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American League Division Series
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In Major League Baseball, the National League Division Series (NLDS) determine which two teams from the National League will advance to the National League Championship Series. The Division Series consist of two best-of-five series, featuring the three division winners and a wild-card team.

The Division Series was permanently created after the 1993 season when Major League Baseball restructured each league into three divisions, but their first regular playing was in 1995 due to the cancellation of the 1994 playoffs. Previously, because of a players' strike in 1981, a split-season format forced a divisional playoff series, in which the Montreal Expos won the Eastern Division series over the Philadelphia Phillies three games to two while the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Houston Astros three games to two in the Western Division. The team with the best overall record in the major leagues, the Cincinnati Reds, failed to win their division in either half of that season and were controversially excluded, as were the St. Louis Cardinals, who finished with the NL's second-best record.

Since 1998, the wild-card team has been assigned to play the division winner with the best winning percentage in one series, and the other two division winners meet in the other series. However, if the wild-card team and the division winner with the best record are from the same division, the wild-card team plays the division winner with the second-best record, and the remaining two division leaders play. In any event, the two series winners move on to the best-of-seven NLCS. The winner of the wild card has won the first round 7 out of the 11 years since the re-alignment and creation of the NLDS.

Since the NLDS' inception, the Atlanta Braves & Houston Astros and San Diego Padres & St. Louis Cardinals are the only teams to have met more than twice, with the Braves winning the series the first three times and the Astros winning next two. The Cardinals won all three series against the Padres. The Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1981 NLDS, the first year of the Division Series, remain the only NL team to lose the first 2 games and win the next 3 games, defeating the Houston Astros. The Dodgers went on to win the 1981 World Series against the New York Yankees.

There is currently no award for the Most Valuable Player of the Division Series.

NLDS results[]

Year Winner Loser Wins Losses
1981 Montreal Expos Philadelphia Phillies 3 2
Los Angeles Dodgers Houston Astros 3 2
1994 Not held due to player strike.
1995 Atlanta Braves Colorado Rockies 3 1
Cincinnati Reds Los Angeles Dodgers 3 0
1996 Atlanta Braves Los Angeles Dodgers 3 0
St. Louis Cardinals San Diego Padres 3 0
1997 Atlanta Braves Houston Astros 3 0
Florida Marlins San Francisco Giants 3 0
1998 Atlanta Braves Chicago Cubs 3 0
San Diego Padres Houston Astros 3 1
1999 Atlanta Braves Houston Astros 3 1
New York Mets Arizona Diamondbacks 3 1
2000 St. Louis Cardinals Atlanta Braves 3 0
New York Mets San Francisco Giants 3 1
2001 Atlanta Braves Houston Astros 3 0
Arizona Diamondbacks St. Louis Cardinals 3 2
2002 St. Louis Cardinals Arizona Diamondbacks 3 0
San Francisco Giants Atlanta Braves 3 2
2003 Chicago Cubs Atlanta Braves 3 2
Florida Marlins San Francisco Giants 3 1
2004 St. Louis Cardinals Los Angeles Dodgers 3 1
Houston Astros Atlanta Braves 3 2
2005 St. Louis Cardinals San Diego Padres 3 0
Houston Astros Atlanta Braves 3 1
2006 New York Mets Los Angeles Dodgers 3 0
St. Louis Cardinals San Diego Padres 3 1

† indicates wild card team

See also[]

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