The National League Championship Series (NLCS) is a best-of-seven series played in October in the Major League Baseball postseason that determines the winner of the National League (NL) pennant. The winner of the series advances to play the winner of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in the World Series, Major League Baseball's championship series.
Prior to 1969, the National League champion (the "pennant winner") was determined by the best win-loss record at the end of the regular season. There were four ad hoc three-game playoff series due to ties under this formulation (in 1946, 1951, 1959, and 1962). (The American League had to resolve a tie in 1948, but used a single-game playoff.)
A structured postseason series began in 1969, when both the National and American Leagues were reorganized into two divisions each, East and West. The two division winners within each league played each other in a best-of-five series to determine who would advance to the World Series. In 1985, the format changed to best-of-seven.
The NLCS and ALCS, since the expansion to seven games, are always played in a 2–3–2 format: games 1, 2, 6, and 7 are played in the stadium of the team that has home field advantage, and games 3, 4, and 5 are played in the stadium of the team that does not. Home field advantage is given to the team that has the better record, with the exception that the team that made the postseason as the Wild Card cannot get home field advantage. From 1969 to 1993, home field advantage was alternated between divisions each year regardless of regular season record and from 1995 to 1997 home field advantage was predetermined before the season.
In 1994, the league was restructured into three divisions, with the three division winners and a wild-card team advancing to a best-of-five postseason round, the National League Division Series (NLDS). The winners of that round advance to the best-of-seven NLCS.
The Milwaukee Brewers, an American League team between 1969 and 1997, and the Houston Astros, a National League team between 1962 and 2012, are the only franchises to play in both the ALCS and NLCS. The Astros are the only team to have won both an NLCS (2005) and an ALCS (2017). The Astros made four NLCS appearances before moving to the AL in 2013. Every current National League franchise has appeared in the NLCS.
A Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the outstanding player in each series, though voters can consider performances made during the divisional series. The MVP award has been given to a player on the losing team twice, in 1986 to Mike Scott of the Houston Astros and in 1987 to Jeff Leonard of the San Francisco Giants.
Although the National League began its LCS MVP award in 1977, the American League did not begin its LCS MVP award until 1980.
|wc||Denotes wild-card team (since 1995)|
|*||Denotes MVP did not play for winning team|
|1969||New York Mets||Gil Hodges||Atlanta Braves||Lum Harris||3–0||NBC|
|1970||Cincinnati Reds||Sparky Anderson||Pittsburgh Pirates||Danny Murtaugh||3–0||NBC|
|1971||Pittsburgh Pirates||Danny Murtaugh||San Francisco Giants||Charlie Fox||3–1||NBC|
|1972||Cincinnati Reds||Sparky Anderson||Pittsburgh Pirates||Bill Virdon||3–2||NBC|
|1973||New York Mets||Yogi Berra||Cincinnati Reds||Sparky Anderson||3–2||NBC|
|1974||Los Angeles Dodgers||Walter Alston||Pittsburgh Pirates||Danny Murtaugh||3–1||NBC|
|1975||Cincinnati Reds||Sparky Anderson||Pittsburgh Pirates||Danny Murtaugh||3–0||NBC|
|1976||Cincinnati Reds||Sparky Anderson||Philadelphia Phillies||Danny Ozark||3–0||ABC|
|1977||Los Angeles Dodgers||Tommy Lasorda||Philadelphia Phillies||Danny Ozark||3–1||Dusty Baker, Los Angeles||NBC|
|1978||Los Angeles Dodgers||Tommy Lasorda||Philadelphia Phillies||Danny Ozark||3–1||Steve Garvey, Los Angeles||ABC|
|1979||Pittsburgh Pirates||Chuck Tanner||Cincinnati Reds||John McNamara||3–0||Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh||NBC|
|1980||Philadelphia Phillies||Dallas Green||Houston Astros||Bill Virdon||3–2||Manny Trillo, Philadelphia||ABC|
|1981||Los Angeles Dodgers||Tommy Lasorda||Montreal Expos||Jim Fanning||3–2||Burt Hooton, Los Angeles||NBC|
|1982||St. Louis Cardinals||Whitey Herzog||Atlanta Braves||Joe Torre||3–0||Darrell Porter, St. Louis||ABC|
|1983||Philadelphia Phillies||Paul Owens||Los Angeles Dodgers||Tommy Lasorda||3–1||Gary Matthews, Philadelphia||NBC|
|1984||San Diego Padres||Dick Williams||Chicago Cubs||Jim Frey||3–2||Steve Garvey, San Diego||ABC|
|1985||St. Louis Cardinals||Whitey Herzog||Los Angeles Dodgers||Tommy Lasorda||4–2||Ozzie Smith, St. Louis||NBC|
|1986||New York Mets||Davey Johnson||Houston Astros||Hal Lanier||4–2||Mike Scott, Houston*||ABC|
|1987||St. Louis Cardinals||Whitey Herzog||San Francisco Giants||Roger Craig||4–3||Jeffrey Leonard, San Francisco*||NBC|
|1988||Los Angeles Dodgers||Tommy Lasorda||New York Mets||Davey Johnson||4–3||Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles||ABC|
|1989||San Francisco Giants||Roger Craig||Chicago Cubs||Don Zimmer||4–1||Will Clark, San Francisco||NBC|
|1990||Cincinnati Reds||Lou Piniella||Pittsburgh Pirates||Jim Leyland||4–2||Rob Dibble and Randy Myers, Cincinnati||CBS|
|1991||Atlanta Braves||Bobby Cox||Pittsburgh Pirates||Jim Leyland||4–3||Steve Avery, Atlanta||CBS|
|1992||Atlanta Braves||Bobby Cox||Pittsburgh Pirates||Jim Leyland||4–3||John Smoltz, Atlanta||CBS|
|1993||Philadelphia Phillies||Jim Fregosi||Atlanta Braves||Bobby Cox||4–2||Curt Schilling, Philadelphia||CBS|
|1995||Atlanta Braves||Bobby Cox||Cincinnati Reds||Davey Johnson||4–0||Mike Devereaux, Atlanta||ABC/NBC|
|1996||Atlanta Braves||Bobby Cox||St. Louis Cardinals||Tony La Russa||4–3||Javy López, Atlanta||Fox|
|1997||Florida Marlins wc||Jim Leyland||Atlanta Braves||Bobby Cox||4–2||Liván Hernández, Florida||NBC|
|1998||San Diego Padres||Bruce Bochy||Atlanta Braves||Bobby Cox||4–2||Sterling Hitchcock, San Diego||Fox|
|1999||Atlanta Braves||Bobby Cox||New York Mets wc||Bobby Valentine||4–2||Eddie Pérez, Atlanta||NBC|
|2000||New York Mets wc||Bobby Valentine||St. Louis Cardinals||Tony La Russa||4–1||Mike Hampton, New York||Fox|
|2001||Arizona Diamondbacks||Bob Brenly||Atlanta Braves||Bobby Cox||4–1||Craig Counsell, Arizona||Fox|
|2002||San Francisco Giants wc||Dusty Baker||St. Louis Cardinals||Tony La Russa||4–1||Benito Santiago, San Francisco||Fox|
|2003||Florida Marlins wc||Jack McKeon||Chicago Cubs||Dusty Baker||4–3||Iván Rodríguez, Florida||Fox|
|2004||St. Louis Cardinals||Tony La Russa||Houston Astros wc||Phil Garner||4–3||Albert Pujols, St. Louis||Fox|
|2005||Houston Astros wc||Phil Garner||St. Louis Cardinals||Tony La Russa||4–2||Roy Oswalt, Houston||Fox|
|2006||St. Louis Cardinals||Tony La Russa||New York Mets||Willie Randolph||4–3||Jeff Suppan, St. Louis||Fox|
|2007||Colorado Rockies wc||Clint Hurdle||Arizona Diamondbacks||Bob Melvin||4–0||Matt Holliday, Colorado||TBS|
|2008||Philadelphia Phillies||Charlie Manuel||Los Angeles Dodgers||Joe Torre||4–1||Cole Hamels, Philadelphia||Fox|
|2009||Philadelphia Phillies||Charlie Manuel||Los Angeles Dodgers||Joe Torre||4–1||Ryan Howard, Philadelphia||TBS|
|2010||San Francisco Giants||Bruce Bochy||Philadelphia Phillies||Charlie Manuel||4–2||Cody Ross, San Francisco||Fox|
|2011||St. Louis Cardinals wc||Tony La Russa||Milwaukee Brewers||Ron Roenicke||4–2||David Freese, St. Louis||TBS|
|2012||San Francisco Giants||Bruce Bochy||St. Louis Cardinals wc||Mike Matheny||4–3||Marco Scutaro, San Francisco||Fox|
|2013||St. Louis Cardinals||Mike Matheny||Los Angeles Dodgers||Don Mattingly||4–2||Michael Wacha, St. Louis||TBS|
|2014||San Francisco Giantswc||Bruce Bochy||St. Louis Cardinals||Mike Matheny||4–1||Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco||Fox/FS1|
|2015||New York Mets||Terry Collins||Chicago Cubswc||Joe Maddon||4–0||Daniel Murphy, New York||TBS|
|2016||Chicago Cubs||Joe Maddon||Los Angeles Dodgers||Dave Roberts||4–2||Javier Báez and Jon Lester, Chicago||FS1|
|2017||Los Angeles Dodgers||Dave Roberts||Chicago Cubs||Joe Maddon||4–1||Chris Taylor and Justin Turner, Los Angeles||TBS|
|2018||Los Angeles Dodgers||Dave Roberts||Milwaukee Brewers||Craig Counsell||4-3||Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles||Fox/FS1|
|Team||Wins||Losses||Win %||Most recent
|13||St. Louis Cardinals||7||6||.538||2013||2014||38||39||.494|
|13||Los Angeles Dodgers||7||6||.538||2018||2018||29||32||.475|
|8||New York Mets||5||3||.625||2015||2015||26||17||.605|
|7||San Francisco Giants||5||2||.714||2014||2014||24||15||.615|
|2||San Diego Padres||2||0||1.000||1998||1998||7||4||.636|
|5||Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates||Reds, 4–1||1970, 1972, 1975, 1979, 1990|
|5||Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies||Phillies, 3–2||1977, 1978, 1983, 2008, 2009|
|4||San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals||Giants, 3–1||1987, 2002, 2012, 2014|
|2||Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets||Tied, 1–1||1969, 1999|
|2||Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals||Tied, 1–1||1982, 1996|
|2||Atlanta Braves vs. Pittsburgh Pirates||Braves, 2–0||1991, 1992|
|2||Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals||Tied, 1–1||2004, 2005|
|2||New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals||Tied, 1–1||2000, 2006|
|2||Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals||Cardinals, 2–0||1985, 2013|
|2||Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers||Tied, 1–1||2016, 2017|
The 1970 National League Championship Series was a match-up between the East Division champion Pittsburgh Pirates and the West Division champion Cincinnati Reds. The Reds swept the Pirates three games to none and went on to lose the World Series to the Baltimore Orioles.
The series was notable for featuring the first postseason baseball played on artificial turf (which was used in both ballparks). It was also the first of ten NLCS series between 1970 and 1980 that featured either the Philadelphia Phillies or the Pittsburgh Pirates. The only time neither team appeared in the NLCS during that period was in 1973, when the New York Mets won the NL East.
(Note: Due to a one-day strike by major league umpires, the series was begun using four minor league umpires, with the regularly assigned crew—including union president Wendelstedt—returning for Games 2 and 3.)1971 National League Championship Series
The 1971 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five series that pitted the East Division champion Pittsburgh Pirates against the West Division champion San Francisco Giants. The Pirates won the Series three games to one and won the 1971 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles. The Giants did not return to the postseason until 1987.
This was the third National League Championship Series in all. It was the first League Championship Series in either league that was not a sweep for the winning team (Baltimore swept Oakland in the 1971 ALCS).1972 National League Championship Series
The 1972 National League Championship Series was played between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates from October 7 to 11. Cincinnati won the series three games to two to advance to the World Series against the Oakland A's. The Reds became the first team in major league history to advance to the World Series without the best record in their respective league, made possible by the Junior and Senior Circuits each splitting into two divisions in 1969. In the previous three post seasons, the team with the best record in each league advanced to the World Series.
The 1972 NLCS ended with a dramatic ninth inning rally in the fifth and deciding game. The series was also notable as the last on-field appearance by Pittsburgh's future Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, who would die in a plane crash on December 31.1974 National League Championship Series
The 1974 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five series that matched the East Division champion Pittsburgh Pirates against the West Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers won the Series three games to one and lost the 1974 World Series to the Oakland Athletics.1975 National League Championship Series
The 1975 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five match-up between the East Division champion Pittsburgh Pirates and the West Division champion Cincinnati Reds. The Reds swept the Pirates in three games and went on to win the World Series against the Boston Red Sox.1976 National League Championship Series
The 1976 National League Championship Series faced off the Cincinnati Reds (known for their nickname at the time, The Big Red Machine) and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Reds swept the best-of-five series in three games, winning easily in the first two games, and in their last at bat in Game 3.
Stars of the series for the Reds included batters Johnny Bench (4 for 12, HR), Dave Concepción (4 runs scored), George Foster (2 H, both home runs), Ken Griffey (5 for 13, triple), Pete Rose (6 for 14, 2 RBIs, 3 runs scored), and pitchers Don Gullett (win, 8 IP, 2 hits), Pedro Borbón (4 1⁄3 IP, 0.00 ERA), and Pat Zachry (win, 5 IP, 3 SO).1977 National League Championship Series
The 1977 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five matchup between the West Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the East Division champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Dodgers beat the Phillies three games to one and went on to lose the 1977 World Series to the New York Yankees.1978 National League Championship Series
The 1978 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five matchup for the second straight year between the West Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the East Division champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Dodgers beat the Phillies three games to one once again and lost the World Series to the New York Yankees, as they had the year before.1979 National League Championship Series
The 1979 National League Championship Series was played between the National League West champion Cincinnati Reds and the National League East champion Pittsburgh Pirates.
It was the fourth time in the 1970s that the Pirates and Reds had faced off for the pennant; Cincinnati had won all three previous meetings in 1970, 1972 and 1975.
The Pirates won the series in a three-game sweep in what would be the last postseason appearance for both franchises until 1990.1981 National League Championship Series
The 1981 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five series between the first-half West Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the second-half East Division champion Montreal Expos. The Dodgers won the NLCS three games to two over the Expos, thanks to a ninth-inning home run in Game 5 by Rick Monday in what has ever since been referred to as Blue Monday by Expos fans.1982 National League Championship Series
The 1982 National League Championship Series was played between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves from October 6 to 10.1983 National League Championship Series
The 1983 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five matchup between the West Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the East Division champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies beat the Dodgers, three games to one, and would go on lose the World Series to the Baltimore Orioles.1984 National League Championship Series
The 1984 National League Championship Series was played between the San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs from October 2 to 7. San Diego won the series three games to two to advance to the World Series. The 1984 NLCS was the first postseason series ever for the Padres since the franchise's beginning in 1969, and the first appearance by the Cubs in postseason play since the 1945 World Series. The series took a disastrous turn for Chicago after a promising start, which contributed to the popular mythology of the "Curse of the Billy Goat." The series was also the last best-of-five NLCS. In 1985, the League Championship Series changed to a best-of-seven format.
Due to a strike by major league umpires, the first four games of the NLCS were played with replacement umpires. The umpires originally scheduled to work the series were John Kibler, Frank Pulli, Harry Wendlestedt, Ed Montague, Billy Williams and Bob Engel. Kibler worked Game 5 behind the plate with fellow veterans Paul Runge, John McSherry and Doug Harvey.1989 National League Championship Series
The 1989 National League Championship Series was played between the National League West champion San Francisco Giants and the National League East champion Chicago Cubs. The Giants won the series four games to one, en route to losing to the Oakland Athletics in four games in the 1989 World Series.2008 National League Championship Series
The 2008 National League Championship Series (NLCS), the second round of the 2008 National League playoffs, was a best-of-seven baseball game series. The series matched the NL West Champion Los Angeles Dodgers against the NL East Champion Philadelphia Phillies, who had home field advantage for this series due to their better regular-season record. The teams split their season series, with the home team sweeping their two four-game series in August.
The Phillies won the series, four games to one.
The series opened on Thursday, October 9, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, with the series being telecast on Fox.
This series marked the first postseason meeting for the Phillies and Dodgers since the 1983 NLCS, which Philadelphia won 3–1 en route to a loss to Baltimore in the World Series. It also marked the first NLCS for both teams since the Division Series was instituted in 1995. Overall, this was the fourth time these two teams had met in the postseason. Prior to the 1983 NLCS, the Dodgers had defeated the Phillies 3–1 in the NLCS during both the 1977 and 1978 post-seasons.
The Phillies would go on to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series in five games.2017 National League Championship Series
The 2017 National League Championship Series was a best-of-seven playoff pitting the Los Angeles Dodgers against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs for the National League pennant and the right to play in the 2017 World Series. The series was a rematch of the 2016 NLCS, which Chicago won four games to two en route to their first World Series victory since 1908. This was just the 10th time two teams have met in at least two straight League Championship Series, which have existed since divisional play began in 1969. The Dodgers beat the Cubs in five games to win the NL pennant for the first time in 29 years, their last one in 1988.
This was the first time in history that the NLCS and ALCS teams were from the four most populous U.S. cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.For the first time, Major League Baseball sold presenting sponsorships to all of its postseason series; this NLCS was sponsored by Camping World and was officially known as the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World.The Dodgers would go on to lose to the Houston Astros in the World Series in seven games.2018 National League Championship Series
The 2018 National League Championship Series was a best-of-seven playoff pitting the Milwaukee Brewers against the Los Angeles Dodgers, for the National League (NL) pennant and the right to play in the 2018 World Series against the AL Champions, the Boston Red Sox.
The series was the 49th in league history, with Fox airing all games in the United States. This series was the first time two teams that won their division in a tiebreaker game faced each other in a playoff series, as well as the first postseason match-up between the Brewers and Dodgers. For the first time since 2012, the NLCS reached a game seven, with the Dodgers defeating the Brewers and winning back-to-back pennants for the first time since 1977–1978.
For the second year, Major League Baseball sold presenting sponsorships to all of its postseason series; as with the ALCS, this NLCS was sponsored by Google Assistant and was officially known as the National League Championship Series presented by Google Assistant.League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award
The League Championship Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given in each of the two annual League Championship Series, for the American and National Leagues, to the player deemed to have the most impact on his team's performance. The award has been presented in the National League since 1977, and in the American League since 1980. Dusty Baker won the inaugural award in 1977 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Frank White won the first American League award in 1980 with the Kansas City Royals. The eight Hall of Famers to win LCS MVPs include Roberto Alomar, George Brett, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Kirby Puckett, Ozzie Smith, Willie Stargell, and John Smoltz.
Three players have won the award twice: Steve Garvey (1978, 1984), Dave Stewart (1990, 1993), and Orel Hershiser (1988, 1995). Incidentally, all three of these players won their two awards with two different teams. Seven players have gone on to win the World Series MVP Award in the same season in which they won the LCS MVP—all of them in the National League. Three players have won while playing for the losing team in the series: Fred Lynn played for the 1982 California Angels; Mike Scott pitched for the 1986 Houston Astros; and Jeffrey Leonard played for the 1987 San Francisco Giants. Two players have shared the award in the same year three times, all in the National League; Rob Dibble and Randy Myers for the 1990 Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs' Jon Lester and Javier Báez in 2016, and Chris Taylor and Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017.
Garvey, Leonard, and Albert Pujols hit four home runs in their winning series—Garvey in his first win. Adam Kennedy won the 2002 ALCS MVP for hitting 3 home runs in 5 games; he had hit 7 during the regular season and hit 80 in his 14-year career. David Ortiz had 11 runs batted in (RBI) during the 2004 ALCS and Iván Rodríguez had 10 during the 2003 NLCS—the only two players to reach double-digit RBI in the series in the history of the award. From the pitcher's mound, Steve Avery threw 161⁄3 innings without giving up a run in the 1991 NLCS, and John Smoltz amassed 19 strikeouts the following year. Liván Hernández won the 1997 NLCS MVP after winning his only start and earning a win out of the bullpen in relief; he struck out 16 in 102⁄3 innings. Daniel Murphy won the 2015 NLCS MVP after hitting home runs in six consecutive games, setting a major league record.Liván Hernández (1997, NL) and his half-brother Orlando Hernández (1999, AL) are the only family pair to have won the award. The only rookies to have won the award are Mike Boddicker (1983, AL), Liván Hernández, and Michael Wacha (2013, NL).List of National League Championship Series broadcasters
The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast National League Championship Series games over the years. It does not include any announcers who may have appeared on local broadcasts produced by the participating teams.
National League Championship Series
and disestablished teams