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Dodgers-Braves NLDS Game 1 Preview: Kershaw Must Set the Tone

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, playoff baseball is here!  Fans in Los Angeles will be treated to watching the Dodgers in their quest for their first World Series appearance since 1988.  That’s the plan at least, but it would be unusual if the Dodgers didn’t face a few bumps in the road.

That’s exactly the case as the Dodgers will be without Matt Kemp for the rest of the postseason. They will also presumably be without Andre Ethier in the starting lineup for at least the first two games of their first round series with the Atlanta Braves.

Don Mattingly and his coaching finalized the Dodgers 25-man roster as notable Dee Gordon, Chris Capuano and Chris Withrow made the roster..  The Braves finalized their 25-man roster yesterday, omitting 2B Dan Uggla from the squad.  Uggla was third on the team with 22 homeruns, but hit a ghastly .179, easily the worst of any regular position player in MLB. Uggla also struck out 171 times in only 448 AB.

Despite the concerns over CF, the key to playoffs for the Dodgers will be pitching. Tonight, the Dodgers will send the best pitcher on the planet to the mound, Clayton Kershaw. This will be Kershaw’s first postseason start since 2009 and I expect him to come out and just flat dominate. The playoffs are the time when stars shine brightest and this will be Kershaw’s chance to do it on the biggest stage he’s seen so far.

Kershaw didn’t fare well his last time around in the playoffs. He went 0-1 with a 6.08 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance back in the 2009. However, Kershaw was only 21, it was his first year as a starter and he wasn’tt nearly the pitcher back then that he is now.

Next Page: Click here for Dodger,Braves lineups

Written by Mark Fabrick

Mark was a top 52 finalist for MLB Fan Cave this past offseason. He has also interned for Fox Sports Radio and Universal Sports Network. You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkFabrick.

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