Who: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves
Where: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
When: 8:37 PM, ET – TBS
Series record: 0-0
Unlike the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, who enter Division play on hot streaks, the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers have scuffled into the postseason.
The Braves, who had a near double digit lead in the National League East standings for the vast majority of the second half dealt with a handful of injuries as the regular season was drawing to a close. It showed in the standings as the Braves closed out September going 7-7 in their final fourteen games with the Dodgers didn’t do any better, going 6-10 in their final sixteen.
Of course, with the slate wiped clean, both Atlanta and Los Angeles come in confident and with good reason considering as both team will send their aces to the mound, a luxury they were awarded given their large regular season division leads.
For Los Angeles, likely National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83 ERA) will take the hill, opposed by Kris Medlen (15-12, 3.11), who is looking for retribution after being the losing pitcher in the Atlanta Brave’s 2012 Wild Card loss.
Atlanta had their way with the Dodgers this season, posting a 5-2 record in their head-to-head matchup, outscoring them 27-17 in the seven games. However, all seven of those games took place prior to June 10th, well before the Dodgers turned their season around.
Missing from the series will be some big names. For the Dodgers, outfielder Matt Kemp will miss the entire postseason thanks to an ankle injury, though, the Dodgers have played the vast majority of the year without Kemp who has spent most of the season on the disabled list. In addition to Kemp, pitcher Brandon League will be left off the roster, though that has more to do with his 5.30 ERA than any injury. Outfielder Andre Ethier, who was a question mark leading up to the series will play after testing out his ankle injury, though, it’s not known if he will start or come off the bench in a pinch hitting role.
For Atlanta, powerful second baseman Dan Uggla has been left off the roster with Elliot Johnson taking his place in the starting lineup. Uggla, who has suggested vision problems have hampered him this season underwent Lasik surgery prior to the conclusion of the regular season though, it didn’t help him, at least statistically as he continued to struggle. His absence will allow the Braves to add B.J. Upton to the roster, though, he too has had his own scuffles.