The MLB playoffs have finally arrived after the annual 162-game gauntlet. Four of the 10 teams are in danger of only playing a 163rd game, with MLB’s expanded playoffs allowing for a high-stakes, one-game wild-card round.

For those that wish to clear their social schedule in October—and part of November—and devote their attention to America’s pastime, knowing the full playoff schedule in advance can be a huge benefit.

Here is a look at the complete playoff schedule, including information on television coverage and live streaming availability.

Live Stream Note: All games can be found online at MLB.TV for paid subscribers.



National League

The San Francisco Giants will play the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game. The winner of the one-game extravaganza, to be played Wednesday, October 1 at PNC Park, will go on to face the Washington Nationals.

Edinson Volquez has enjoyed a career revival on the banks of the Allegheny River and will take the mound against Madison Bumgarner, the undisputed ace of the Giants pitching staff.

It should be an excellent duel between pitchers. Volquez is on fire, posting a 1.08 ERA in the month of September. Bumgarner is actually a better pitcher away from San Francisco, posting a 2.22 ERA on the road and a .979 WHIP.

The Pirates indelible outfield trio of Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Josh Harrison should power them past their Bay Area foes.

Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes McCutchen, who hit 25 home runs, stole 18 bases and played Gold Glove-caliber defense, is deserving of his second consecutive NL MVP award. Cook specifically cited his ability to perform when not at full strength:

The most extraordinary part of McCutchen’s season is he hasn’t been healthy since his serious rib injury in early August. It seemed as if the season might be finished when he tore rib cartilage Aug. 3 in Arizona. McCutchen ended up on the 15-day disabled list but came off it the first day he was eligible and has been going hard since. Talk about leading by example. Talking about giving everything to the team. The injury would have finished most players for the season.

Trips to the nation’s capital won’t be pleasant for the victor, as the Nats have been one of the most consistent teams in the league this season. 

They got rare power production from the shortstop position in 2014. Ian Desmond busted through for 24 home runs and 91 RBI while playing at one of baseball’s toughest positions. First baseman Adam LaRoche had a fine year, as did Jayson Werth.

If Bryce Harper can flash some of the form that made him a tantalizing prospect at 19 years of age, the Nats will be a favorite to win it all. One way he’s looking to contribute may be on the basepaths, per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:

I talked to Jayson about some things on the bases and cleared my head up and really got pretty comfortable out there. It’s a lot better right now. I’m happy about it because we’re going to the postseason and I’m going to need to steal some bags and get that extra bag when I need to. I give a lot to Jayson for that.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will look to exact revenge against the St. Louis Cardinals, who bested the Boys in Blue in last year’s National League Championship Series. 

The Dodgers should have the edge in this one thanks to their starting pitching, so long as Hyun-jin Ryu is able to pitch to the best of his abilities. Ryu went 14-7 with a 3.38 ERA and is recovering from a sore shoulder. He made progress in a recent bullpen session.

“Everything worked pretty well,” Ryu said through an interpreter, per’s Mark Saxon. “It was a very positive result.” 

Combining the Korean star with Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher on the planet, and former Cy Young Award-winner Zack Greinke gives the Dodgers a comfortable cushion of talent that should suppress runs and allow the likes of Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to put them over the top on offense. 

The Cardinals have a potent pitcher in Adam Wainwright to neutralize the Dodgers’ pitching threats. If he gets the nod opposite Kershaw, that contest could very well become a baseball staring contest—whichever pitcher blinks first, loses.


American League

One American League Division Series matchup is already set in stone, with the Detroit Tigers taking on the Baltimore Orioles.

The Tigers bested the Orioles in five out of their six regular-season meetings. The Motor City squad boasts one of the best one-two pitching combinations in the league in David Price and Max Scherzer. The Orioles will need to steal at least one of these games to have a chance in this one.

Luckily, Baltimore has plenty of power scattered throughout its lineup. Center fielder Adam Jones cranked out 29 home runs, and utility man Steve Pearce clubbed 21 dingers of his own.

But no Oriole struck more fear into opposing pitchers than Nelson Cruz, who racked up 40 home runs and 108 RBI on the season. His power will be key to the team’s success, especially with powerful first baseman Chris Davis out for at least the first eight games of the playoffs with a drug suspension, per Michael Kolligian of The Baltimore Sun.

The Los Angeles Angels will take on the winner of the Kansas City Royals-Oakland Athletics wild-card matchup.

It’s been a long, slow spiral into mediocrity for the A’s, who boasted one of the better run differentials in baseball history in the first half of the season and picked up a bevy of starting pitchers—Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel—only to squander the talent and limp into the playoffs.

Still, if they can find a way to recapture their early-season magic, they have as good a chance as anyone to make it all the way to the World Series.

The Royals haven’t been to the playoffs in 29 years and will be plenty motivated to ensure that it isn’t just a brief postseason sojourn. All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon is happy to give fans something to cheer about after all these years and is excited to see the atmosphere at Kauffman Stadium.

“It will be nuts, absolutely nuts,” said Gordon, per USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale. “People have been waiting a long time for this day. Now, we’re giving them something to cheer about. Hopefully, this is just the beginning.”

The excitement for the team spilled over into football when the Kansas City Chiefs played the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football, per NFL on ESPN:

Gordon deserves a great deal of credit for the Royals’ resurgence after posting 19 home runs, 74 RBI and 34 doubles on the year.

The Angels finished with baseball’s best regular-season record at 98-64 and are likely favorites to win it all this year. Mike Trout put up an MVP-caliber season, notching 36 home runs, 111 RBI and a .939 OPS while playing killer defense.

They could also see a big boost from two injured players before the series. Pitcher Matt Shoemaker and outfielder Josh Hamilton are making progress in their respective recoveries, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times:

Matt Shoemaker said he “felt great” after a bullpen workout of 30-40 pitches on Sunday, the strongest indication yet that the Angels’ right-hander, who is recovering from a mild left rib-cage strain, will pitch in the American League division series.

And left fielder Josh Hamilton took a positive step toward returning from right rib-cage and chest injuries, swinging off a tee, hitting soft toss, throwing, running and tracking pitches from the batter’s box during Shoemaker’s bullpen session.

If these impact players can make a timely return to this Angels squad, they could very well set up a highly anticipated Freeway Series against the Dodgers—or defeat any team the NL dares to throw at them.


All stats courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on