The Atlanta Braves could not catch the slumping Dodgers at a better time. After a mid-season stretch where they held the best record in baseball by a long shot, the Dodgers struggled down the stretch and went 12-15 in the final month of the season. On top of there recent struggles, they lost star Outfielder Matt Kemp for the entire postseason and may have lost Andre Ethier for the NLDS. While neither player has been great this season, either of them have the ability to get hot and take over a short series.
For Atlanta, it is just about the opposite. The Braves come in to the series with hope after winning seven of their final eleven games and coming up one win shy of the best record in baseball. Jason Heyward, the all so important leadoff hitter and gold glove outfielder, will play in this series after returning to the lineup last week after missing a month and a half with a broken jaw. Heyward could be provide a huge lift to this team with his electric play on both sides of the ball, as this team plays its best with him at the top of the lineup.
While each of those factors could be a big factor in the series, the key to this series is the pitching matchup between Kris Medlen and Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw is in line to win his second career Cy Young Award after posting a Major League leading 1.93 ERA and is looking like the best pitcher in baseball. Kris Medlen on the other hand seems to have figured it out after his lackluster start to the season. In his last 11 starts, he has gone 9-2 with a 2.08 ERA; reminding Braves fans of just how dominant he can be when his is on his game. Both guys will look to shut down the opposition as they have been given the nod in both game one and game five (if necessary) of the series.
While most experts expect the Dodgers to win this series in four or five games, Atlanta looks to be the better team at this point in the season.
The Braves won the season series 5-2.
Pitching Matchups – ATL vs. LAD (all game times EST)
Thursay, Oct 3 8:37 PM: RHP Kris Medlen (15-12) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (16-9)
Friday, Oct 4 6:07 PM: LHP Mike Minor (13-9) vs. RHP Zack Geinke (15-4)
Sunday, Oct 6 TBA: RHP Julio Teheran (14-8) at Hyun-jin Ryu (14-8)
Monday, Oct 7 TBA: Pitching matchups not yet announced, game at LA
Wednesday, Oct 9 TBA: RHP Kris Medlen (15-12) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (16-9)