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National League Division Series Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, October 3rd (All times Eastern)

Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70) at Atlanta Braves (96-66), 8:37 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Los Angeles - Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83) Atlanta - Kris Medlen (15-12, 3.11)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Braves won their first National League East title since 2005 thanks in part to their strong play at home.

They hope to keep that home cooking going on Thursday when they begin the best-of-five National League Division Series versus the Los Angeles Dodgers at Turner Field.

Atlanta's ballpark was a house of horrors for visiting clubs this season, as the Braves compiled a major league best 56-25 (.691) mark there and were 25-10 in Dixie since late July.

Wire-to-wire leaders in the division, Atlanta is back in the postseason for the third time in the last four years. A 14-game winning streak and a 20-4 stretch from late July through August propelled the Braves, but they seemed to take their foot of the pedal late and lost 13 of the last 24 games to close out the regular season.

"At the end of the day, you've got to win ballgames," Braves outfielder Justin Upton said. "That is what the playoffs are all about. Everybody is 0-0. They have to win as many games as you do. That's just the way it is. No matter who it is, we have to beat the team that is in front of us."

The Braves released their roster on Wednesday and a familiar face was left off, as the team opted to sit second baseman Dan Uggla, who hit an atrocious .179 despite 22 home runs. Elliot Johnson is expected to start at second on Thursday.

Getting the call for Atlanta in Game 1 will be righty Kris Medlen, one of four Braves pitchers who recorded 10 or more wins in the regular season. Medlen again finished his season strong and was named the NL's Pitcher of the Month for September for the second year in a row. He went 4-0 in five starts during the month and ended the year 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA.

"Everything is magnified, one little mistake is a lot bigger in these kinds of situations," said Medlen, who lost the Braves' wild card game in 2012. "You just have to try to not get too ahead of yourself and live in the moment. It's an unbelievable experience and it was a lot of fun last year. Even though we didn't come out on top, it was just a great experience and I don't expect anything different this time around, other than a win."

Medlen went 1-0 in two starts against the Dodgers in the regular season and is 3-0 with a 1.23 earned run average in eight career matchups (3 starts) with them.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, found itself 9 1/2 games back in the NL West on June 22 and seemed to be close to firing manager Don Mattingly. However, the team rattled off 42 wins in 50 games and claimed its 12th division title since 1969.

Atlanta lost seven players to season-ending injuries this season, but the Dodgers have some concerns of their own. Outfielder Matt Kemp is done for the year with a ankle injury, while Andre Ethier has not played since Sept. 13 because of an ankle issue of his own.

"If you don't have Andre and you don't have Matt, you're not as good as you could be," Mattingly said. "But we're still good enough to win."

The Dodgers are good enough to win if Adrian Gonzalez, young Cuban phenom Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez stay consistent at the plate. Gonzalez led the Dodgers in batting average (.293), hits (171), home runs (22), runs batted in (100) and reached the 100-RBI mark for the sixth time in his career. Puig busted out on the scene by hitting four home runs in his first five games, a club record, and was named NL Player of the Month and NL Rookie of the Month for June. All eyes will be on Puig now that Kemp is gone for a Dodgers club that was sixth in the majors with a .264 average.

Ramirez struggled to stay healthy this season and appears to be ready for the stretch run. Ramirez had a lower back issue and batted .345 with 20 homers and 57 RBI in 86 games.

Dodgers left-handed ace Clayton Kershaw will get the ball in Game 1 after a terrific season that will likely net him another NL Cy Young Award. Kershaw led the major leagues with a minuscule 1.83 ERA and was 6-2 with a 1.61 ERA in his last nine starts and finished 16-9 with an NL-best 232 strikeouts.

Kershaw posted his fourth consecutive season with 200 or more strikeouts, and allowed a .195 batting average -- .202 to right-handed hitters and .165 to left-handed hitters.

"He's definitely at the top of his craft," said Upton. "He's one of those guys, you can tell when you see him out before games, when he's not pitching, he's preparing, so you know he's one of those guys that when he steps on the mound, he's prepared. You just have to be prepared to go at him, too."

Like Atlanta the Dodgers stumbled to the finish line, going 12-15 in September. Since the advent of the wild card in 1995, only three times has a team with a losing record in the final month of the season won the World Series: the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals (12-17), the '00 New York Yankees (13-17) and the 1997 Florida Marlins (12-15).

Atlanta won five of its seven matchups with the Dodgers this season. However, these teams haven't met in the postseason since the Braves swept the NLDS back in 1996.

10/03 10:23:10 ET

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Dallas

    Today at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Sun Bowl: Duke vs. Arizona State

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs Cleveland

    Today at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • WCBB: Duke vs. Kentucky

    Today at 3:00 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Hurricanes at NY Rangers

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Louisiana Tech at NC State

    Tuesday at 7:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
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MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
Final
UNCW 66
ECU 54
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CAR 2
NYR 3
Final
CHA 104
UTA 86
Final
WVU 83
NCSU 69
1:00pm Today
CAR
CLE
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
 
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
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NOP 88
POR 114
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CHA 104
UTA 86
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HOU 97
ATL 104
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DAL 99
SAN 93
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DEN 76
IND 73
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LAC 106
MIL 102
3:30pm Today
TOR
NYK
 
4:30pm Today
CLE
MEM
 
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
BOS
 
6:00pm Tonight
BRK
DET
 
6:00pm Tonight
SAC
LAL
 
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ORL
PHI
 
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WAS
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
IND
 
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OKC
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LALAF 16
NEV 3
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UTEP 6
UTST 21
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COLST 10
UTAH 45
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AFA 38
WMICH 24
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BGU 33
SALABAMA 28
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
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WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
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CIN 47
VCU 68
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BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
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PROV 85
UMASS 65
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AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
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UNC 82
OSU 74
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IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
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VILL 82
SYR 77
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VT 64
CITA 61
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DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
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FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
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YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
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FD 76
DEL 74
 
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PSU 73
DREX 68
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UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
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ILL 62
MIZZ 59
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CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
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LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
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HOU 63
SCST 71
 
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FSU 75
SFLA 62
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BING 51
BONA 69
 
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RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
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MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
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JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
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GT 65
VANDY 60
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INDST 56
EILL 60
 
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BUT 73
IND 82
Final
STEPH 94
ARTCH 57
 
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OREG 83
DELST 70
 
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Terriers 61
FATL 56
 
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TXARL 89
HPYN 50
 
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KU 96
LAF 69
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ARKST 67
MARS 58
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MEM 78
ORU 63
Final
KNST 53
UMBC 66
 
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NW 67
WMICH 61
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MIZST 65
EMICH 77
 
Final
CHIST 76
STJOE 54
 
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KENT 83
UCLA 44
Final
COC 68
DAVID 80
Final
RIU 69
DET 55
Final
UCR 78
HOUB 67
 
Final
MURST 89
ILLST 77
 
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NWST 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
WAGN 66
MON 74
 
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MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
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PITT 81
OU 77
Final
TENNM 77
PBY 60
 
Final
WYO 57
SOUTH 39
 
Final
AFA 75
UCD 81
Final
MSST 51
USCU 53
 
Final
JMU 71
HIGH 80
 
Final
TXST 90
HTILL 56
 
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DRAK 54
ISU 83
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SHU 73
UNH 60
 
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SCU 72
NE 78
 
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MSU 64
TXSOU 71
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UF 63
WAKE 50
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ND 94
PURD 63
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SHSU 61
PVU 44
 
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AUB 89
XAV 88
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AKR 92
BLUFFTON 53
 
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DAY 78
BU 62
 
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UNCW 66
ECU 54
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CLMB 82
HOF 77
 
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GMAS 86
IONA 81
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TOWS 53
LAS 67
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MAN 73
MRGST 69
 
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CCST 76
YALE 84
 
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PEPP 63
RICH 65
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MAR 58
STJOE 75
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KYST 71
TEXAM 64
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MAST 72
VALPO 75
 
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UMKC 104
INCWORD 110
 
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IDST 50
CALST 59
 
Final
NIOWA 56
IOWA 44
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SIUE 61
UWMIL 56
 
Final
TEX 78
LBSU 68
Final
TCU 88
TXSA 57
Final
ARK 84
SEMIZ 67
Final
NCOL 69
JVST 60
 
Final
ARST 81
LEH 84
 
Final
NMST 67
NMU 69
 
Final
WASH 69
OKLA 67
Final
GRCN 81
STED 55
 
Final
WEBER 73
WLVRN 61
 
Final
WVU 83
NCSU 69
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SDST 70
BST 57
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GONZ 63
CPSL 50
Final
PAC 71
FRES 68
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PORT 87
MNTST 60
 
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CSNO 68
TAMCC 75
 
Final
UTST 65
SDKST 68
 
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BYU 79
STAN 77
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UNLV 46
UTAH 59
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UVA
HARV
 
1:00pm Today
BGU
FERST
 
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ARMY
MAINE
 
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USF
 
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CARK
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CAN
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GHND
 
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MD
 
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NEOM
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STLU
VERM
 
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UNCA
WCU
 
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HART
FIU
 
2:35pm Today
VALPO
GOSHEN
 
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BRY
 
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SD
 
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MTST
TENST
 
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SAMF
LAMON
 
3:30pm Today
SCAR
COKR
 
4:00pm Today
HAMP
NARZ
 
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SDU
SDCHR
 
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BC
USC
 
4:30pm Today
NICST
TROY
 
4:30pm Today
BRAD
UCI
 
6:00pm Tonight
UGA
SHU
 
6:30pm Tonight
ALA
APP
 
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KSU
NDST
 
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WASU
SJST
 
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UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
Final
LOS 4
ARI 2
Final
CLB 3
CHI 2
Final
BUF 1
COL 5
Final
PIT 3
FLA 1
Final
CAR 2
NYR 3
Final
MON 4
OTT 1
Final
TOR 4
PHI 7
Final
NYI 3
TAM 1
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NJD 0
WAS 4
Final
MIN 5
NAS 6
Final
VAN 3
CAL 2
Final
SJS 3
STL 2
6:00pm Tonight
DET
COL
 
6:00pm Tonight
EDM
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
 
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
 
Final
WAS 27
PHI 24
Final
SFX 35
SDC 38
1:00pm Today
NOS
ATL
1:00pm Today
HOU
BAL
1:00pm Today
CAR
CLE
1:00pm Today
CHI
DET
1:00pm Today
TAM
GBP
1:00pm Today
PIT
KAN
1:00pm Today
MIA
MIN
1:00pm Today
NYJ
NEP
4:05pm Today
STL
NYG
4:25pm Today
OAK
BUF
4:25pm Today
DAL
IND
8:30pm Tonight
ARI
SEA