The Atlanta Braves knew that if they defeated Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 of their NLDS, they’d put themselves in the drivers seat.
On the flip side, Los Angeles knew that Kershaw winning Game 1 in Atlanta would do the same for them and that’s exactly what happened after the should be 2013 National League Cy Young Award winner dominated the Braves in the series opener.
Atlanta was able to come back and squeak by with a one run victory in Game 2, but after a 13-6 blowout in Game 3, it’s clear Los Angeles has been the better of the two teams through the series first three games.
Things started off positive for the Braves, who took a two run lead in the top half of the first inning thanks to RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson. That lead held until the bottom of the second inning when the Dodgers unloaded on Braves starter Julio Teheran for four runs. The onslaught continued in the following inning as the Dodgers chased Teheran from the game, scoring three more runs in the bottom of the third. Los Angeles continued to tally runs even after the Braves went to their bullpen, posting another four spot in the bottom of the fourth, giving them a 10-4 advantage through the first four innings. It would obviously be all they needed as the Dodgers’ bullpen shut down the Braves for the rest of the game (sans a 9th inning Jason Heyward home run) while the offense continued to tack on runs.
Despite the Dodgers’ blowout victory, it’s not to say Atlanta didn’t have their chances as they left a small city of runners on base throughout the evening, but the Dodgers’ pitching staff clamped down in pressure situations.
The win puts the Dodgers in a position to punch their ticket to the National League Championship with a victory Monday night. Atlanta on the other hand will be fighting for another day, hoping to secure a winner-take-all Game 5 in Atlanta on Wednesday evening.