Hoping to break loose in their first postseason appearance since 2013, the Braves instead were blanked on six singles Thursday night, losing 6-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers to begin the NL Division Series. "He was in complete control".
The Dodgers opened the best-of-five series with a 6-0 victory Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, with Hyun-Jin Ryu limiting the Braves to four hits over seven innings and Max Muncy hitting a three-run homer in the second.
Kershaw was even better.
BC-BBN-NLDS-Baby Braves Struggle, 1st Ld-Writethru, 791Baby Braves blanked in Atlanta's 1st playoff game since 2013AP Photo LAD137, LAD133, LAD117Eds: With AP Photos.
Kershaw starting the opener has always been the surest sign that it's October. It was amusing to see Kershaw start working like late-30s Greg Maddux and just making hitters put it in play where he wanted them to. "That's all I was trying to do".
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. Jerry Reuss and Burt Hooton did it in 1981, against Houston and Montreal.
The Dodgers, winners of six straight going back to the do-or-die games that ended their regular season, joined the 1921 New York Yankees as the only teams with shutouts in their first two games of a single postseason, according to Stats LLC.
They recorded their first consecutive shutouts since Games 2 and 3 of the 2016 NL Championship Series against the Cubs.
Braves starter Anibal Sanchez (0-1) gave up three runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings with a walk and three strikeouts.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the first inning after Pederson's home run, but Foltynewicz struck out Yasiel Puig to end the threat. It was the first time EVER that Kershaw entered the eighth inning of a playoff start. "And it was good for him to experience this", Snitker said. Nick Markakis went 0 for 3 with a strikeout, and Albies was 0 for 3.
The Dodgers explosive batting order did not skip a beat from the regular season.
Kershaw ran out to the mound as though he was going to pitch the ninth, bringing cheers from the sellout crowd of 54,452. Los Angeles has a chance to close out the series with a sweep behind Walker Buehler who has pitched VERY well recently. "I mean, it's just our whole lineup is having a hard time".
"The plan all along was if they burned their bench, which is what we wanted to do and Flowers came out, that Kenley had the ninth", he said.
Foltynewicz (0-1) lasted just two innings, giving up four runs on three hits with three walks. Turner followed Pederson's homer with a double and Muncy walked.
Yasmani Grandal also went deep, his coming in the fifth inning. Fast forward to game 163 for the Dodgers, the same thing happened except this time it was for a division title. In fact, I already noticed the backlash against "playoff Kershaw" when Braves wunderkind Acuna led off with a double.
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Bill Russell, the shortstop of the Dodgers record-setting 1973-81 infield, and the team's manager from 1996-98.