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Atlanta0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 030
LA Dodgers2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 x 350
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  W: C. Kershaw (1-0)   L: A. Sánchez (0-1)   S: K. Jansen (1)
6:37 PM PT7:37 PM MT8:37 PM CT9:37 PM ET21:37 ET1:37 GMT9:37 6:37 PM MST8:37 PM EST9:07 PM VEN5:37 UAE (+1)8:37 PM CT, October 5, 2018
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California  Attendance: 54,452

Dodgers to unleash Kershaw on Braves

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. The Dodgers have a 2.03 team ERA in eight games against Atlanta this season (reg. and post), the lowest mark by any team against any opponent in MLB this season (min. eight games). The Dodgers have scored 6.2 runs per game in six wins over Atlanta this season, but just 2.0 per game in two losses.
  2. The Braves have scored zero or one run in five of their last six games, two more than any team in MLB over that span. Prior to that span (starting Sept. 25), the Braves had scored zero or one run 22 times in the entire season; the Rockies were the only NL team to do it fewer times (14).
  3. Freddie Freeman is a career .375 hitter (9-for-24) in the postseason, the third-highest career average of any player in the 2018 postseason (Carlos Gonzalez, .500; Ryan Braun, .381 - min. 25 PA). He has had a hit in all six career postseason games (five were vs. LAD). The only other active players with a hit in every career postseason game are Carlos Gonzalez, 7, Ketel Marte, 4, and Kole Calhoun, 3 (min. three games).
  4. Max Muncy reached base four times (one hit, three walks) in as many plate appearances in Game 1, his first career playoff game. There have been ten others all-time to reach base in every PA in their first playoff game (min. four PA); the last to do it before Muncy was Evan Longoria (2008).
  5. The Dodgers have gone an even 12-12 in 24 career postseason starts by Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw does have five career postseason games with at least ten strikeouts (including one in the 2017 WS), something only four others in the live-ball era can say: Justin Verlander, Bob Gibson, Randy Johnson, and Cliff Lee.
  6. Anibal Sanchez has a 2.79 ERA in seven career postseason games (six starts), fifth-lowest among active pitchers (min. five starts). Sanchez has a 2.83 ERA in 2018, his age-34 season. The only pitcher with a better mark in 2018 in at least his age-34 season is Justin Verlander (age-35, 2.52 -- min. 130 IP).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 10/5/2018 thru 10/5/2018
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers' curious starting pitching decision to open the National League Division Series suddenly looks like a load of trouble for the Atlanta Braves.

Clayton Kershaw, who did not start Game 1 on Thursday despite being on regular rest, is scheduled to start Game 2 on Friday at Dodger Stadium, one day after Hyun-Jin Ryu set the tone with seven strong innings in a 6-0 victory over the Braves.

It remains very early in the 2018 postseason, but the Dodgers' decision to be less reliant on Kershaw for October glory already seems to be paying dividends.

And even though Kershaw is less overpowering than he has been in the past, with a strikeout total lower than his innings pitched for the first time since 2013, he has been a handful when getting an extra day of rest like he will have Friday.

When the left-hander gets five days of rest or more this season, he has a 2.48 ERA and 9.2 strikeouts per inning. On a regular four days of rest, he has a 3.21 ERA and 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

Kershaw (9-5, 2.73 ERA), who said he accepts the Dodgers' pitching decision, downplayed the concept that he will have extra incentive this postseason because he was not named the Game 1 starter.

"I don't really need to prove myself to anybody," Kershaw said. "I think I just ... I want my teammates to want me out there. I think that's the biggest thing. Hyun-Jin has had a great season and he's pitched really well for us ... and I'll get my turn (Friday)."

Tasked with matching Kershaw pitch for pitch is Braves right-hander Anibal Sanchez (7-6, 2.83), who has given up two earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts, including six scoreless innings in his regular-season finale Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Friday's outing will be Sanchez's first in the postseason since 2014 with the Detroit Tigers. In seven postseason appearances, he is 2-4 with a 2.79 ERA.

It is the Dodgers hitters that Sanchez said he is most concerned with facing, not pitching against Kershaw.

"You know what, most of the time I don't think too much about the pitchers that I'm going to face," Sanchez said. "I just try to keep my mind on the hitters that I'm going to face against the Dodgers. I think they got a pretty good lineup. It's no doubt how good Kershaw is and what he's been doing for his whole career. But at the end, I don't want to put that impression in my mind."

In Game 1 of the series, the Dodgers looked similar to what they have been all season. They hit three home runs in Game 1 after a season when they hit a club-record and NL-most 235. Two of the home runs came from left-handed hitters Joc Pederson and Max Muncy.

The Dodgers also led the NL in walks this season and earned eight free passes Thursday.

The Braves outhit the Dodgers 6-5 in Game 1, but were never in the contest. Now Sanchez has to face the Dodgers' lefty-heavy lineup in Game 2.

Updated October 5, 2018

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