MLB Atlanta BravesLos Angeles DodgersMLB Playoffs

5 Players Who Must Deliver in Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Series

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5 Players Who Must Deliver

Kelley L. Cox - USA Today Sports

When you look at a series between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers, you have two very similar teams squaring off. They are one and two in baseball in ERA and they are fifth and sixth on opponent's batting average with the Braves leading ERA and the Dodgers leading in opponent’s BAA.

When it comes to offense, both teams feature mediocre lineups, with the Braves 13th in runs and the Dodgers 17th. But both of these lineups consist of high profile guys who have the capability of putting together a huge game even though the overall numbers might not always show it.

The Dodgers have Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez but will be without Matt Kemp for the postseason. The Braves, on the other hand, are led by Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann and Justin Upton. All of these guys are big time players and will be the biggest threats to their opponent’s pitching staffs.

In terms of expectations, you would have to think that it would be more of a disappointment for the Dodgers if they didn’t advance. With all the money they invested into their payroll it would certainly be a disappointing season to exit in the first round of the playoffs.

The Braves just keep winning division titles. After a five year hiatus they have won two straight but would surely like it to translate into winning a few pennants. The quest for both teams starts tomorrow night, and here are five players on either side who must deliver if their team is going to advance.

Zach Slotter is a contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page and add him on Google.

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5. Elliot Johnson

Brett Davis - USA Today Sports

With rumor that Dan Uggla might not make the postseason roster the Braves might turn to Johnson at second base. They just need him to play solid defense and get on base and let the big bats drive in the runs.

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4. Kenley Jansen

Gary A. Vasquez - USA Today Sports

Jansen has been great this year with 28 saves and a 1.88 ERA. But when the closer in the other dugout is Craig Kimbrel, it is important that if your team gives you a lead, you absolutely cannot blow it.

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3. Justin Upton

Brett Davis - USA Today Sports

One Upton brother didn’t really work out this season, but Justin did hit 27 home runs this year. However, 12 of his 27 home runs and 19 of his 70 RBI came in April. The Braves need April Upton back if they are going to score enough runs to win.

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2. Clayton Kershaw

Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA Today Sports

You might think why does an ace have the most to prove here, but it’s because of his postseason struggles. The Dodgers have the edge in starting pitching, but Kershaw has a 5.87 career postseason ERA. He has to get two wins ideally for the Dodgers to advance in this series.

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1. Carl Crawford

Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA Today Sports

The injury to Kemp leaves manager Don Mattingly no choice but to go with an outfield of Puig, Andre Ethier and Crawford. Crawford hit .283 this year but only stole 15 bases and drove in 31 runs. He needs more production without Kemp.