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Atlanta Braves (97-68) at Los Angeles Dodgers (94-71)
Monday, October 07 - 9:30 PM EST
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers attempt to finish off Atlanta and advance to the National League Championship Series when they host the Braves in Monday’s Game 4 of the Division Series. The Dodgers matched the franchise record for runs scored in a postseason game while drubbing Atlanta 13-6 in Sunday’s Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. Los Angeles announced on Monday afternoon that it was starting Game 1 winner Kershaw over struggling Ricky Nolasco.
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez continued his assault on Braves pitchers by going 3-for-4 with two RBIs in Game 3 and has six extra-base hits in the series. Ramirez is 7-for-13 with six RBIs in the three games while outfielder Yasiel Puig is 6-for-13 with four runs scored and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is 5-for-14 with four RBIs. The Braves had just one run and three hits in seven innings off Kershaw in Game 1 when the likely National League Cy Young winner posted 12 strikeouts for his first career victory over Atlanta.
TV: 9:37 p.m. ET, TBS
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Freddy Garcia (1-2, 1.65 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83)
An injury to Paul Maholm has led to the journeyman getting the call in an elimination game. Garcia was discarded by San Diego and Baltimore this season before landing with the Braves and he gave up four runs in 19 2/3 innings in three September starts. He is 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers.
Kershaw is pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his career after tossing 124 pitches in the opener. The club originally planned to start Nolasco – who allowed 17 earned runs in 12 innings over his last three starts – before announcing the change about six hours before game time. Kershaw led the majors in ERA and WHIP (0.92) and had an NL-leading 232 strikeouts.
1. Ramirez joined Jim Edmonds as the only players with six extra-base hits in their first three postseason games and he also tied Steve Garvey’s franchise record from the 1978 NLCS.
2. Braves OF Justin Upton was hitless in three at-bats against Kershaw in the opener to drop his career mark against the left-hander to 3-for-32 with 10 strikeouts.
3. LF Carl Crawford hit a three-run homer and 3B Juan Uribe hit a two-run blast in Sunday’s game as the Dodgers matched the franchise postseason record for runs set in Game 2 of the 1956 World Series – while the organization was located in Brooklyn.
PREDICTION: Dodgers 8, Braves 2