It’s deja vu, as the 2021 NLCS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves is a rematch of the 2020 NLCS featuring the two teams. We can only hope we get just as an exciting series, as last year’s matchup went seven games, with the Dodgers beating Atlanta.
There will be some important differences between the 2020 and 2021 NLCS for these two teams. First, home field advantage may actually matter this time around as the 2020 MLB playoffs took place entirely in the state of Texas. The Braves, as winners of the NL East, have that home field advantage for the 2021 NLCS.
Here is everything that you need to know about the Dodgers vs Braves NLCS, from schedule to matchup to how to watch.
Dodgers vs Braves NLCS schedule
The complete schedule for the Dodgers vs Braves NLCS series (* denotes “if necessary”):
Oct. 16: Dodgers 2, Braves 3
Oct. 17: Dodgers 4, Braves 5
Oct. 19: Braves 5, Dodgers 6
Oct. 20: Braves 9, Dodgers 2
Oct. 21: Braves 2, Dodgers 11
Oct. 23: Dodgers at Braves, 8 p.m. ET, TBS
Oct. 24: Dodgers at Braves, 7:30 p.m. ET, TBS*
Dodgers vs Braves matchup preview
While the Atlanta Braves do have home field on account of winning the NL East, they are an underdog against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who got into the playoffs via the wild card. But that doesn’t paint the proper picture. The Dodgers were the second best team in baseball by record in the 2021 season, winning 106 games. The only reason they were the wild card is because their division rivals, the San Francisco Giants, won 107. Atlanta, comparatively, won 88 games this year.
The Dodgers advanced to the NLCS by beating the Giants in a classic NLDS that went the full five games. Tightly contested all the way, it will be interesting to see if the Dodgers can ride the momentum of beating a red-hot St. Louis Cardinals team in the Wild Card Game and then their rivals in the NLDS.
They certainly have the firepower to keep things rolling. The Dodgers lineup has been led so far this postseason by Mookie Betts, who has four RBIs and a .458 batting average in six games. Meanwhile, Will Smith, Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor all have three RBIs a piece and players including Justin Turner, Trea Turner and Corey Seager could pop at any moment. However, the Dodgers could certainly end up missing Max Muncy, who was a big contributor in the regular season but has been injured for the entire postseason thus far and whose status is unclear.
While we wait to hear who will be pitching Game 1 for the Dodgers, the options are just as deep as their offense. Max Scherzer, Julio Urias and Walker Buehler have all started games for the Dodgers so far this season, and they all have pitched well. Particularly Scherzer, who has a postseason record of 0-1 but has only allowed two earned runs and currently has an ERA of 1.46 in three appearances; this included the save in Game 5 of the NLDS. Considering Scherzer and Urias both pitched in Game 5, Buehler is the likely go-to for Game 1 of the NLCS.
The Braves, meanwhile, clinched their NLDS series on Oct. 12 and have been able to rest up for the NLCS. After dropping the first game to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Braves won three straight, including two shutouts and a Game 4 comeback.
Though the Dodgers will be the favorites, Atlanta certainly won’t be a pushover. Their infield of Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley is considered one of the best in the league. Offense wasn’t a premium in the NLDS against the Brewers and their pitching, but of that quartet Riley led the team in hits and batting average, while Freeman hit the game-clinching home run in Game 4. Joc Pederson, meanwhile, has been a big presence this postseason, as he has hit two home runs and has five RBIs in seven plate appearances.
Like the Dodgers, the Braves also have a major injury to a star player, as outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was injured for the year in the regular season.
As for the Braves pitching, they can go in just about any direction they want for the NLCS. While Charlie Morton pitched in Game 4, he’s only thrown 9.1 innings so far this postseason and could possibly go on short rest. However, Max Fried and Ian Anderson both allowed no runs in their starts and would be pitching on normal rest, so it is likely one of them gets the nod to start the series.
The Dodgers and Braves met six times in the 2021 regular season, with the Dodgers winning four out of six.
How to watch Dodgers vs Braves NLCS in the U.S.
TBS is the home of the entire National League playoff slate until the World Series. TBS is a cable network, so pay-TV subscribers must double check that their service includes the channel; TBS is a pretty basic component in a majority of packages, though, and is available on Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV.
TBS also has its own app for viewers with access to their channel to watch the games on either their mobile devices, TV devices (Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, Xbox and Google Chromecast) or through its website, TBS.com, on a computer.
How to watch Dodgers vs Braves NLCS in the U.K.
Even though baseball is America’s pastime, any fans of the game over in the U.K. can still tune in for playoff and World Series action. BT Sport will broadcast the games to its subscribers through its ESPN subchannel.
You will need to be a BT Sports subscriber to watch the network’s coverage of the MLB playoffs. A monthly subscription is available at £25.
How to watch Dodgers vs Braves NLCS from anywhere in the world
You don’t have to be in the U.S. (or even the U.K.) to watch the 2021 MLB playoffs from first pitch to the last out. MLB has shared all of the international broadcasters covering the games, but if you’ve cut the cord entirely and none of these options are immediately available to you, there’s still the option of a VPN, or virtual private network.
A VPN is designed to route network traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing viewers to watch content on an encrypted feed over a computer.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.