Tag Archives: NL Divisional Series

Three Things The Dodgers Have To Do

LA Dodgers pitchers Kershaw and Greinke

Kershaw and Greinke

The National League playoff are set and the Los Angeles Dodgers are headed east to take on the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS opening round series, starting Thursday at Turner Field in Atlanta. A late push by the St. Louis Cardinals gave the Redbirds the top overall seed and forced the Braves/Dodgers series. After Thursday and Friday games in Atlanta the series will head west to Los Angeles for games next Sunday and Monday at Dodger Stadium.

The Braves dominated the season series, winning five of seven games, although the majority of the games were played prior to the Dodgers epic run of strong play that vaulted them into first place. Here are the three biggest keys to victory for the Dodgers:

Kershaw and Greinke: The Dodgers have the best one-two starting combination of all the National League playoff teams. This season Clayton Kershaw but up numbers that a haven’t been accomplished by a Dodgers left-handed starter since Sandy Koufax. He’s the odds on favorite to win the Cy Young and will start the series opener in Atlanta. Due to quirks in the scheduling the Braves haven’t faced the Dodgers ace in three seasons, missing his turn in the rotation each of the past two seasons. The lack of familiarity that many of the Braves hitters have toward Kershaw is a potential big factor. Since the opening round series is only five games and opening game victory is vital for the Dodgers. If they can jump on Kris Medlen early and take the series lead they’ll be in good shape moving forward. The added benefit of having Zack Greinke go in the second game gives the Dodgers strong odds to wrest home field advantage away from the Braves. The Dodgers right-hander was as dominant as Kershaw after the All-Star break with a 1.85 ERA and an opponent’s batting average of .214.

Restrict the Long Ball: The Atlanta Braves lead the National League in home runs and have several players in the lineup capable to quickly impacting a close game. They don’t have a high team batting average but are adept at using the long ball to change games in an instant. The key for the Dodgers pitching staff is to keep the ball on the ground, do not walk anyone, and restrict the long ball. The first two games of the series shape up well with Kershaw and Greinke. The two starters gave up just 24 total home runs this season in 67 combined starts.

Don’t try to come from behind: The Braves, due to dominant closer Craig Kimbrel and a group of solid setup men, have the best bullpen ERA in all of baseball. Much like the great Mariano Rivera led Yankee teams the Braves rarely give up leads late, making it vitally important to get an early lead. Kimbrel notched just the 11th fifty save season in baseball history this year, doing so with an incredible 1.21 ERA. The closer blew just four saves and struck out 98 batters in just 67 innings pitched. He has good command and an array of devastating strikeout pitches.

The Dodgers first home game will be Sunday Oct 6th at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers Tickets are starting at $60.00 per ticket. By:Chris Michaels

Dodgers Vs Braves NL Divisional Series Preview

LA Dodgers face the Atlanta Braves

Dodgers Vs Braves

The National League playoff are set and the Los Angeles Dodgers are headed east to take on the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS opening round series, starting Thursday at Turner Field in Atlanta. A late push by the St. Louis Cardinals gave the Redbirds the top overall seed and forced the Braves/Dodgers series. After Thursday and Friday games in Atlanta the series will head west to Los Angeles for games next Sunday and Monday at Dodger Stadium.

The Braves dominated the season series between the two clubs, winning five of the seven games played included a three game sweep in Atlanta from May 17-19. The Braves strong play against the Dodgers was before the incredible Dodgers run that saw them go from last place to first place in the NL West in a six week span. Additionally the Braves did not face Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw this season, nor have they faced him in the previous two seasons. The one game started by Zack Greinke, the other Dodgers ace, was a Dodgers victory at home on June 7th behind a solid outing by Greinke. The two storied clubs haven’t met in the NL playoffs since 1996 when the Braves swept the Dodgers in a three game NLDS series. Prior to that the Dodgers and then Milwaukee Braves played a three game series to capture the NL pennant in 1959.

The Dodgers starting rotation will be rested and ready to take on the Braves when the series kicks off on Thursday. Ace Clayton Kershaw, the heavy favorite to win his second Cy Young Award, had an extra days rest prior to his final start of the season, where he pitched seven shutout innings to earn his 16th win of the season. Kershaw, perhaps the Dodgers best lefthander since Sandy Koufax, had a miniscule 1.83 ERA on the season. He’ll have five days rest prior to take the mound for the opening game of the series, as will Greinke. The veteran righty Greinke justified his big free agent contract by winning fifteen games versus just three losses. During the second half of the season he was nearly as dominant as Kershaw. The two ace starters will look to steal one or two games in Atlanta and give the Dodgers the opportunity to sweep or win the series when it returns back to Los Angeles. The Braves will start the series with fifteen game winner Kris Medlen, followed by lefty Mike Minor, winner of thirteen games on the season. The key for the Dodgers starting pitchers will be to restrict the long ball and jump out on the Braves early. The Braves led the National League in home runs this season and have several players capable of changing the game on just one swing. Additionally the Braves had the best bullpen in all of baseball behind dominant closer Craig Kimbrel. The big key for the Braves will be solving the riddle that is Clayton Kershaw and jumping out to a series lead. Behind Kershaw’s tremendous regular season the Dodgers had the best starting pitching ERA in all of baseball. Hyun-Jin Ryu will take the mound for the Dodgers in game three, facing Braves righty Julio Teheran. Pitching matchups for the subsequent games are yet to be determined, but the Dodgers are likely counter with Ricky Nolasco in game four, if a game four is needed.

The Dodgers first home game will be Sunday Oct 6th at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers Tickets are starting at $60.00 per ticket. By:Chris Michaels