Last season, MLB announced the start times for the ALDS and NLDS Games 1 and 2 in the late afternoon on September 30, the day after the regular season ended. That means we can expect to learn sometime today when the Nats will take the field for their first two playoff games at Nats Park.
However, if you can’t wait, or MLB drops the ball and doesn’t make the announcement today, here’s our best projection.
On Friday, October 3, there are 4 MLB playoff games. The 4 playoff games will be hosted by the Nationals, Dodgers, Angels, and Orioles.
MLB will of course stagger the start times of the 4 games on October 3 to maximize viewership. Last season, the start times for the 4 LDS games played on the same day were 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, and 9:30pm EST. It seems unlikely the schedule would change this year.
This year, the Dodgers or Angels would be given the late slot since they are West Coast teams. If the Dodgers are given the late night slot, there’s no chance the Nationals game will be a night game, since MLB will not put both National League games in prime time (they didn’t last year). If the Angels are given the late night slot, the Nationals will also likely be bumped to the daytime, the Dodgers cannot be given a time slot before noon Pacific Standard Time (last year, the games alternated between American and National League games).
So, here are the likely schedules:
9:30 EST — Cardinals at Dodgers
6pm — Wild Card (Royals/A’s) at Angels
3pm — Wild Card (Giants/Pirates) at Nationals
12pm — Tigers at Orioles
9:30 EST — Wild Card (Royals/A’s) at Angels
6pm — Cardinals at Dodgers
3pm — Tigers at Orioles
12pm — Wild Card (Giants/Pirates) at Nationals
There are only two games, both National League games, scheduled for Saturday, October 4. Based on last year, they will likely be played at 5:30pm and 9pm EST. The Nationals will almost surely have the earlier game. The Dodgers playing on the West Coast are much more likely to have the later game, and the Dodgers/Cardinals matchup is far more likely to command a bigger prime time audience (particularly if the Pirates win the Wild Card game). If you observe Yom Kippur, your best case scenario is a noon game on Friday for Game 1. Yom Kippur ends around 6:30pm on Saturday, which means you should start getting in the Ben’s Chili Bowl line around the beginning of the third inning of Game 2.