The Atlanta Braves enter tonight’s Game 2 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a must-win situation. If the Braves lose tonight, not only do they need to go to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4 (if needed), but they’ll have to win three straight to move onto the NLCS. That means they need to beat Clayton Kershaw in Game 5 which they failed miserably attempting to do last night.
The Braves are going to have another tough challenge with tonight’s starter Zack Greinke. Due to how amazing Kershaw was this season, I don’t think many people realize how good Greinke really was for the Dodgers.
Zack put up a 15-4 record with a 2.63 ERA. On any other team, those are the stats of an ace, but with Kershaw on the same team, Greinke gets bumped back just a little bit. With a win tonight against the Braves, however, he’ll be on an equal playing field with Kershaw through the first two games of the NLDS.
Braves starter Mike Minor is going to have to bring his best game in order for the Braves to have a chance at beating Greinke. Kris Medlen bowed out to Kershaw last night in just four innings, and if Minor does something similar tonight against Greinke, then the Braves will leave Atlanta winless and may frankly be swept.
With all that being said, Greinke needs to keep the Braves’ bats in check and pitch deep into the game. If Zack does, that then the NLDS will be all but over for the Braves even before the weekend gets here.