The Atlanta Braves will enjoy a week off before beginning the Division Series on Saturday, October 7 at Truist Park. They will host either the Philadelphia Phillies, who finished as the top wild card team, or the Miami Marlins whose late season surge propelled them to the second wild card spot.
The Los Angeles Dodgers finished as the No. 2 seed in the National League and will host the winner of the other wild card matchup featuring the Arizona Diamondbacks and the NL Central division winner the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Wild Card series are best-of-three contests and will begin on Tuesday, October 3 and continue through Thursday, October 5 if necessary. The Division Series is set to be Saturday, October 7.
Wild Card schedule
Tuesday, October 3
Game 1: Rangers vs. Rays, 3:08 p.m. ET (ABC)
Game 1: Blue Jays vs. Twins: 4:38 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Game 1: Diamondbacks vs. Brewers, 7:08 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Game 1: Marlins vs. Phillies, 8:08 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Wednesday, October 4
Game 2: Rangers vs. Rays, 3:08 p.m. ET (ABC)
Game 2: Blue Jays vs. Twins, 4:38 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Game 2: Diamondbacks vs. Brewers, 7:08 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Game 2: Marlins vs. Phillies, 8:08 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Thursday, October 5
Game 3*: Rangers vs. Rays, 3:08 p.m. ET (ABC)
Game 3*: Blue Jays vs. Twins, 4:38 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Game 3*: Diamondbacks vs. Brewers, 7:08 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Game 3*: Marlins vs. Phillies, 8:08 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The series that Braves fans will be paying attention to is of course the Marlins and the Phillies. Philadelphia finished the season at 90-72 and will be a heavy favorite over the Marlins, who were 84-77. Miami currently holds the worst run differential of any team in the postseason at -56. The Phillies outscored their competition by 81 runs.
Run differential isn’t everything though and the Marlins shouldn’t be overlooked. They won the season series with the Phillies 7-6 and were 33-13 in one-run games. They will be without Sandy Alcantara, who is out for the remainder of the season with an elbow injury, and Eury Pérez who is out at least through the Wild Card round. Despite the injuries, they went 17-9 in September to vault themselves to the second wild card.
The Phillies never really challenged the Braves for the NL East, but did enough to keep themselves above the battle royal for the final two spots. Philadelphia entered the postseason last season as a wild card team and ran all the way to the World Series. They went 16-13 over the final month of the season.
So who should Braves fans be pulling for? Miami is the easy answer. The Braves went 9-4 against the Marlins during the regular season and three of those losses came the weekend after Atlanta had clinched the division title. The Braves were 8-5 against the Phillies, but still have the specter of last season’s upset in the Division Series fresh in their mind.
Who will you be pulling for in the Wild Card series? Let us know in the comments below.