The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves on Monday 4-3. That win wrapped up the series for Los Angeles, as they took the series 3-1. The Dodgers will move on to the NLCS to face either the Pirates or Cardinals.
Game 1 starters Clayton Kershaw and Kris Medlen got the start in the series opener. Kris Medlen got into some trouble early giving up five earned runs in four complete innings. In my preview, I stated that the Braves would run into trouble with their starting pitching and they did in this game and throughout the whole series. Kershaw did what we all thought he would and that is shut down the Braves hit or miss lineup as he struck out 12 in 7 innings pitched only allowing one run.
The Dodgers offense didn’t disappoint as they put runs on the board pretty quickly. Scoring in the 2nd,3rd and 4th innings put them out to a commanding 5-0 lead, with their ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound. You could just feel that the energy at Turner Field was dead once the Dodgers got out to the big lead. The fans and players knew who was on the mound and it would have to be a miracle for Kershaw to give up 5 runs in a start.
The Dodgers won Game 1 rather easily 6-1 in Atlanta.
Game 2 was a totally different story for both teams. Braves starter Mike Minor was excellent only giving up one run in six and a third innings while striking out 5. Zack Greinke isn’t Clayton Kershaw but you would expect him to still shut down the Braves after the season he has had on the mound. He did a very nice job only giving up two in six innings of work. As I stated in the preview, the Dodger bullpen could give them some trouble and it did in this game. Chris Withrow came into the game and gave up two earned of his own making it a 4-1 game going to the 8th.
This again is where the Braves bullpen came up short on their end of the bargain. David Carpenter came in and gave up two runs in just two thirds of an inning and the game was a one run game. Remember his name because you are going to see it once again later in this piece. Well you know who came in for the Braves to shut it down. Craig Kimbrel came in with one out in the 8th and finished the 9th and the Braves had evened up the series at 1 heading to Los Angeles.
The Braves won Game 2 4-3 in a nail biter in Atlanta.
Game 3 is the pivotal game in a five game series and it was a wild one. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Teheran faced off and neither were on their game. Neither of them got past the third inning while Ryu gave up 4, Teheran 6. The offenses were clicking for both teams with extra base hits, it seemed like from every other hitter. Hanley Ramirez was on fire hitting his fourth double of the series and also adding a triple. Carl Crawford hit a big three run homer in the second giving the Dodgers back the lead in the early going.
This one became a bullpen game early and the Braves bullpen let them down once again. Alex Wood came into the game and gave up four runs, none of them earned because of an error by himself on a bunt by Carl Crawford. What should have been an easy out, opened up a big inning for the Dodgers.
A stat that really flies off the page is the number of 2-out RBI that the Dodgers collected. The Dodgers ended up scoring 13 runs off of Braves pitching but 10 of them came with 2 outs. Yes 10 RBI with 2 out in a pivotal Game 3. That won’t help you any when trying to bring the momentum to your side.
The Dodgers won Game 3 easily once again by a score of 13-4 in Los Angeles.
Game 4, the Dodgers have a chance to win the series at home, so what do they do? They move up Clayton Kershaw to pitch on 3-days rest. This would be the first time in his career that he would do this. The Braves knew they would have to face Kershaw in this series twice if they wanted to win the series, so why not face him on 3-days rest.
Kershaw wasn’t as sharp as usual but he pitched six innings, giving up two un-earned runs. While on the other side of the pendulum the Braves started Freddy Garcia. Garcia also went six allowing only two runs. A very impressive start by Garcia in an elimination game for the Braves. Carl Crawford got to Garcia twice taking him into the seats for his second and third homers of the series.
Two errors by Adrian Gonzalez had the Dodgers in a hole down 3-2 going to the 8th inning. Fredi Gonzalez decides to stick with David Carpenter in a pressure situation with a very good hitter, in Juan Uribe at the plate. Yasiel Puig doubled to begin the 8th off of Carpenter and Uribe was going to bunt him to third. Well, the bunt didn’t work out and Uribe decides to swing away. A 2-2 breaking ball chest high, and Uribe sends it into the seats in Left Field. This gives the Dodgers the lead, while Craig Kimbrel, arguably the best closer in the National League is still sitting in the bullpen.
Kenley Jansen comes in to close it out for the Dodgers and three strikeouts in a row later and the Dodgers are going to the National League Championship series.
The Dodgers won another nail biter 4-3 in Los Angeles.
The MVP’s of the series have to be Clayton Kershaw, Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford. Crawford set the table very well for the guys behind him to knock him in. He also added three homers and 5 RBI. Hanley was really aggressive at the plate the entire series. He ended the series hitting .500, 4 doubles, 1 triple and 6 RBI. A very impressive showing for a player that has been called lazy and said to not have lived up to the hype for so many seasons. Last but not least is Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw finished with 13 IP, 1 ER, and 18 K’s. What a way to come in and show your team that you can get it done in pressure situations, when they need you.