return of fans in ballparks around the United States after a unique situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and this could be the most highly-anticipated MLB postseason in recent memory.
With so much excitement and so much talent across the board, it’s fitting that the 2021 playoff race would come down to game 162 for many of the teams who made it to the postseason bracket.
The San Francisco Giants completed a shocker of a season in their final regular season game, beating the San Diego Padres for their 107th win to clinch the NL West.
Meanwhile, the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers were relegated to a National League Wild Card game against the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals.
Elsewhere, the American League Wild Card race couldn’t have been any closer. With the potential for a four-team tie for the two AL Wild Card spots, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees took care of business in their respective regular-season finales.
As a result, one of baseball’s great rivalries will take center stage at Fenway Park to open up the 2021 MLB playoffs on Tuesday, October 5.
Two Divisional Series matchups are already set in stone, with the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox set to square off in the American League Division Series, and the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves preparing for battle in the National League Division Series.
Time will tell who the top-seeded Giants and Tampa Bay Rays will have for opponents in their respective NLDS and ALDS matchups. But, one thing is certain: no team seems safe as the postseason gets underway.
>>FROM MARCH: 2021 MLB season: Preseason power rankings
To prepare you for the madness that’s about to occur throughout the month of October, here’s the full schedule for the Wild Card games, the ALDS, and the NLDS:
AL Wild Card:
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
- When: Tuesday, October 5 at 8:08 p.m. ET
- How to watch: ESPN
NL Wild Card:
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
- When: Wednesday, October 6 at 8:10 p.m. ET
- How to watch: TBS
Tampa Bay Rays (1) vs. Boston Red Sox (4)
- Game 1: Thursday, October 7 at 8:07 p.m. ET
- Game 2: Friday, October 8 at 7:02 p.m. ET
- Game 3: Sunday, October 10 at 4:07 p.m. ET
- Game 4: Monday, October 11 at 7:07 p.m. ET
Houston Astros (2) vs. Chicago White Sox (3)
- Game 1: Thursday, October 7 at 4:07 p.m. ET
- Game 2: Friday, October 8 at 2:07 p.m. ET
- Game 3: Sunday, October 10 at 8:07 p.m. ET
- Game 4: Tuesday, October 12 at 2:07 p.m. ET
San Francisco Giants (1) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (4)
- Game 1: Friday, October 8 at 9:37 p.m. ET
- Game 2: Saturday, October 9 at 9:07 p.m. ET
- Game 3: Monday, October 11 at 9:37 p.m. ET
- Game 4: Tuesday, October 12 at 9:07 p.m. ET
- Game 5: Thursday, October 14 at 9:07 p.m. ET
Milwaukee Brewers (2) vs. Atlanta Braves (3)
- Game 1: Friday, October 8 at 4:37 p.m. ET
- Game 2: Saturday, October 9 at 5:07 p.m. ET
- Game 3: Monday, October 11 at 1:07 p.m. ET
- Game 4: Tuesday, October 12 at 5:07 p.m. ET