MLB Division Series Predictions 2023

Jerry Beach
Last Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Well, that didn’t take long.

The four best-of-three wild card series were all completed in two games, the first time since 1975 (when both League Championship Series concluded in three games) that a round of the baseball playoffs consisted entirely of sweeps.

The haste and lack of suspense with which the Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Philadelphia Phillies dispatched their opponents also yielded questions about whether or not the best-of-three format is the best way to determine a first-round winner than the old wild card game.

The four Division Series, slated to begin Saturday, Oct. 7, offer more games and intrigue. We hope it offers a better rate of success after going 1-for-4 with our wild card series picks. Thanks for saving us the bagel, Phillies!

MLB Division Series Odds

All MLB betting odds used for these Division Series winner predictions are current as of Friday, Oct. 6, and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Texas Rangers vs Baltimore Orioles

Rangers (-105) | Orioles (-115)

Minnesota Twins vs Houston Astros

Twins (+135) | Astros (-160)

Philadelphia Phillies vs Atlanta Braves

Phillies (+145) | Braves (-170)

Arizona Diamondbacks vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Diamondbacks (+175) | Dodgers (-205)

AL Division Series Predictions

(1) Baltimore Orioles vs (5) Texas Rangers

Only the Astros-Twins Division Series pits a pair of teams who finished closer to each other during the regular season than the Orioles and Rangers, but the oddsmakers project this to be the tightest of the four matchups.

The Rangers looked like their early-season selves in a two-game sweep of the Rays, and the momentum earned in a short series can’t be underestimated as they head to Baltimore against the Orioles, who will be playing their first meaningful game in nine days on Saturday afternoon.

The quick dispatching of the Rays also means the Rangers enter the ALDS with something resembling an optimal rotation. Dane Dunning, who emerged as a reliable starter this season, will likely start Game 1, with the surging Jordan Montgomery ready to go on normal rest for Game 2.

The Rangers also seemed to regain their offensive mojo against the Rays. Texas, which scored just 13 runs in its final five regular season games, outscored Tampa Bay 11-1 as rookies Evan Carter and Josh Jung combined to hit .500 (6-for-12) while MVP candidate Corey Seager was 4-for-8 with three doubles.

The most intriguing element of the Division Series might be how the youthful Orioles handle the big stage and whether or not their sum-is-better-than-the-parts approach can translate to a playoff environment generally unkind to such teams.

Power plays in the postseason and the Orioles’ 183 homers and .742 OPS each rank as the second-lowest figures for any team still in the tournament ahead of only the Diamondbacks.

Baltimore’s 3.91 ERA is the second-best among those remaining squads, but with Kyle Gibson and Dean Kremer both better suited as bottom-of-the-rotation guys, manager Brandon Hyde is going to need second-year pitcher Kyle Bradish and rookie Grayson Rodriguez — who combined for a 3.47 ERA in 53 starts — to emerge as the 1-2 punch.

This series will likely come down to the bullpens. The Rangers’ beleaguered relievers threw just 4.1 low-pressure innings against the Rays, giving Bruce Bochy a much-needed reset.

Can the Orioles make up for the absence of Félix Bautista, who was a Cy Young award contender before injuring his elbow? The guess here is yes, and that the oddsmakers are correct and this is the closest series of the round.

Orioles vs Rangers: Orioles in 3 Games

(2) Houston Astros vs (3) Minnesota Twins

The team with the most impressive streak in American sports faces off against the team that just snapped two of the nation’s most ignoble streaks.

The Astros have been to the last six AL Championship Series, a remarkable run that began so long ago that Carlos Beltrán, the DH on the infamous 2017 World Series champions, is already on the Hall of Fame ballot.

The Twins, of course, finally won a postseason game Tuesday for the first time in almost exactly 19 years and then closed out the Toronto Blue Jays to earn their first series win since 2002.

The Twins displayed a few elements of October magic against the Blue Jays, when rookie Royce Lewis hit two homers in Game 1 and starting pitchers Pablo López and Sonny Gray combined to give up one run over 10.2 innings. The bullpen was even better with 7.1 innings of scoreless ball.

No team needed time off more than Houston, whose roster is loaded with players who performed into November while earning the franchise’s second World Series crown last year.

The Astros rank fifth among remaining playoff teams with 222 homers and third with a 3.94 ERA, but that’s with Yordan Alvarez being limited to 114 games by an oblique injury and Justin Verlander making just 11 late-season starts following his re-acquisition from the New York Mets.

Dusty Baker, criticized for his bullpen machinations during his days with the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs, has adapted well to the postseason juggling act and should have Hunter Brown, J.P. France and José Urquidy — who combined for 62 regular season starts — available as middle relief options ahead of a late-inning crew anchored by Ryan Pressly.

It’s hard to bet against the defending champs until someone finally dethrones them.

Astros vs Twins: Astros in 4 Games

NL Division Series Predictions

(1) Atlanta Braves vs (4) Philadelphia Phillies

This feels like the regional final in an NCAA Tournament that could easily be a Final Four or national championship clash.

The Braves set just about every offensive record known to man this season while winning 104 games, two shy of the franchise record. The Phillies have no shortage of mashers — seven players hit at least 15 homers — and have been fine-tuning for October since losing last year’s World Series.

Oh, and this is a rematch of last year’s NLDS — won by the Phillies in four games — and six of their 13 regular season games this year were decided by two or fewer runs. If this was the NCAA Tournament, we’d be wondering how the selection committee rigged it so this happened so early in the proceedings.

With both home parks hitter-friendly, this will come down to each pitching staff — and for as good as the Braves are, they’ve got a ton of questions within their rotation.

The hot-and-cold Spencer Strider — who racked up 281 strikeouts and went 20-5 but with a 3.86 ERA, the highest mark for a 20-game winner since Andy Pettitte had a 4.02 ERA in 2003 — is Atlanta’s healthiest starter.

Max Fried, limited to 14 starts this season by a forearm injury and a blister, is expected to start Game 2 while Bryce Elder, who has a 5.11 ERA since the All-Star Break, will be the no. 3 starter with Charlie Morton (right index finger) out for at least this round.

The Phillies’ top-of-the-rotation duo of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola was as good as advertised in the wild card round against the Marlins, when they allowed one run over 13.2 innings.

With Wheeler and Nola ready to go on six days rest in Games 2 and 3 thanks to a quirky schedule — there are off-days after Games 1 and 2 — the series could be determined by how Game 1 starter Ranger Suárez, who posted a 5.20 ERA in five late-season starts following a hamstring injury, fares Saturday.

History repeats itself here, right down to the number of games the Phillies need to send the Braves home again.

Braves vs Phillies: Phillies in 4 Games

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers vs (6) Arizona Diamondbacks

The last thing the Dodgers want to see is history repeating itself. A year removed from falling to the San Diego Padres in a four-game NLDS after winning the division over the Padres by 22 games, the Dodgers get to play the Diamondbacks in a short series after finishing 16 games ahead of them.

Like the Braves, the Dodgers’ rotation — headed by a potentially sore-armed Clayton Kershaw — is vulnerable.

The Diamondbacks are in a pretty good spot after stunning the Milwaukee Brewers in two games, which left usual no. 2 starter Merrill Kelly ready to go on seven days rest in Game 1 and Cy Young contender Zac Gallen — who won Game 2 against the Brewers on Wednesday — available for Game 2 of the NLDS to the off-day following Saturday’s opener.

The Diamondbacks scored just three runs in ending the regular season on a four-game losing streak but seemed invigorated in Milwaukee, where they hit four homers while Corbin Carroll and Christian Walker combined to hit .467 (7-of-15).

Still, even with the Dodgers’ rotation issues, it’s hard to see them going one-and-done a second straight year. As good as Arizona was in the wild card round, the specter of facing a lineup anchored by Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and J.D. Martinez is an entirely different beast.

Dodgers vs Diamondbacks: Dodgers in 3 Games

MLB Division Series Schedule

Saturday, Oct. 7

ALDS Game 1: Rangers @ Orioles — 1:03 p.m. ET

ALDS Game 1: Twins @ Astros — 4:45 p.m. ET

NLDS Game 1: Phillies @ Braves — 6:07 p.m. ET

NLDS Game 1: Diamondbacks @ Dodgers — 9:20 p.m. ET

Sunday, Oct. 8

ALDS Game 2: Rangers @ Orioles — 4:07 p.m. ET

ALDS Game 2: Twins @ Astros — 8:03 p.m. ET

Monday, Oct. 9

NLDS Game 2: Phillies @ Braves — 6:07 p.m. ET

NLDS Game 2: Diamondbacks @ Dodgers — 9:07 p.m. ET

Tuesday, Oct. 10

ALDS Game 3: Astros @ Twins — 4:07 p.m. ET

ALDS Game 3: Orioles @ Rangers — 8:03 p.m. ET

Wednesday, Oct. 11

NLDS Game 3: Braves @ Phillies — TBD

NLDS Game 3: Dodgers @ Diamondbacks — TBD

ALDS Game 4: Astros @ Twins — TBD***

ALDS Game 4: Orioles @ Rangers — TBD***

Thursday, Oct. 12

NLDS Game 4: Braves @ Phillies — TBD***

NLDS Game 4: Dodgers @ Diamondbacks — TBD***

Friday, Oct. 13

ALDS Game 5: Rangers @ Orioles — TBD***

ALDS Game 5: Twins @ Astros — TBD***

Saturday, Oct. 14

NLDS Game 5: Phillies @ Braves — TBD***

NLDS Game 5: Diamondbacks @ Dodgers — TBD***

***if necessary


Jerry Beach

Jerry Beach began his journalism career as a high school senior in Connecticut in 1990 and has been covering professional sports in the northeast since 1997. He has written three books, including “Fighting Words,” a history of the Boston Red Sox and the local media, and “Subway Series,” a 20th anniversary look back at the 2000 World Series. A member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Pro Hockey Writers Association, Jerry currently covers the Mets and Islanders while also writing about Major League Baseball and the Baseball Hall of Fame for numerous outlets. Jerry, a graduate of Hofstra University, lives on Long Island with his wife, daughter and way too many media guides to count.

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