Thursday’s Game 1 between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves pits NL Cy Young hopeful Clayton Kershaw against Kris Medlen. On paper, it doesn’t even seem to be a close contest between these two starting pitchers, but that isn’t exactly the case. Overall, Kershaw blows Medlen away with a 16-9 record, 232 strikeout and an outstanding ERA of 1.83 compared to Medlen, who was 15-12 with 157 strikeouts and a 3.11 ERA.
The game on Thursday will be in Atlanta, and Medlen has been very productive on his home field. He was 9-6 with a 2.26 ERA when pitching in Atlanta. Those are some very good stats for a player who was just above average overall. Kershaw was 8-3 with a 2.14 ERA on the road. That’s extremely impressive because pitching on the road is supposed to be harder than pitching home, but Kershaw can be great anywhere.
With both teams having a strong regular season, if one of their offenses can get hot in Game 1 and get one of these two pitchers a lead, that may be all it takes to get them the victory.
Kershaw is clearly the better pitcher, but with Medlen having the home-field advantage, he may be on an equal playing field with Clayton. My guess would be that Kershaw eventually outduels him, but it’s not going to be as easy as he or anyone else may think. If the Braves get to Kershaw early and often and Medlen can hold his own, the Braves may just head into Game 2 against Zack Greinke up in the series 1-0.