The Dodgers grabbed a 1-0 series lead with a 6-1 win over the Braves last night in Game 1 of the NLDS. Clayton Kershaw was exceptional on the mound as he struck out 12 batters and allowed just one run in seven innings of work. Adrian Gonzalez hit his first postseason home-run and the Dodgers’ offense had 5 runs by the fourth inning.
Today, Zack Greinke looks to pick up right where Kershaw left off, as he tries to give the Dodgers a commanding 2-0 series lead. Although Kershaw is the favorite to win the NL Cy Young, Greinke isn’t too far behind. He posted a 15-4 record with a 2.63 ERA during the season, but really flourished in the second half with a 1.85 ERA.
Greinke has been equally as impressive on the road and in his last 10 starts away from Dodger Stadium, he’s 7-0 with a 1.95 ERA. He’s faced the Atlanta Braves once this season, pitching seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 victory for the Dodgers on July 6 at Dodger Stadium. Greinke does have some postseason experience as he went 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in 2011 while he was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Braves are hoping Mike Minor fares better than Kris Medlen did against this Dodger lineup. The 25-year-old left hander is making his postseason debut this afternoon. During the regular season, he posted a 13-9 record with a 3.21 ERA, but luckily for the Dodgers, Minor struggled as the season winded down.
In his last six starts, Minor went 0-4 with a 4.15 ERA and hasn’t won since August 25. Minor does have some experience against the Dodgers as he’s faced them five times in his career and is 1-1 with a 2.32 ERA.
While he’s struggled of late, Minor is still a very good pitcher and has a deep arsenal of pitches. Minor is a flyball pitcher and has five pitches at his disposal: Fourseam fastball, changeup, curve, cutter and his newest addition, a sinker. Don’t let his last six starts fool you, Minor is very capable of pitching a gem, especially at Turner Field.
The Dodgers once again will need to produce some runs early and get Greinke a good cushion for him to cruise. If the Dodgers can get to Minor quickly, it would really set the tone and take the crowd out of the game. Minor has struggled against Dodger lefties in his career, so expect Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to have a good day at the plate. Don’t be surprised if Greinke makes an impact at the plate as he has a .328 batting average and a .409 on base percentage.
Expect the Braves to rally around their home crowd and come out with intensity. They don’t want to head to Los Angeles down 0-2, but if Greinke can be his usual self and the Dodgers muster enough runs for him, then the Braves’ trip to LA will be a short one. Dodgers win 5-2.
Here are both teams lineups for todays’ game:
1: Crawford, LF
2: Ellis, 2B
6-C. Johnson, 3B
8-E. Johnson, 2B
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!