By securing their respective divisions, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta will square off in Atlanta, for what I believe is a hitters series.
Here is how the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves managed to get to the NLDS.
The Los Angeles Dodgers–managed by Don Mattingly–came from being at the bottom of the NL West, to the top of the NL West, with the help of a Cuban defect in the name of Yasiel Puig. The Dodgers were at one point in the season 30-42 on June 21st and were 9.5 games back. After June 21st, they went 62-28. The Dodgers had to overcome first half injuries of Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp, but Puig was a factor in the Dodgers comeback. As of today, Kemp would not be available to play in the postseason and Andre Ethier is dealing wih an ankle injury, limiting playing in the Division series.
The Atlanta Braves–managed by Fredi González–are back for another postseason and glad to be playing in the division series. The Braves were in the 1st ever Wild-card play in last year and lost the game, but it was the “infield fly” rule that caused controversy in that game. The Braves as a team made some major upgrades in the offseason, with signings of the Upton Brothers, both of them have been a factor in the Braves lineup. The Braves never struggled in their East division and looked like an early favorite to win the division even before the All-Star game.
Break down the lineups:
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Grienke and Hyun-Jin-Ryu
- Catcher: A.J. Ellis
- First Base: Adrian Gonzalez
- Second Base: Mark Ellis
- Third Base: Juan Uribe
- Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez
- Left Field: Carl Crawford
- Center Field: Skip Schumaker
- Right Field: Yasiel Puig
- Pitchers: Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran
- First Base: Freddie Freeman
- Second Base: Elliott Johnson/Dan Uggla
- Third Base: Chris Johnson
- Shortstop: Andrelton Simmons
- Left Field: Evan Gattis
- Center Field: Jason Heyward
- Right Field: Justin Upton
Dissect tonight’s Game 1 Pitchers
Clayton Kershaw, one of MLB’s best all around pitchers, is back in postseason play for the first time since the 2009 NLDS. Kershaw has been a Dodger since 2008 and has not disappoint, he has a career 2.60 ERA and had a 1.83 ERA this season.
Kershaw record year included a 13-9 record, 236 innings pitched, and a .915 WHIP, all around impressive. The only downfall of Kershaw are the postseason numbers, he has appeared in two postseasons (2008 NLCS & 2009 NLDS/NLCS). The only big difference in the bad postseasons is that he had played his worst against the Philadelphia Phillies, who the Dodgers aren’t facing this postseason. Ever since that 2009 NLCS, he has been lights out in MLB, and has owned the ERA record for the past 3 seasons (2011-2013), also owns strikeouts (2011, 2013), and WHIP (2011-2013). Expect good pitching from him tonight.
Kershaw has only pitched at Turner Field once, and it wasn’t this year, it was in 2011. The career numbers at Turner Field are 7 innings pitched, 2.57 ERA and 1.143 WHIP. The numbers are good, but can he repeat those numbers again? The numbers at Turner Field.
- 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R (2 ER) & 10 SO
- BAA .276, 2.57 ERA & 1.14 WHIP
- Per 9 numbers, 10.29 H & 12.86 K.
- GRADE: 79.37% (C)
- Rates: 27.59% H, 10.34% R, 34.48% K
Kris Medlen, an ace that no one knew around the MLB, get to redeem himself in this NLDS sereis after losing his first postseason appearance in the 2012 Wildcard. Medlen had a decent 2013, with a 15-12 record with 197 innings pitched, had a 3.11 ERA and 1.223 WHIP.
For Medlen, he came in with a season that came as a surprise, the surprise would be that he was a starter this season rather than relief, which he had a 1.57 ERA in 50 appearances in 2012. Nonetheless, he got 31 starts in 32 games, with a 15-12 record, add the 3.11 ERA and 1.223 WHIP.
Medlen’s Turner Field numbers are impressive, in the 79 games he has appeared in his 5 season career. After switching to starter, he had a 2.26 ERA, his career number at Turner is 2.42. The cumulative numbers at Turner Field this season.
- 103.1 IP, 101 H, 31R (26 ER), 4 HR, 21 BB & 82 SO
- BAA .246, ERA 2.26, WHIP 1.18
- Per 9 numbers, 8.8 H, 1.83 BB, 7.14 K, 0.35 HR. K/BB is 3.90
- GRADE: 80.86% (B)
- Rates: 23.99% H, 7.36% R, 4.99% BB, 19.48% K
Which pitcher has the edge in this game?
CLAYTON KERSHAW: Strikeouts
KRIS MEDLEN: Hits, Runs
As mentioned earlier about Clayton Kershaw, he lead the Major League in ERA (1.83), 2 shutouts, strikeouts (232) and WHIP (0.915). The Per 9 numbers: 6.25 H, 1.98 BB, 8.85 K and 0.42 HR. K/BB is 4.46. Kershaw’s 2013 season is graded at a 84.75% (B). Kershaw had a BAA of .188, the rates for Kershaw: 18.06% H, 6.06% R, 5.73% BB, 25.55% K and 1.21% HR.
Kris Medlen, a good season as well, but did not lead in any Major League category. The Per 9 numbers, 8.86 H, 2.15 BB, 7.17 K & 0.82 HR. K/BB is 3.34. Medlen’s 2013 season is graded at a 75.94% (C). Medlen had a BAA of .247, the rates for Medlen: 23.66% H, 9.39% R, 5.73% BB, 19.15% K and 2.20% HR.
Meet the Skippers:
Don Mattingly, a first baseman who played his entire career with the New York Yankees, takes his skill as a manager to his first postseason. After Mattingly finished 14 seasons with the Yankees (1982-1995), he became a special instructor during the Yankees’ spring training camp from 1997-2003. After the 2003 season, Mattingly became the hitting coach, in 2004, Yankees set the all-time franchise record with 242 home runs in 2004, which is 1.493 Home runs per game. After 2006, he became the bench coach. Bench coach is the next step to becoming an MLB manager, Mattingly was a finalist for the Manager’s job after Torre decline a 1 year option, Yankees offered it to Joe Girardi (active as of today). Bitter about it, he took his talents to the west coast and coached at Chavez Ravine, designated as a major league special assignment coach in 2008. During the 2008 season, Mattingly took the hitting coach job, which led to the NLCS seasons of 2008 and 2009. Mattingly was considered for the Cleveland Indians job, but Manny Acta end up accepting the offer, this occured in 2009 offseason. The 2010 offseason came, Mattingly was named Dodgers manager after Joe Torre announced his retirement. Mattingly managerial record is 242-207 with a .539 PCT.
The man that got to replace the legendary Bobby Cox, Fredi González. González never got to taste of stepping on a MLB field, but was a catcher in the New York Yankees farm system. Despite not making it higher than the AA level, he became a graduate assistant for the University of Tennessee volunteers. After his time in Knoxville, he coached all throughout Minor League baseball, this occured from 1990-2006. Seven years ago today, González replaced Joe Girardi as Florida Marlins Manager. González ended up managing the Marlins up till 2010, he ended having the most wins as a Marlins manager, this occured from 2007-2010. On October 13, 2010, González replaced the legendary Bobby Cox. González managerial record is 536-469, with a winning PCT of .533.
Clayton Kershaw: 7.1 IP, 3 H, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 BB & 9 SO
Kris Medlen: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2B, HR, R, 3 BB & 4 SO
PITCHERS BE CONCERNED ABOUT
- CLAYTON KERSHAW: Freddie Freeman
- KRIS MEDLEN: A.J. Ellis, Hanley Ramirez & Skip Schumaker
Dodgers in 4: Game 1,2 and 4