Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on September 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Kris Medlen #54 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the sixth inning to the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on August 13, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Kris Medlen #54 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the sixth inning to the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on August 13, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Tonight starts the National League Division series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. This is the start of both teams’ bids for their first World Series crowns in the 21st century. The battle will start out for the first two games in Atlanta for the five-game series. Home field advantage went to the Braves after winning the NL East and having a better record than the Dodgers.

But, the Dodgers have proven throughout the year that they thrive under pressure when the odds are against them. The Boys in Blue were last in their division at the end of May, but finished the season on top of the NL West and won the division by 11 games.

The Braves won five of the seven games between the two squads this season. Will the Braves continue their quality play into the postseason? Or will the Dodgers overcome another obstacle with the series?

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Game Details:

Who: Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70) at Atlanta Braves (96-66)

What: NLDS Game 1

Where: Turner Field in Atlanta, GA

When: 8:37 pm EST

TV Channel: TBS

Pitching Matchup: LAD Clayton Kershaw (16-9 with 1.83 ERA) vs. ATL Kris Medlen (15-12 with 3.11 ERA)

Blogger Predictions:

Julian Lopez (@JuliansDayOff22) of Lasorda’s Lair thinks Dee Gordon is a sneaky impact player for the Dodgers that could bring success to the team in these playoffs–think Dave Roberts of the 2004 Red Sox. All Gordon needs is to be on basepaths to be effective. At the end of the game, if he’s a pinch runner, that could be an X-factor in a close ball-game.

“In the five games from September 10th to the 15th, Gordon entered the game as a pinch runner twice and had three stolen bases. Gordon is one of the fastest players in the league and reminds a lot of Dodger fans of the speed that the great Maury Wills had. Wills played for the Dodgers from 1959 to 1966 and again from 69 to 72. Wills holds the Dodger record for most steals in a single season with 104 and most career with 490. Mattingly is very creative with his double switches during the game and will put Gordon on base in critical situations in the playoffs.”

Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, admires the defensive prowess of the Braves shortstop. However, he believes the star power of the Dodgers is too much for Atlanta and with the way Los Angeles has been hitting the ball compared to the way the Braves have been doing more complaining than playing lately, the Dodgers will ultimately be more focused and come out on top in this series.

“Andrelton Simmons…[is] not only the best defensive shortstop in baseball, he’s arguably one of the best you’ve ever seen, and even though he can’t really hit, he’s somehow managed to put 17 homers out of the park…He’s not going to get any MVP love, but he probably should…Still, Kershaw, Greinke, Puig, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez can right a lot of wrongs. Dodgers in five.”

Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on September 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on September 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Ron Gleeson (@rtgleeson) of Rant Sports looks to this Los Angeles/Atlanta series as the marquee matchup of the playoffs, having the biggest stars and the greatest potential of the NL playoff contenders.

“The Atlanta Braves-Los Angeles Dodgers matchup is, in my mind, the most intriguing and entertaining matchup of any divisional series in 2013. Prediction: Braves win series 3-2.

 

Ben Berkon (@BenBerkon) of Bleacher Report doesn’t believe Kershaw’s success will translate into these playoffs and the Braves will take game 1 of a series with two of the deepest teams in the playoffs.

“With both teams possessing some of the league’s best talent, Game 1 is certainly up for grabs. Even with Clayton Kershaw kicking off the playoffs for the Dodgers, the Braves could still find ways to best the league’s finest starter.”

 

Ashleigh Binder (@SportsAsTold) of Sports As Told By A Girl looks for Clayton Kershaw to take his success to the next level in the playoffs, making the Braves whiff early and often and giving Los Angeles an early lead in the series with a win tonight.

“I have to go with the Dodgers.  If you have watched Clayton Kershaw at all this season, you know just how dominant he has been. The Braves rely on the home run ball for most of their offense.  The Braves strike out including the Upton brothers combining for over 300 strikeouts. Kershaw has only surrendered ELEVEN home runs this season. Kershaw has a 1.83 ERA winning 16 games, despite receiving the worst run support in the league; proving he can win when his team only scores one run. The only factor working against Kershaw is the fact that he has never faced the Braves.  Kris Medlen, Atlanta’s starting pitcher, has faced the Dodgers and has had a lot of success against them.  However, I see this game as Kershaw showing baseball that he is not only a dominant pitcher in the regular season, but he can deliver when it matters.”

 

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Here’s a roundup of fan predictions from Twitter. Want to be featured in a future post? Send your predictions to @movoliSports!

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