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2023 MLB Postseason: ALDS and NLDS Preview

Ronald Acuña Jr. and the Braves begin their 2023 postseason this weekend in the NLDS against Phillies - Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports


Major League Baseball’s postseason welcomed us with a ton of October moments throughout the first stage of the playoffs, as each Wild Card winning team completed a two-game sweep to keep their World Series championship hopes and aspirations alive. 

Now, as we head into the weekend with eight teams left standing, four in each league — MLB’s Division Series is upon us. The American and National League Division Series is a best-of-five series played with each team hosting two home games (if necessary for a Game 4), while a potential Game 5 scenario consists of the higher seed hosting a win-or-go-home game… October Mayhem! 

Here is an ALDS and NLDS Preview for each respective matchup along with TV/Radio Broadcast Information

Image Credit: MLB

American League Division Series 

No. 5 Texas Rangers vs. No. 1 Baltimore Orioles

Head-To-Head in 2023 Regular Season: 3-3 in six games

TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 1/FOX/FOX Deportes, ESPN Radio, Univision Radio

In the franchise’s first trip to the postseason since 2016, Adolis García and the Texas Rangers steamrolled their way to the ALDS by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card Series. Throughout the pair of victories, the Rangers scored 11 runs on 21 hits, and surrendered one run with 18 strikeouts, while playing prolific, lockdown defense. A winning recipe when it comes to October baseball, and one that veteran-manager Bruce Bochy knows all about. 

“We couldn’t have played two better games than what we did here,” the three-time World Series champion manager and former MLB catcher Bochy said shortly after the Rangers Game 2 Wild Card win at Tropicana Field. “I couldn’t be prouder for these guys right now.” 

“We pitched unbelievable, and the bats came alive. Played great defense. Played the whole game — these guys looked so determined.” 

Potential Rangers ALDS Hero: Leody Taveras 

A versatile 25-year-old switch-hitter, who has the potential of winning a Gold Glove one day. In 140 games played in center field during the regular season, Taveras committed one error with five assists. At-the-plate, in his last 30 games, he has posted a .289 batting average with a .358 on-base-percentage. Recorded three hits and two stolen bases in the American League Wild Card Series against Tampa Bay. 

The Baltimore Orioles (101-61), who completed their first 100+ win regular season since 1979, are appearing in the franchise’s first postseason since 2016, and look to advance to their first ALCS since 2014. Yes, a lot to unfold there as the O’s contain a plethora of young and upcoming players ranging from the ages of 20-26 years-old. To go further on the new-looking O’s, just two years ago, Baltimore finished the 2021 season on a 52-110 overall record — making for a complete, and unimaginable turn-around in the matter of 24 months with manager Brandon Hyde at the helm… 

The Orioles had eight players this year, each record 60 or more RBI — Anthony Santander (95), Gunnar Henderson (82), Adley Rutschman (80), Cedric Mullins (74), Ryan Mountcastle (68), Austin Hays (67), Adam Frazier (60), and Ryan O’Hearn (60). Consider their production at-the-plate, an ‘assembly line,’ of passing the baton to one-another in an attempt to keep the rally alive. 

With that said, the O’s pitching staff took a major hit in the last month of the season due to Félix Bautista, their flame throwing closer, suffering a UCL strain. Since then, the starting rotation and bullpen has held up, however; the postseason is a completely different animal. 

Potential Orioles ALDS Hero: Jorge Mateo 

Adds an unpredictable clutch factor for O’s — recorded 69 hits and 32 stolen bases in 2023 while performing at an elite rate on defense. For his career against Texas (14 games), the 28-year-old Mateo is slashing .263/.333/.605 with four HR and 11 RBI. Dating back to 2021, he has stolen 77 bases. 

American League Division Series 

No. 3 Minnesota Twins vs. No. 2 Houston Astros

Head-To-Head in 2023 Regular Season: Twins won four out of six games

TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 1/FOX/FOX Deportes, ESPN Radio, Univision Radio

The Minnesota Twins snapped a postseason losing streak of 19-straight games with their Game 1 American League Wild Card win over the Toronto Blue Jays, and marked the franchise’s first playoff series victory since 2002 in Game 2. Over two decades in the making for the Twin Cities! 

“It’s one of the best feelings in the world because we work our whole lives to get to moments like this,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said after the Twins Wild Card Series win this week. “Just to have a chance. And we took advantage of our chance.”

Throughout the course of their two-games in the AL Wild Card, Minnesota compiled five runs on 12 hits and allowed one run while fanning 19 Blue Jays batters. 

Potential Twins ALDS Hero: Carlos Correa

As previously mentioned in Latino Sports’ MLB Wild Card Preview, Correa is the face of Minnesota’s franchise and has a feel for the clutch moments in October. An example being his stellar plays and excellent execution on offense during the Wild Card Series. Don’t be surprised if the Puerto Rican superstar pulls off the heroics in the ALDS vs. his former team, the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. In his postseason career, the 29-year-old has hit 18 home runs and recorded 60 RBI, the sixth-most RBI in MLB playoff history. 

Minnesota’s Wild Card Hero: Carlos Correa – Image Credit: Minnesota Twins/MLB

“Everything is October,” Correa revealed. “The mentality is different. I’m just giving everything out there, everything I have. I’m going to keep doing that for the rest of the time that I’m here in Minnesota.”

About facing Houston, Correa said: “Obviously they’ve got a great team and so do we. We’re going out there with the mentality that we can compete against anybody.”

The Houston Astros (90-72), are set to appear in their seventh consecutive postseason dating back to 2017 — the only other franchises in MLB history to achieve a playoff streak of seven or more consecutive trips are the 1991-2005 Atlanta Braves (14), 1995-2007 NY Yankees (13), 2013-2023 LA Dodgers (active with 11) and 2017-2023 Astros (active with seven). Additionally, the Astros are seeking their seventh-consecutive ALCS appearance. Complete and utter postseason dominance in H-Town! 

Yordan Álvarez (2022 AL LatinoMVP), José Altuve (2017 AL LatinoMVP) and Jeremy Peña (finalist for 2022 AL LatinoMVP Rookie award) – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Their American League ranks for 2023 in offensive categories goes as follows: third in batting average (.259), third in on base percentage (.331), third in slugging percentage (.437), and second in hits (1,441). On-the-mound, Houston is projected to go with an ALDS starting rotation of RHP Justin Verlander for Game 1, LHP Framber Valdez in Game 2, and RHP Cristian Javier for Game 3 (most likely) — the same trio, who led the Astros pitching staff in capturing the 2022 World Series title. 

Cristian Javier, finalist for 2022 AL LatinoMVP Starting Pitcher award – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“I can’t bag on him too much,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said about Correa leading up to the ALDS matchup. “He’s one of mine, and my wife’s favorite players and a lot of people’s favorite players around here. We’re not playing Carlos, we’re playing the Twins. But, people are there to see Carlos.”

Potential Astros ALDS Hero: Jeremy Peña 

The 2022 ALCS and 2022 World Series MVP. Posting a .345 batting average, and .367 on base percentage with four HR, and eight RBI in 13 career-playoff games. A 26-year-old shortstop, who provides even more for Houston compared to a year ago with a ton of postseason experience built up. 

National League Division Series

No. 4 Philadelphia Phillies vs. No. 1 Atlanta Braves

Head-To-Head in 2023 Regular Season: Braves won eight out of 13 games

TV Broadcast: TBS, ESPN Radio, Univision Radio

Additional Note: Philadelphia eliminated Atlanta in 2022 NLDS (3-1)

The reigning National League champion Philadelphia Phillies, cruised their way past the Miami Marlins in the NL Wild Card Series, by totaling 11 runs across 18 hits, and allowing two runs with 16 strikeouts. So now, the crash course we have all been waiting for awaits: Phillies vs. Braves, two bitter NL East division rivals facing off with a trip to the NLCS on the line in back-to-back years… 

Bryce Harper and Phillies head to Atlanta for NLDS matchup with Braves – Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports

“The one thing the Braves did is they played consistent baseball all year long,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said about the upcoming NLDS matchup against Atlanta. “I mean, from day one, they really didn’t go into any large losing streak that I know of, and we struggled getting out of the gate, so it’s something we’ve got to work on in Spring Training.”

“But I think we’re playing very good baseball right now, and I think it’s going to be a really good series.”

Potential Phillies NLDS Hero: Cristian Pache

Similar to his rookie teammate Johan Rojas, Pache adds a young flare and energy spark to a Phillies clubhouse front loaded by sluggers with his speed and defensive awareness. Additionally, in a bunting situation, the 24-year-old could lay one down as he has successfully converted on six sac-bunts throughout his four-year career. 

The best team in all of baseball this season by a wide-margin statistically and by overall record, the Atlanta Braves (104-58), who are appearing in their sixth consecutive postseason dating back to 2018 (all under manager Brian Snitker), and ninth for the franchise since the start of 2010. 

Atlanta stands out as an absolute buzzsaw on all phases of the game, especially in the batter’s box with five Braves players recording 33 or more home runs this season — Matt Olson (54), Ronald Acuña Jr. (41), Marcell Ozuna (40), Austin Riley (37), Ozzie Albies (33). 

Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna in Braves Dugout – Image Credit: Simon Lindenblatt/Latino Sports

As it goes for pitching probables based on NLDS scheduling, the Braves are projected to start LHP Max Fried and RHP Spencer Strider in four out of the potential five games if necessary. Fried and Strider combined for 361 strikeouts this year to go along with 28 victories in 44 outings. Their partner in the starting rotation RHP Charlie Morton, will miss the NLDS due to a finger injury suffered in late September. 

Potential Braves NLDS Hero: Ronald Acuña Jr. 

The first and only member in MLB history we may ever see in the 40-70 club (40 home runs and 70 stolen bases in a given season). The 25-year-old has played in 25 career postseason games, and posted the following numbers: .274/.378/.484 slash line with three HR, nine RBI, and three stolen bases. To zone in on the NLDS matchup, Acuña Jr. has a .315 career batting average with 17 HR and 54 RBI against the Phillies throughout his six-year career. 

National League Division Series

No. 6 Arizona Diamondbacks vs. No. 2 Los Angeles Dodgers 

Head-To-Head in 2023 Regular Season: Dodgers won eight out of 13 games

TV Broadcast: TBS, ESPN Radio, Univision Radio

By pulling off an upset in the National League Wild Card Series over the Milwaukee Brewers, the Arizona Diamondbacks have ‘slithered’ their way into the NLDS, and are now three wins from the franchise’s first NLCS appearance since 2007. Though, the only obstacle in the D-Backs’ path is their NL West division foe LA Dodgers as the two are set to clash in the NLDS.

“We know the Dodgers very well, and it’s going to be a great challenge, but I know this team is connected, and I feel like this team is very dangerous when they are connected,” D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo said. 

“I believe in them. They believe in themselves, which is the most important thing. So we’re going to take it one game at a time.” 

Speaking of believing, Arizona’s confidence and belief in one another stood out during their gritty NL Wild Card performance, as they jawed together 11 runs on 15 hits and surrendered five runs while striking out 19 Brewers hitters. Perhaps, a momentum shift for Arizona prior to even landing in Los Angeles for Game 1? 

Potential Diamondbacks NLDS Hero: Ketel Marte 

An instant spark plug, and clutch talent, who delivered on multiple occasions in the NL Wild Card Series by producing a game-tying hit in each game (solo HR in Game 1, and a single to drive in two runs during Game 2). The 29-year-old second baseman is batting .360 in his postseason career through five games. Against the Dodgers in 91 career games, Marte has seven HR with 33 RBI, and a .278 batting average. 

On the other side, the Los Angeles Dodgers (100-62), who achieved their fourth straight year of 100 or more wins in a full regular season starting in 2019 — during the pandemic-shortened season, LA went 43-17 and won the 2020 World Series championship. So, if you put it all together, the Dodgers are accustomed to October baseball with manager Dave Roberts leading the charge. 

Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts and Miguel Rojas – Image Credit: Simon Lindenblatt/Latino Sports

At-the-plate throughout 2023, the Dodgers materialized into a ‘four-headed monster,’ of Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and J.D. Martinez — with the group compiling a grand total of 137 HR, and 417 RBI. And within their lineup, LA had seven players each cultivate at least 102 or more hits, which shows they are not solely dependent and reliant on the ‘four-headed monster.’ 

On-the-bump, the Dodgers plan to go with LHP Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 and RHP Bobby Miller for Game 2. 

Kiké Hernández – Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports

Potential Dodgers NLDS Hero: Kiké Hernández 

Contains clutch-gene for October moments. 2020 World Series champion with Dodgers. Has appeared in 69 postseason games throughout his career with the following numbers: .269 batting average, .351 on base percentage, 13 HR, and 27 RBI. In his last seven games, Hernández is hitting .333 with five RBI.

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and editor of Latino Sports – Email:

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