Dodgers vs. Braves NLDS 2013: Game 1 Lineups, Preview and Prediction

Clayton Kershaw

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The time we have all been waiting for is upon us as both of the 2013 MLB NLDS series begin today. The Los Angeles Dodgers have already traveled to the other side of the country and are prepared to face the Atlanta Braves at 5:30 PM PT Thursday night.

With the opening game of this series a mere hours away, the reported lineups (subject to change) are already posted on the teams’ websites. The starting lineup are as follows:

Dodgers
1. Carl Crawford LF
2. Mark Ellis 2B
3. Hanley Ramirez SS
4. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
5. Yasiel Puig RF
6. Juan Uribe 3B
7. Skip Schumaker CF
8. A.J. Ellis C
9. Clayton Kershaw P

Braves
1. Jason Heyward CF
2. Justin Upton RF
3. Freddie Freeman 1B
4. Evan Gattis LF
5. Brian McCann C
6. Chris Johnson 3B
7. Andrelton Simmons SS
8. Elliot Johnson 2B
9. Kris Medlen P

The Braves have some hearty hitters in their lineup, specifically in Freeman and Johnson. Freeman has been one of the surprises of the season, posting MVP-like numbers all season and Johnson’s contribution has certainly not gone unnoticed. Both are batting just about .320 on the season and have some considerable pop in their bats with a combined 35 home runs in the regular season. Further, with the return of recently-injured Heyward, the Braves get extra power in the batting lineup.

The Dodgers most certainly have their own barrage of offensive weapons, especially in Puig, Gonzalez, and Ramirez. Gonzalez has the lowest batting average of these three at .293 and all three have substantial power with 19, 22 and 20 home runs, respectively.

Both of these two teams’ lineups are fairly even in terms of power, so I have to give the slight edge to the Dodgers’ hitters who tend to have better batting averages and on-base percentages.

On the other end of the game, the Dodgers send out ace and likely Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw, to face off against the Braves’ Medlen. Kershaw has been great all season, boasting a sub-2.00 ERA and a WHIP of 0.915, which led the majors in both categories. Medlen, on the other hand, had a good but not great season. Nevertheless, he has been hot lately as Medlen finished the month of September with a 4-0 record in five starts, a 1.00 ERA, a 0.917 WHIP and 33 strikeouts.

My prediction is that the Dodgers will win this game off of a bit of offensive contribution and a shut down performance by Kershaw. I expect the Dodgers’ starter to go at least eight innings allowing one run or less. I do not expect Medlen to allow more than two or three runs, but I believe that he will stagger just enough for the Dodger batters to get the job done.

Whether I am right or not will be seen in just a few short hours. Either way, you can expect this to be a great baseball game.

Isaac Comelli is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @IsaacComelli, “Like” him on Facebook or follow him on Google.

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