MLB playoffs 2018: Schedule, format, players to watch, TV channel info, how to watch online and more

The MLB playoffs conclude later this month when the 2018 champions will be crowned

James Crawley
Thursday 04 October 2018 11:25
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The MLB playoffs continue on Thursday night
The MLB playoffs continue on Thursday night

The MLB playoffs are underway with the two Wild Card games played and their victors joining the six divisional winners for the Division Series commencing tonight.

Here’s your guide to the 2018 MLB post-season – who's playing who, the players to watch, and how you can see it all unfold live.

The Format

The six division winners across the American and National Leagues qualify automatically, with Wild Card spots given to the four teams (two from each league) with the next best records. The Wild Card teams have faced off in a one-game playoff, determining who joins their league's three other teams in the Division Series.

The Division Series in each league consists of two best-of-five contests, with the winners of these advancing to the League Championship Series. The LCS are best-of-seven series to determine the pennant winners of the two leagues, who then meet in the World Series, starting October 23rd.

Oakland Athletics players celebrate clinching a spot in the playoffs after beating the Seattle Mariners

In all cases, the team with the best record from the regular season holds home field advantage, so the final game of the series – should it be necessary – is hosted in their ballpark.

The Schedule

(All times are US Eastern Standard Time, five hours behind BST)

Wild Card

Colorado Rockies 2-1 Chicago Cubs

Oakland A's 2-7 New York Yankees

NLDS

Game 1: Rockies @ Milwaukee Brewers, Oct 4, 17:05

Game 1: Atlanta Braves @ Los Angeles Dodgers, Oct 4, 20:35

Game 2: Rockies @ Brewers Oct 5, 16:15

Game 2: Braves @ Dodgers Oct 5, 21:35

Game 3: Brewers @ Rockies, Oct 7, 16:35

Game 3: Dodgers @ Braves, Oct 7, 20:05

Game 4: Brewers @ Rockies, Oct 8, TBD*

Game 4: Dodgers @ Braves, Oct 8, TBD*

Game 5: Rockies @ Brewers, Oct 10, TBD*

Game 5: Braves @ Dodgers, Oct 10, TBD*

ALDS

Game 1: Cleveland Indians @ Houston Astros, Oct 5, 14:05

Game 1: Yankees @ Boston Red Sox, Oct 5, 19:30

Game 2: Indians @ Astros, Oct 6, 16:37

Game 2: Yankees @ Red Sox, Oct 6, 20:15

Game 3: Red Sox @ Yankees, Oct 8, TBD

Game 3: Astros @ Indians, Oct 8, TBD

Game 4: Red Sox @ Yankees, Oct 9, TBD*

Game 4: Astros @ Indians, Oct 9, TBD*

Game 5: Yankees @ Red Sox, Oct 11, TBD*

Game 5: Indians @ Astros, Oct 11, TBD*

NLCS

Game 1: Oct 12, TBD

Game 2: Oct 13, TBD

Game 3: Oct 15, TBD

Game 4: Oct 16, TBD

Game 5: Oct 17, TBD*

Game 6: Oct 19, TBD*

Game 7: Oct 20, TBD*

ALCS

Game 1: Oct 13, TBD

Game 2: Oct 14, TBD

Game 3: Oct 16, TBD

Game 4: Oct 17, TBD

Game 5: Oct 18, TBD*

Game 6: Oct 20, TBD*

Game 7: Oct 21, TBD*

WS

Game 1: Oct 23, TBD

Game 2: Oct 24, TBD

Game 3: Oct 26, TBD

Game 4: Oct 27, TBD

Game 5: Oct 28, TBD*

Game 6: Oct 30, TBD*

Game 7: Oct 31, TBD*

*if necessary

Players to watch

Along with the array of pitchers whose teams will rely on to have productive Octobers, here are five everyday players you will want to keep an eye on:

Christian Yelich – the Brewers are in the post-season for the first time in seven years, thanks more than anything to an historic run of form from Yelich, who hit .488 in the last 13 games, leading his side from outside Wild Card punt to NL Central Champions.

Christian Yelich hit .488 in the last 13 games

Nolan Arenado – the Rockies’ star edged teammate Trevor Story in the race to be the National League’s home run king, mashing 38 of them to Story’s 37. Don’t be surprised if the Rockies-Brewers series turns heavily on which of Yelich and Arenado swing the bat better. Also take note of his premier defensive work at third base.

Mookie Betts – AL MVP-elect, Betts has become only the 40th player in the history of the game to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season. The Red Sox are appearing in the playoffs for the third consecutive season and will need to see Betts' patchy post-season numbers (.269 average and no home runs) take an upturn if they are going take a playoff run into the latter stages.

Alex Bregman – third baseman for the Astros, Bregman is building himself a reputation as the man for the big spot. He has hit .346 with runners in scoring position this season, added to his hoard of clutch hits in the 2017 playoffs, including a walk-off single in the 10th inning of Game 5 of the World Series against the Dodgers.

Aaron Judge – Judge may well be the most feared hitter in the game. He’s 6’7”, weighs 20 stone, and has been hitting homers at an historic pace in his two and a bit years in the majors. Judge has had a frustrating 2018, out of action for nearly a third of it nursing a wrist injury, but’s fit when the Yankees need him to be and homered in last night’s Wild Game win over the A’s.

But how can I watch it?

The post-season is covered on subscription TV channels around the world, in most cases on each of the regional arms of the Fox or ESPN families. In the UK, MLB games including the entire post-season, are available on BT Sport ESPN.

Fans can also subscribe to MLB.TV and enjoy all playoff games (subject to blackout restrictions) live on their computer, mobile device, games console or various digital media players including Apple TV and Amazon Fire. Post-season subscriptions to MLB.TV start at $24.99. Head to www.mlb.tv for more details.

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