Baseball’s shortest regular season leads to a special expanded MLB playoffs campaign, featuring not 10 but 16 teams – eight from the AL and eight from the NL. That’s right, more than half of the teams that make up Major League Baseball have a shot at the 2020 World Series, and there are no playoff byes for anyone. It’s going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, so read on for format and live stream details.
MLB playoffs cheat sheet
The expanded 16-team MLB playoffs take place from Tuesday, October 29 to at least Saturday, October 24. The action begins with the inaugural Wild Card series, featuring the best eight teams from the AL and the best eight teams from the NL, then we progress to the Division Series, Championship Series and finally the World Series, which sets the AL champs against the best from the NL.
The postseason begins with a new best-of-three Wild Card Series, which is stacked in the higher-seeded teams’ favor. The best sides have been handed home advantage and favorable draws.
But after that play will switch to neutral venues – the San Diego Padres’ Petco Park and the LA Dodgers’ Dodger Stadium for the AL, and the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park and Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field for the NL – as the stakes rise through the Division and Championship Series.
The World Series is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 20, with play set to take place at the Globe Life Field. Follow our guide as we explain how to watch an MLB playoffs live stream the easy way, no matter you are in the world.
How to watch MLB blackout games and stream baseball from abroad
A VPN – or Virtual Private Network in full – is becoming an essential bit of kit for baseball fans for two reasons.
Firstly, MLB blackout rules mean that you can’t use its otherwise comprehensive MLB.TV streaming service to watch teams within your own market – fine for Yankees fans living in Seattle, not so great for those in the Bronx.
It’s a real pain for cord-cutters, but fortunately, the VPNs help you get around this by allowing you to relocate your IP address to a different location. This means you can still be sitting in your NYC apartment, but your computer will be rerouted to a server in a different part of the country – thereby allowing you to watch the Yankees (or Mets) just like you would if you had a fancy cable package.
Secondly, VPNs are great if you’re abroad and want to access the same streaming services you do at home. Some of our favorite platforms like Sling TV are geo-restricted to the US, so if you’re out of the country on holiday or vacation, you won’t necessarily be able to access the services and content you pay for back home.
Again, a VPN is your friend here as it will let you dial back in to a US location and therefore access the same MLB live stream you would in America. But which one to choose?
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MLB playoffs schedule – wildcard games
American League Wild Card Series (best of three)
- Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2pm ET/11am PT – Twins (3) vs. Astros (6)
- Tuesday, Sept. 29, 3pm ET/12pm PT – Athletics (2) vs. White Sox (7)
- Tuesday, Sept. 29, 5pm ET/2pm PT – Rays (1) vs. Blue Jays (8)
- Tuesday, Sept. 29, 7pm ET/4pm PT – Indians (4) vs. Yankees (5)
- Wednesday, Sept. 30 – Rays (1) vs. Blue Jays (8)
- Wednesday, Sept. 30 – Athletics (2) vs. White Sox (7)
- Wednesday, Sept. 30 – Twins (3) vs. Astros (6)
- Wednesday, Sept. 30 – Indians (4) vs. Yankees (5)
- *Thursday, Oct. 1 – Rays (1) vs. Blue Jays (8)
- *Thursday, Oct. 1 – Athletics (2) vs. White Sox (7)
- *Thursday, Oct. 1 – Twins (3) vs. Astros (6)
- *Thursday, Oct. 1 – Indians (4) vs. Yankees (5)
National League Wild Card Series (best of three)
- Wednesday, Sept. 30, 12pm ET/9am PT – Braves (2) vs. Reds (7)
- Wednesday, Sept. 30, 5pm ET/2pm PT – Padres (4) vs. Cardinals (5)
- Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2pm ET/11am PT – Cubs (3) vs. Marlins (6)
- Wednesday, Sept. 30, 10pm ET/7pm PT – Dodgers (1) vs. Brewers (8)
- Thursday, Oct. 1 – Dodgers (1) vs. Brewers (8)
- Thursday, Oct. 1 – Braves (2) vs. Reds (7)
- Thursday, Oct. 1 – Cubs (3) vs. Marlins (6)
- Thursday, Oct. 1 – Padres (4) vs. Cardinals (5)
- *Friday, Oct. 2 – Dodgers (1) vs. Brewers (8)
- *Friday, Oct. 2 – Braves (2) vs. Reds (7)
- *Friday, Oct. 2 – Cubs (3) vs. Marlins (6)
- *Friday, Oct. 2 – Padres (4) vs. Cardinals (5)
MLB playoffs live stream: how to watch every game in the US
Baseball coverage in the US is something of a minefield and varies dramatically across the country, but we’ll do our best to break it down as simply as possible.
How to live stream MLB playoffs
The best end-to-end live streaming option for the 2020 MLB season is still MLB.TV (free 3-day trial offered). Because only the postseason remains, its price has been slashed to just $24.99 for access to every team’s games, or $10 to follow a single team.
As we’ve said, it’s primarily designed for fans outside of their home team’s city, as it’s hampered by local blackout restrictions – but you can get around this by taking the VPN route, per our guide above, and pointing your computer to an out-of-market location.
When it does work it’s great, as you not only get a live stream of your game of choice, but also the option of home or away team commentary, Spanish language audio, companion apps for nearly any modern device, and a super-smooth 60fps feed.
How to watch MLB playoffs on local TV
Regional TV networks are baseball fans’ bread and butter, bringing you day-in, day-out coverage of all your local team’s games. Examples include YES Network (Yankees), NESN (Red Sox) and Spectrum SportsNet (Dodgers).
They’ll typically have a streaming option built-in to their website, which you’ll be able to access by signing in with details of your TV provider.
If you don’t have cable, then nearly all MLB teams (24 out of 30) also have their local TV channel covered by an over-the-top (OTT) streaming service.
More details are below, and a quick internet search should tell you which ones covers your local network.
How to watch MLB playoffs without cable
Select MLB games are shown on cable TV networks – namely TBS, Fox Sports, FS1, ESPN and MLB Network.
The Wild Card Series games are being shown by ESPN and TBS; TBS has the AL Division Series; FS1 is showing the NL Division Series; TBS has the AL Championship Series; Fox Sports and FS1 are showing the NL Championship Series; the World Series is on Fox Sports.
These are typically prime-time affairs and it’s easy to access these channels if you don’t have cable (or want to pay for an upgrade).
There are plenty of options, but we’ve listed the most popular below – roughly in order of how appealing they are to us as baseball fans. All prices are per month.
- Sling TV $55 – All the cable channels a baseball fan needs to watch the biggest games in one place. A combined Sling Blue and Orange package for $45 covers ESPN, TBS and Fox Sports, while $10 adds Sports Extra and MLB Network (plus NHL Network, NBA TV, beIN Sports, ESPN U, Tennis Channel and more). On balance, our favorite option and you can try a FREE Sling TV trial – but note local coverage is limited.
- YouTube TV $64.99 – The best option after Sling, YouTube TV includes ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1, MLB Network and TBS. Many local networks and regional networks are also covered, six accounts are included in the price, and a free trial is available.
- Hulu $54.99 – A good option, Hulu with Live TV includes ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1 and TBS but does not come with the MLB Network. It does, however, offer local networks in select markets. Free trial offered.
- AT&T TV Now $55 – Another solid offering, AT&T TV Now gets you ESPN, Fox Sports and TBS but, again, not MLB Nework. Local TV coverage is available in select markets. Free trial offered.
- fuboTV $54.99 – Not necessarily worth considering for baseball fans, Unfortunately it does not have ESPN, MLB Network or TBS – though it does offer strong local coverage and offer a free trial.
How to watch MLB playoffs: live stream baseball in Canada
If you’re looking to watch the Toronto Blue Jays or even your favorite US baseball team, there are a number of ways to watch the MLB playoffs in Canada.
Baseball fans with a cable subscription will be able to watch games on Sportsnet, TVA Sports, TSN and RDS. These channels will let you watch games online, too – either by registering with details of your pay TV provider, or by signing up for a standalone streaming package.
For instance, Sportsnet is the official coverage provider for the Blue Jays and its Sportsnet Now service is perfect for cord-cutting fans in Canada, costing just $24.99 a month.
The other great option is again MLB.TV, which is available in Canada, with only the Blue Jays subject to blackouts.
And don’t forget that using a VPN is the way to get an MLB playoffs live stream if you’re away from Canada when the game you want to watch is on.
How to watch an MLB playoffs live stream online in the UK
For cord cutters, BT now offers the option of watching BT Sport without locking yourself into a lengthy contract by way of its £25 Monthly Pass.
If you find yourself outside the UK and want to watch one of the MLB playoff games, don’t worry about geo-blocks on your account – simply grab a VPN and follow the instructions above to live stream the action.
MLB 2020 – favorites and format changes
The Washington Nationals won the World Series for the first time in the team’s history in 2019, defeating the Houston Astros in game seven of an epic series. This year, the Rays enter as favorites to advance to the World Series from the AL, while the Dodgers are being tipped to represent the NL, though they’re sweating over the fitness of MVP contender Mookie Betts.
There were a number of rule changes in place for the 2020 MLB regular season due to its shortened nature. The three you really need to know about are:
- The designated hitter (DH) position has been added to National League batting orders
- Relief pitchers are required to face a minimum of three batters
- Games that go to extra innings will see teams start with a runner on second base
The top two remain in place for the playoffs, but the third will not be in effect for the postseason.
MLB schedule – playoffs
American League Division Series (best of five)
- Monday, Oct. 5 – AL 3/6 Winner vs AL 2/7 Winner
- Monday, Oct. 5 – AL 4/5 Winner vs AL 1/8 Winner
- Tuesday, Oct. 6 – AL 3/6 Winner vs AL 2/7 Winner
- Tuesday, Oct. 6 – AL 4/5 Winner vs AL 1/8 Winner
- Wednesday, Oct. 7 – AL 3/6 Winner vs AL 2/7 Winner
- Wednesday, Oct. 7 – AL 4/5 Winner vs AL 1/8 Winner
- *Thursday, Oct. 8 – AL 3/6 Winner vs AL 2/7 Winner
- *Thursday, Oct. 8 – AL 4/5 Winner vs AL 1/8 Winner
- *Friday, Oct. 9 – AL 3/6 Winner vs AL 2/7 Winner
- *Friday, Oct. 9 – AL 4/5 Winner vs AL 1/8 Winner
National League Division Series (best of five)
- Tuesday, Oct. 6 – NL 3/6 Winner vs NL 2/7 Winner
- Tuesday, Oct. 6 – NL 4/5 Winner vs NL 1/8 Winner
- Wednesday, Oct. 7 – NL 3/6 Winner vs NL 2/7 Winner
- Wednesday, Oct. 7 – NL 4/5 Winner vs NL 1/8 Winner
- Thursday, Oct. 8 – NL 3/6 Winner vs NL 2/7 Winner
- Thursday, Oct. 8 – NL 4/5 Winner vs NL 1/8 Winner
- *Friday, Oct. 9 – NL 3/6 Winner vs NL 2/7 Winner
- *Friday, Oct. 9 – NL 4/5 Winner vs NL 1/8 Winner
- *Saturday, Oct. 10 – NL 3/6 Winner vs NL 2/7 Winner
- *Saturday, Oct. 10 – NL 4/5 Winner vs NL 1/8 Winner
American League Championship Series (best of seven)
- Sunday, Oct. 11 – Game 1
- Monday, Oct. 12 – Game 2
- Tuesday, Oct. 13 – Game 3
- Wednesday, Oct. 14 – Game 4
- *Thursday, Oct. 15 – Game 5
- *Friday, Oct. 16 – Game 6
- *Saturday, Oct. 17 – Game 7
National League Championship Series (best of seven)
- Monday, Oct. 12 – Game 1
- Tuesday, Oct. 13 – Game 2
- Wednesday, Oct. 14 – Game 3
- Thursday, Oct. 15 – Game 4
- *Friday, Oct. 16 – Game 5
- *Saturday, Oct. 17 – Game 6
- *Sunday, Oct. 18 – Game 7
MLB World Series schedule (best of seven)
- Tuesday, Oct. 20 – Game 1
- Wednesday, Oct. 21 – Game 2
- Friday, Oct. 23 – Game 3
- Saturday, Oct. 24 – Game 4
- *Sunday, Oct. 25 – Game 5
- *Tuesday, Oct. 27 – Game 6
- *Wednesday, Oct. 28 – Game 7