Found October 04, 2013 on
Fox Sports West:
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers' success isn't built on offense, which is why the loss of Matt Kemp for the postseason and Andre Ethier from the starting lineup was never viewed as major.
Big, yes. Major, not really.
The Dodgers' strength lies in their pitching, in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. So although they displayed some clutch hitting in beating the Atlanta Braves 6-1 Thursday to win the National League Division Series opener, it was Kershaw who stood front and center.
Here are three takeaways from Game 1:
1. The Sure Thing
This is how good Kershaw is: On a night he would probably admit he didn't have his best stuff, he still dominated the Braves.
Kershaw didn't have much confidence in his curveball -- the lone exception was a big hook that froze pinch-hitter B.J. Upton in the fifth -- and he bounced too many sliders in the dirt.
But he still struck out 12, the most by a Dodgers pitcher since Sandy Koufax fanned 15 Yankees in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series. He also had six in a row at one point.
In seven innings, Kershaw threw 124 pitches, just eight fewer than his career high set in May, but he wouldn't pitch again unless there's a Game 5 on Wednesday, giving him five days' rest between starts.
2. In the clutch
Kershaw didn't receive much run support during the season, but his offense gave him a 2-0 lead in the second inning, a 4-0 lead in the third and a 5-0 lead in the fourth. How? Two-out hits.
In fact, four of the Dodgers' first five runs were produced by two-out hits, including Adrian Gonzalez's two-run homer off Braves starter Kris Medlin in the third. Skip Schumaker, who started in center field for Ethier (and Kemp), started the scoring with a sacrifice fly, and catcher A.J. Ellis followed with a run-scoring double, both with two outs.
Nothing is more secure than a 5-0 lead for Kershaw. This season, he gave up five runs just once in 33 starters and never allowed six.
3. Breaking bad defense
The Braves have to keep games close so they can call on their superb bullpen late in games, but they won't do that if they play poorly on defense, as they did Thursday.
Part of their problem is that B.J. Upton was benched because of his awful hitting (1 for 36 at one point in September). That meant right fielder Jason Heyward had to move to center and Evan Gattis, a catcher by trade, started in left.
Their misplays proved critical. On a second-inning single to center by Juan Uribe, Heyward failed to throw to third base as Puig, who was on first, never stopped, taking third with a head-first dive. Then, on Schumaker's sacrifice fly to center, Heyward missed the cutoff man, which let Juan Uribe take second. He scored on A.J. Ellis' double.
On that double, Gattis made an ill-advised attempt at a diving catch and looked awkward doing it, although Uribe would have scored anyway. And while this has nothing to do with defense, Gattis let himself get doubled off first base by Puig on Chris Johnson's fly ball to right in the bottom of the second.
All in all, a bad night for the Braves -- and a good start for the Dodgers.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Clayton Kershaw “struggled with his fastball command,” wrote one recap of Thursday’s NLDS Game 1 in Atlanta. “He couldn’t throw the ball where he wanted,” said another, again referring to his fastball, and he “wasn’t at his best early,” wrote yet another. Those takes were all accurate, and when you’re reading reviews of a starting pitcher’s playoff performance...
ATLANTA -- Justin Upton knows all too well what Clayton Kershaw is capable of.
Having seen the Dodgers ace for four years while he was with the National League West rival Diamondbacks, Upton offered a succinct and fitting take on the pitcher the Braves will face Thursday in Game 1 of their division series.
"He's definitely at the top of his game, at the top of his craft...
ATLANTA (AP) -- Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 during seven dominant innings, Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the bumbling Atlanta Braves 6-1 in Game 1 of the NL division series Thursday night.
The Dodgers jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the fourth against Kris Medlen, taking advantage of some shoddy Atlanta defense even though the Braves were generously...
Clayton Kershaw finally has his first postseason win.
He made sure it was one to remember.
Kershaw struck out 12 while allowing only three hits, Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 6-1 in Game 1 of the NL division series Thursday night.
The win soared to the top of Kershaw's list of favorites - no small statement for the...
The decision was up in the air considering Andre Ethier's limited capabilities right now. Do the Los Angeles Dodgers leave Ethier off the NLDS roster, or do they use him in a pinch-hitting role. The team chose the latter which means some shuffling of the lineup will be in order.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com says the Dodgers will likely include Ethier on their NLDS roster, but...
Before Game One of the NLDS matching up the Los Angels Dodgers against the Atlanta Braves one of our readers let us know that the Braves were going to beat Clayton Kershaw.
Memo to reader: Don’t quit your day job.
Kershaw struck out 12 during seven dominant innings, Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 6-1 in Game 1 on Thursday night. Atlanta...
The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 6-1 in Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Thursday night to take a 1-0 series lead. The story of this game was Clayton Kershaw carving up Atlanta's lineup, getting into a vicious groove his third time through the order.
Kershaw was never really in trouble all night, as the Braves totaled just five hits over the course of the...
Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers opened the playoffs looking intent on ending that quarter-century drought since their last World Series championship.
For the Atlanta Braves, another dose of October misery.
Kershaw struck out 12 during seven dominant innings, Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and the Dodgers beat the bumbling Braves 6-1 in Game 1 of the NL division...
I love Nick Swisher, I do. But his performance in the Wild Card Game last night against the Rays was so reminiscent of past post seasons for him. His first few times up, he had a strikeout and then grounded the ball right into the teeth of the shift when there were no fielders from second base to third. Then, when he had a man on first and third, instead of embracing or understanding...
Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw absolutely dealt yesterday, pitching the Cardinals and Dodgers to 1-0 NLDS leads over the Pirates and Braves respectively. Neither game was really all that close, and both series are in line to end like most of our staff predicted.
PIC OF THE DAY
Kris Medlen says on his face what all of the Braves were thinking last night. (Daniel...
The Dodgers beat the Braves in Game 1 of the 2013 NLDS, which is awesome, so look at these moving things.
Evan Gattis did this thing.
Brian Wilson is weird.
Matt Kemp has hands. Yes.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves are tied 1-1 after the first two games of the NLDS. They have an off day for traveling on Saturday, which will also give players a chance to rest and recuperate. That is especially good for Dodger outfielder Andre Ethier, shortstop Hanley Ramirez, and starting pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu, all of whom are nursing soreness although Ryu's is...
The Atlanta Braves flopped and staggered their way to another October debacle.
With Dan Uggla watching from the dugout, this one was downright ugly.
Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 during seven dominant innings, Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers blew out the bumbling Braves 6-1 in Game 1 of the NL division series Thursday night.
The Braves haven'...
The Atlanta Braves will host the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday for the start of the National League Divisional Series.
While the Braves ran away with the NL East this season critics have questioned their ability to have success in the post season.
Coverage of the game will air on TBS beginning at 8:30 pm ET. ESPN Radio will have the radio play by play of this game...