MLB playoffs 2023: All 8 teams prepare for Division Series openers Saturday

Houston Astros players pose for a photo after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-1 to win the American League West division title at Chase Field on October 01, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Justin Verlander is scheduled to start for the Houston Astros against former teammate Carlos Correa and the Minnesota Twins in Game 1 of their AL Division Series on Saturday.

Houston manager Dusty Baker made the announcement Thursday, adding that left-hander Framber Valdez will pitch Sunday night in Game 2.

After all four Wild Card Series ended in two-game sweeps Wednesday, the eight remaining playoff teams are prepping for best-of-five Division Series that begin Saturday.

RELATED: Houston Astros clinch the American League West in 8-1 win, go on to ALDS


Members of the Minnesota Twins celebrate after winning Game Two of the Wild Card Series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field on October 4, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Correa and the AL Central champion Twins will be in Houston to face the defending World Series champion Astros, who won the AL West.

Also in the American League, Texas plays at AL East champion Baltimore.

RELATED: Bring on the Braves: Stott's slam, Nola's gem propels Phillies to NLDS

In the National League, the young Arizona Diamondbacks square off against the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers, and the defending NL champion Philadelphia Phillies head to Atlanta for a playoff rematch with the major league-best Braves, who won their sixth straight NL East title this year.

Betting favorites

The Braves are the current betting favorites to win the World Series at +270, followed by the Dodgers (+440) and Astros (+450), according to FanDuel Sportsbook.


Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates with teammates after a 6-5 win against the Chicago Cubs in which he recorded his 70th steal of the season at Truist Park on September 27, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta

Philly Special 

Should the Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series, save a spot at the end of the Broad Street parade route for Calum Scott.

The British singer with the pop hit about loneliness and heartbreak insists he’s coming to Philly and wearing the jersey the team sent him last season as a thank you for his part in making " Dancing On My Own " a staple of the postseason soundtrack at Citizens Bank Park.

RELATED: NLDS rematch: Braves fans looking for revenge against Phillies


The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after defeating the Miami Marlins 7-1 in Game Two of the Wild Card Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 04, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Scott is as amazed as anyone the song has improbably bloomed into a playoff anthem for the Phillies, who won the National League pennant last year before losing to Houston in the World Series.

"They win the World Series, I’m there, man," Scott said. "I think at that point, you’ll have to hold me back."

Ready-made rookie

Texas got a big boost from 21-year-old Evan Carter during its first-round sweep at Tampa Bay.

The speedy outfielder, who batted .306 with five homers in 23 games down the stretch for the Rangers, reached base in seven of his eight plate appearances during the Wild Card Series to help them advance in the postseason for the first time since 2011.

"I wouldn’t say it was easy," Carter said with a wide smile, even though that's exactly how he's made it look. "There’s a lot of work and preparation and stuff ... older people on the team with a lot of experience, picking their brains, and the coaching staff."

Carter has such a calmness about him less than a month after his Rangers debut that manager Bruce Bochy wonders if the kid even realizes he’s in the big leagues.

"Just love the way he’s handling himself through all this," Bochy said.

Song birds

The Orioles may be Big Shots this year as they make their first playoff appearance since 2016, but they’ll try to stay out of the Piano Man’s way this weekend.


Members of the Baltimore Orioles wave to the crowd following their final regular season game against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 01, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Baltimore announced that Game 1 of the AL Division Series at Camden Yards is scheduled for just after 1 p.m. Saturday. Then it will be time for the Orioles and Texas Rangers to Stand Back, because Stevie Nicks and Billy Joel are playing a concert at 7 p.m. that night at M&T Bank Stadium next door.

The two big events in proximity could create all sorts of parking issues.

Snake bit

Arizona hopes to get catcher Gabriel Moreno back soon. Moreno left Game 2 of the Wild Card Series at Milwaukee after he was struck in the helmet by a backswing.


The Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Two of the Wild Card Series to move onto the NLDS at American Family Field on October 04, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, manager Torey Lovullo said Diamondbacks outfielder Jake McCarthy strained his oblique while taking batting practice Tuesday and is weeks from being healthy enough to play.

Arizona removed McCarthy from its Wild Card Series roster about 10 minutes before the start of their 6-3 Game 1 victory over Milwaukee on Tuesday. Utilityman Jace Peterson replaced him on the roster.

Stealing the show

Baseball changed this year — especially for guys with game-changing speed, like Atlanta star Ronald Acuña Jr.

Fans only now turning their attention to baseball for the postseason will find a sport with a different pace. Following the implementation of new rules like a pitch clock and limits on pitcher disengagements from the rubber, players are running much more than a year ago. There were 3,503 stolen bases in the regular season, a dramatic jump of more than 1,000 from a year ago. It’s the highest total since 1987’s record of 3,585.

The rampant running is expected to continue throughout the playoffs.

"Guys are going to be turning it loose like they have all year," said Braves manager Brian Snitker, whose team earned a bye to the Division Series. "Teams like Arizona are going to be flying all over the place. I don’t really see a change from the season."

How to watch 

After the wild-card rounds were broadcast on ABC and ESPN, the later rounds will be split among Fox, FS1 and TBS.

Postseason schedule 

Division Series: Oct. 7-14

League Championship Series: Oct. 15-24

World Series: Oct. 27-Nov. 4