1981 National League Division Series

1981 National League Division Series

Infobox LDS

year = 1981
champion1 = Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
champion1_manager = Tommy Lasorda
champion1_games = 36-21, .632, GA: ½ (1st half)
27-26, .509, GB: 6 (2nd half)
runnerup1 = Houston Astros (2)
runnerup1_manager = Bill Virdon
runnerup1_games = 28-29, .491, GB: 8 (1st half)
33-20, .623, GA: 1½ (2nd half)
date1 = October 6October 11
television1 = NBC
announcers1 = Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek
umpires1 = Jerry Dale, Jim Quick, Satch Davidson, John McSherry, Lee Weyer, Ed Montague
champion2 = Montreal Expos (3)
champion2_manager = Jim Fanning
champion2_games = 30-25, .545, GB: 4 (1st half)
30-23, .566, GA: ½ (2nd half)
runnerup2 = Philadelphia Phillies (2)
runnerup2_manager = Dallas Green
runnerup2_games = 34-21, .618, GA: 1½ (1st half)
25-27, .481, GB: 4½ (2nd half)
date2 = October 7October 11
television2 = NBC
announcers2 = Dick Enberg and Tom Seaver
umpires2 = Terry Tata, Frank Pulli, Bruce Froemming, Billy Williams, John Kibler, Jerry Crawford
The by|1981 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 1981 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 6, and ended on Sunday, October 11. The Division Series were created on August 6 in response to the 1981 Major League Baseball strike, which caused the cancellation of roughly one-third of the regular season between May 29 and August 8; by the time play was resumed, it was decided that the best approach was to have the first-half leaders automatically qualify for postseason play, and allow all the teams to begin the second half with a clean slate.


The first-half and second-half champions in both the East and West divisions would meet in best-of-five series, with the winners advancing to the NL Championship Series (NLCS). If the same team won both halves, a wild card team – the second-place team from the second half – would qualify for the postseason, but this proved unnecessary in both leagues. There were no plans to continue the format in later seasons, although the Division Series resumed in by|1995 after both major leagues realigned into three divisions. The teams in the 1981 NLDS were:

*Eastern Division: Philadelphia Phillies (first-half champion, 34-21) vs. Montreal Expos (second-half champion, 30-23): Expos win series, 3-2.
*Western Division: Los Angeles Dodgers (first-half champion, 36-21) vs. Houston Astros (second-half champion, 33-20): Dodgers win series, 3-2.

"The second-half champions played the first two games at home, with the first-half champions hosting the last three; the first-half champions all posted better records in their half of the season than the second-half champions did."

The results of the format were highly controversial, as the Cincinnati Reds failed to qualify for the postseason despite having the best record in baseball (66-42) over the full season (they lost 101 games the following year); the St. Louis Cardinals, with the NL's second-best record (59-43), were also left out. The Reds had finished the first half of the season just a half-game behind the Dodgers, while the Cardinals finished the second half just a half-game behind the Expos, who were making their first postseason appearance after 13 years of play.

Both series went the full five games. The home team won every game in both series save for one: Game 5 of the Eastern Division series, which Montreal won 3-0 at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium. The Dodgers and Expos went on to meet in the NL Championship Series. The Dodgers became the National League champion, and defeated the American League champion New York Yankees in the 1981 World Series.


Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Houston Astros

Los Angeles wins the series, 3-2

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Montreal Expos

Montreal wins the series, 3-2

Los Angeles vs. Houston

Game 1, October 6

Astrodome in Houston, TexasLinescore
Road=Los Angeles|RoadAbr=LAD
WP=Nolan Ryan (1-0)|LP=Dave Stewart (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Steve Garvey (1)|HomeHR=Alan Ashby (1)|

Fernando Valenzuela faced Nolan Ryan, a matchup worthy of a pitcher's duel. The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the 6th. Tony Scott singled home Terry Puhl to score the game's first run, but Steve Garvey tied the game with a solo home run in the top of the 7th. The game would remain 1-1 into the bottom of the 9th. Dave Stewart retired the first two men in the bottom of the 9th, but surrendered a single to Craig Reynolds and Alan Ashby stepped to the plate. He then slugged a two-run walk-off home run to end the game.

Game 2, October 7

Astrodome in Houston, TexasLinescore
Road=Los Angeles|RoadAbr=LAD
WP=Joe Sambito (1-0)|LP=Dave Stewart (0-2)|SV=|

Jerry Reuss was pitted against Joe Niekro. Both pitchers kept the game scoreless, but both teams had trouble scoring runs when they managed to get men on. Reuss pitched 9 innings and Niekro 8. It remained 0-0 until the bottom of the 11th. Dave Stewart was brought in once again, although having lost the last game. He surrendered back-to-back singles to open the inning. He was taken out and the bases were loaded thanks to an intentional walk to César Cedeño. The bullpen had managed to get 2 outs but pinch hitter Denny Walling hit the game winner, a single to right field.

Game 3, October 9

Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CaliforniaLinescore
Home=Los Angeles|HomeAbr=LAD
WP=Burt Hooton (1-0)|LP=Bob Knepper (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Art Howe (1)|HomeHR=Steve Garvey (2)|

Houston was now one win away from winning their first ever postseason series and moving one step closer to the franchise's first pennant. However, Burt Hooton was there to stop the streaking Astros against Bob Knepper. Hooton held the Astros to three hits over 7 innings and the bullpen held them to no hits through the last two innings. After an RBI double by Dusty Baker, Steve Garvey hit a two run homer to make it 3-0 in the bottom of the 1st. Art Howe would drive the only run of the game for the Astros by hitting a leadoff solo home run in the 3rd. The Dodgers would add insurance in the 8th to win by a final score of 6-1.

Game 4, October 10

Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CaliforniaLinescore
Home=Los Angeles|HomeAbr=LAD
WP=Fernando Valenzuela (1-0)|LP=Vern Ruhle (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Pedro Guerrero (1)|

Fernando Valenzuela would take the hill for the Dodgers once again, this time faced against Vern Ruhle. Both pitchers would pitch complete games for their respective teams. Eventual co-World Series MVP Pedro Guerrero got the Dodgers on the board first with a solo homer in the bottom of the 5th. Bill Russell would drive in the potential winning run in the bottom of the 7th with an RBI single. A 2 out RBI single in the 9th would be all the Astros would get as the Dodgers won Game 4 2-1.

Game 5, October 11

Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CaliforniaLinescore
Home=Los Angeles|HomeAbr=LAD
WP=Jerry Reuss (1-0)|LP=Nolan Ryan (1-1)|SV=|

Nolan Ryan was brought in on clinching day to win the Astros their first ever postseason series. Opposing him would be Jerry Reuss, who had pitched so well in Game 2. Thanks to a few walks and an error, the Dodgers struck for three runs in the bottom of the 6th. A two out triple by Steve Garvey made it 4-0 Dodgers in the 7th. In the end, Reuss went the distance again and pitched a brilliant 5 hit shutout to put the Dodgers in the 1981 National League Championship Series. In addition, the Dodgers avenged their loss to the Astros the previous year in a 1-game playoff for the NL West title.

Composite Box

1981 NLDS (3-2): Los Angeles Dodgers over Houston AstrosLinescore
Road=Los Angeles Dodgers
Home=Houston Astros
H1=0|H2=0|H3=1|H4=0|H5=0|H6=1|H7=0|H8=0|H9=3|H10=0|H11=1|HR=6|HH=29|HE=5Total Attendance: 246,016 Average Attendance: 49,203|

Montreal vs. Philadelphia

Game 1, October 7

Stade Olympique in Montreal, QuebecLinescore
WP=Steve Rogers (1-0)|LP=Steve Carlton (0-1)|SV=Jeff Reardon (1)
RoadHR=Keith Moreland (1)|HomeHR=|

In the other division series, the Expos, making their first and only playoff appearance, would have to defeat the defending World Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies. Steve Rogers faced Steve Carlton in Game 1 in Montreal, the first-ever MLB postseason game played outside the United States. A Gary Carter double scored the first Expo run in postseason history in the 1st. But the Phillies wasted no time in responding. Keith Moreland homered to lead off the 2nd. The game was tied at 1. A Chris Speier double gave the Expos the lead for good. Warren Cromartie would double in the 3rd and final Expo run of the game. The score would remain the same. Rogers pitched 8 2/3 innings and gave up 10 hits, but only one run was allowed. Jeff Reardon got the final out and the save. This was the Expos' first postseason victory.

Game 2, October 8

Stade Olympique in Montreal, QuebecLinescore
WP=Bill Gullickson (1-0)|LP=Dick Ruthven (0-1)|SV=Jeff Reardon (2)
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Gary Carter (1)|

Dick Ruthven was called on to stem the tide against Bill Gullickson. Chris Speier's RBI single in the 2nd made it 1-0 Expos. Then a 2 run homer in the 3rd by Gary Carter made it 3-0. Gullickson was masterful, allowing only 1 run and 6 hits in 7 2/3 innings. Jeff Reardon got the save for the 2nd consecutive game.

Game 3, October 9

Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaLinescore
WP=Larry Christenson (1-0)|LP=Ray Burris (0-1)|SV=|

Ray Burris was called on in the potential clincher against Larry Christenson, hoping to keep the Phillies alive. In the 2nd, Chris Speier's amazing postseason continued with another RBI single to give the Expos the lead. But Manny Trillo's two run single in the bottom of the 2nd gave the Phillies the lead. Two more RBI singles made it 4-1 in the 6th. Two more runs for the Phillies in the 7th gave them 6 for the night. The Expos would get another on a sac fly in the 7th but the score would remain 6-2 as the Phillies won.

Game 4, October 10

Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaLinescore
WP=Tug McGraw (1-0)|LP=Jeff Reardon (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Gary Carter (2)|HomeHR=George Vukovich (1), Mike Schmidt (1), Gary Matthews (1)|

Arguably the best game of the series took place in Game 4. Scott Sanderson started against Dickie Noles. The Phillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st on a 2 run homer by Mike Schmidt. Keith Moreland's 2 run single made it 4-0 in the 3rd. But the Expos refused to go quietly. Gary Carter homered to lead off the 4th to make it 4-1. A Jerry White sac fly made it 4-2 in the 5th. The Expos would tie the game thanks to Chris Speier's RBI single and he would later score. Gary Matthews would homer to give the Phillies the lead. Gary Carter would double to tie the game again in the 7th. In the bottom of the 10th, George Vukovich would walk the game off with a leadoff homer off Jeff Reardon in the 10th. It tied the series at 2 games a piece and set up the clinching Game 5.

Game 5, October 11

Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaLinescore
WP=Steve Rogers (2-0)|LP=Steve Carlton (0-2)|SV=|

In Game 5, the defending Champions sent their best, Steve Carlton, to the mound. Carlton would once again face Steve Rogers. Carlton was hoping to avenge his Game 1 loss. Both pitchers kept the game scoreless into the 5th inning. A single and two walks loaded the bases for Rogers. In what proved to be the series winning hit, Rogers singled to center that would score Larry Parrish and Chris Speier. An RBI double by Parrish in the 6th made it 3-0. That would be all Rogers would need. He allowed only 6 hits and one walk in a complete game shutout of the defending World Champions. His brilliance led the Expos to the NLCS and their first ever postseason series win.

Composite Box

1981 NLDS (3-2): Montreal Expos over Philadelphia PhilliesLinescore
Road=Montreal Expos
Home=Philadelphia Phillies
H1=2|H2=3|H3=2|H4=0|H5=0|H6=3|H7=2|H8=1|H9=0|H10=1|HR=14|HH=44|HE=3Total Attendance: 203,170 Average Attendance: 40,634|


External links

* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1981_NEDIV.shtml Baseball-Reference.com: Philadelphia vs. Montreal]
* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1981_NWDIV.shtml Baseball-Reference.com: Los Angeles vs. Houston]

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