MLB Atlanta BravesLos Angeles DodgersMLB Playoffs

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Atlanta Braves NLDS 2013: 5 Matchups That Could Sway The Series

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5 Matchups Could Make All The Difference

Dodgers and Braves are pretty even teams, but these 5 matchups could sway it one way or the other for a team
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves are two days away from squaring off against each other in the first game of the best of five NLDS series. Each team has a few superstars, but both teams are very talented and equally matched. One of the teams may have a more talented superstar at a certain position than the other does, but in the long run, both teams are very similar on paper.

The Dodgers and Braves each have positives and negatives when it comes to every position on the depth chart. Not each hitter or pitcher is dominant, and not every player goes out every night and has a good game. The NLDS is a best of five series, and a lot of times a team’s season comes to an end a whole lot quicker than they would’ve hoped or even expected.

As stated above, the Dodgers and Braves are relatively close in talent at just about every position. Some positions the Dodgers dominate in, while others the Braves can claim to be better than the Dodgers in. However, there are a few matchups between the Braves and Dodgers that are very interesting. Although there are tons of potentially interesting matchups, these are the five that everyone should keep their eye on.

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Centerfield

Centerfield
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It's a position matchup that not many people will or have been talking about, but could pay dividends to either team if one of these two guys can step up. With Matt Kemp out with an injury, Andre Ethier will continue to play centerfield for the Dodgers, while B.J. Upton mans center for the Braves. Upton enters the series with a god awful .184 batting average, but Ethier enters the series with an ankle that's giving him a hard time. You have to wonder which of these two can step up the most. Is it Ethier with his bum ankle, or B.J. with his less than stellar batting average?

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Catchers

Catchers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Brian McCann and A.J. Ellis are the starting catchers for this NLDS series, but I don't think anyone actually realizes just how closely matched these two truly are. These two players are rather important in this series. If there is a play at the plate, a wild pitch or even a clutch hit needed, which of these two will step up and get the job done?

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Firstbase

Firstbase
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This is the closest and hardest matchup to predict, as both first basemen are phenomenal, with the edge going to the younger Freddie Freeman. However, in the postseason, is youth (Freeman) or veteran leadership (Adrian Gonzalez) more important? This matchup has the potential to solve that problem and answer that question.

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Closers

Closers
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

It's the ninth inning and you're up by one; this is where the dominant closer comes in handy. For the Braves, Craig Kimbrel has been nothing but lights out and spectacular, but his counter part hasn't been too bad either. Kenley Jansen has been great for the Dodgers, whether it's been in the set-up role or the closing role. No matter which team has the lead in the ninth, it's going to be very hard to get runs off of either of these two closers.

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Game 1 Starters

Game One Starters
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1 is always important in every series. You need to send out your best pitcher and hope he does what he should to get your team the victory. The Game 1 matchup of Clayton Kershaw and Kris Medlen is closer than what some may think. Medlen has pitched great at home, but Kershaw has pitched great everywhere. I give Kershaw the advantage on paper, but on the field, it may be a different story. Either way, this matchup may go on to be the most important one of the entire series.