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Major League Baseball has tried to return to normal in 2021 with a full-season schedule (even though some positive Covid-19 tests have gotten in the way). The playoffs will also feel more normal this year, because there will be only 10 teams in the postseason as opposed to the expanded 16-team field last year. Going beyond the regular season will be more difficult for teams this year, and winning the World Series — well, that’s always hard. Luckily, watching the playoffs without cable is a lot easier. Here’s your guide to watching the 2021 MLB playoffs without cable.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream the MLB playoffs:

  Price Channels Free Trial  
$54.99 – $134.99 140+ 5 days

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$5.99 – $85.96 68 – 88 7 or 30 days

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$64.99 – $79.99 220+ 7 days

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$35 – $50 30+ – 130+ 3 days

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What Channels Are the MLB Playoffs On?: How to Watch Red Sox vs. Astros and Dodgers vs. Braves Without Cable

The best way to watch the MLB playoffs without cable is to sign up for a streaming service that offers the networks you know and love from cable — albeit without the very unlovable high cable price. Channel selection may vary from service to service, though, so you need to be careful. You want to make sure you’re able to stream all the channels that carry live MLB playoff action. So which channels are those?

World Series (Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros)

  • FOX: FOX is a big deal for MLB fans when playoff time rolls around. A lot of big playoff games will air on the network, and it’s an absolute must for the World Series — every World Series game will be on FOX.

ALCS (Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros)

  • FOX
  • FS1: FS1 will share coverage of the American League playoffs with MLB Network.

NLCS (Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves)

  • TBS: TBS is your home for all of the National League playoff games, including the NL Wild Card Game and the NLCS.

ALDS (Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays; Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros)

  • FS1
  • MLB Network: MLB Network will broadcast some of the ALDS games.

NLDS (Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants; Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers)

  • TBS

AL Wild Card (New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox)

  • ESPN: ESPN is your home for the AL Wild Card Game. That's the only MLB playoff game on ESPN this year, though. An alternate “Statcast” of the same game airs on ESPN2.

NL Wild Card (St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers)

  • TBS

With the Wild Card Games, Division Series, and Championship Series now behind us, baseball fans will want to focus on FOX, which will have every game of the World Series.

How to Watch the MLB Playoffs Online and Over the Air Without Cable

Now that you know what networks show awesome MLB playoff action, you’ll need to find a way to get them without cable. The best way is to subscribe to a live TV streaming service. Often called “skinny bundles” because of their slimmed-down channel selections (and their slimmed-down price tags), live TV streaming services are like better versions of cable or satellite. They stream online on all kinds of devices and offer great channels without as much bloat, and they don’t share cable’s obsession with long-term contracts.

We’ll talk about some of our favorite skinny bundles below, and we’ll also discuss free over-the-air TV. You won’t see MLB.TV on our list, because that subscription streaming service serves up only regular-season games. If you have a pay TV subscription and the MLB.TV app, however, you should note that MLB.TV allows you to log in with your pay TV credentials to unlock livestreams of playoff games. Since that’s not necessarily a true cord-cutting option, we’re leaving it off our list.

Here’s how to watch the MLB playoffs without cable.

Stream the MLB playoffs with DIRECTV Stream

Try It

DIRECTV Stream is a live TV streaming service mostly owned by AT&T. Any DIRECTV Stream subscription option is a good choice for watching the MLB playoffs live. We have a lot more to say about the service in our DIRECTV Stream review. Every channel that you'll need in order to watch postseason baseball is available through DIRECTV Stream.

Stream the MLB playoffs with Hulu

Free Trial

Hulu has long been a favorite of on-demand streamers, and, over the past few years, it has also become an excellent choice for live TV. Hulu + Live TV offers a lot of great channels, including most of the ones baseball fans care about at this time of year: FOX, FS1, ESPN, and TBS. Only MLB Network is missing.

Stream the MLB playoffs with fuboTV

Free Trial

fuboTV bills itself as the best live TV streaming service for sports fans. Does it back up that claim? fuboTV's channel list includes FOX, FS1, ESPN, and MLB Network. The bad news is that fuboTV recently lost TBS, which is an important network for MLB fans during the playoffs. fuboTV will be a solid option for American League fans, but National League fans may want to look elsewhere — without TBS, fuboTV will be missing the NL Wild Card game and NLCS.

Stream the MLB playoffs with Sling TV

Try It

Sling TV is a skinny bundle designed to cater to your preferences. Using a combination of base bundles and add-on bundles called “Extras,” you can customize your channel selection to ensure you get everything you want without paying for any filler. Sling TV’s channel offerings include FOX, FS1, TBS, MLB Network, and ESPN. That's a killer lineup for MLB fans.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is Google’s entry into the skinny-bundle derby, and it’s a worthy one. YouTube TV pairs a great and user-friendly app with a nice channel selection that includes FOX, FS1, TBS, MLB Network, and ESPN. Our YouTube TV review has more about what to expect with this service.

Free Over-the-Air TV

FOX has the rights to the World Series, which means the biggest games of the postseason will air on the company’s flagship network. That means cord-cutters can get the big games for free over the air. In most areas, you’ll be able to pick up FOX (as well as the other major networks) for free over the air with an antenna. If you’re not sure which antenna is right for you, then check out our helpful antenna guide.

MLB Gameday Audio and Other Radio Solutions

We love the MLB.TV streaming service, but you can’t watch the postseason with MLB.TV alone — the service requires a pay TV login to watch postseason games. But here’s the good news: Your MLB.TV subscription includes MLB Audio, which keeps right on truckin’ through the postseason with no blackouts. That means you can hear your local radio announcers call each game (none of that “unbiased” stuff — and no Joe Buck) through the MLB At Bat app. You can also grab an MLB Audio subscription on its own.

If you aren’t dead set on getting local radio broadcasts, then you could listen to ESPN Radio’s national coverage instead. The broadcasts are available for free on ESPN Radio’s website and app. You could also, of course, just use a regular radio. Your local ESPN Radio affiliate station will no doubt be broadcasting the game. Baseball is uniquely suited to radio, and if you have never tried listening instead of watching, you may want to give it a shot!

Can I Watch the MLB Playoffs on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

The MLB postseason is good at playing ball with streaming devices and platforms, so you can use Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast to watch all the matchups on your big-screen TV. The chart below provides all the details.

Roku Fire TV Apple TV Android TV Chromecast iOS Android Web/
DIRECTV Stream Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hulu + Live TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
fuboTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sling TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Youtube TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

More to Watch for Fans of the MLB Playoffs

If you like playoff baseball, then you have excellent taste. But regular-season MLB action can also be a lot of fun. There’s not quite as much at stake in a random June game as there is during a September playoff game, but it’s still a good time. If you want to follow regular-season baseball, our guide to watching MLB without cable can help.

2 thoughts on “How to Watch the 2021 MLB Playoffs Without Cable

  1. Ken says:

    FuboTV does not carry TBS – I just asked them and they confirmed that it was not a channel they can provide. Since most of the National League games are on TBS, this is not a good choice.

  2. DM says:

    Sling is blacking out local games, so it is no good if your home team is in the playoffs.

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