Kershaw Masterful As Dodgers Beat The Braves 3-0

Dodgers fans belt out support in game 1

Kevin Gausman will likely start Game 3 for the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The young Atlanta Braves never got into the swing in their NL Division Series opener, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-0.

With Sandy Koufax sitting in the front row, Clayton Kershaw pitched the best post-season game of his career, motivated partly by being passed over as the Dodgers' Game 1 starter.

They recorded their first consecutive shutouts since Games 2 and 3 of the 2016 NL Championship Series against the Cubs. He only struck out one hitter (Nick Markakis looking on a handsome curveball to end the first with Acuna standing on third) through seven incredibly efficient innings (73 pitches). "He'll still be in play", Roberts said.

Los Angeles Dodgers' South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin has come a long way to reach where he was standing Thursday, in the afterglow of the best postseason start of his career.

Statistics indicate pitchers are less effective the third time they face the opposing lineup. (His four scoreless innings in relief in Game 7 of last year's World Series have probably been forgotten by now, but... they happened.) His dominance tonight has to make Dodger fans giddy.

It remains very early in the 2018 postseason, but the Dodgers' decision to be less reliant on Kershaw for October glory already seems to be paying dividends. Roberts said it was done to give both Ryu and Kershaw five days of rest between starts. Joc Pederson doubled leading off.

Kershaw (1-0) gave up just two hits and did not walk a batter while recording three strikeouts in an 85-pitch outing.

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Yasmani Grandal also went deep, his coming in the fifth inning.

"I wasn't sure how I was going to feel, and I was a little nervous before the game, but there is a lot of experience on this team and that really helped me out", said Muncy, who was playing in his first postseason game. Ex-Dodger Charlie Culberson grounded into a fielder's choice to shortstop, with Inciarte out at second.

Ryu threw a season-high 104 pitches in this one.

"Back then (in 2015), I chose to have shoulder surgery, obviously so that I could be back on the mound again", Ryu said.

Acuna and fellow rookie Ozzie Albies were held in check, as were veterans Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis.

"It would be one or two of us", Kershaw said, smiling. "And the way Dylan's been throwing the baseball and kind of how he matched up with certain guys on their roster, we felt good about that".

Braves manager Brian Snitker said he is leaning toward using the 27-year-old right-hander when the series shifts to Atlanta on Sunday. The Braves got nothing going offensively and could only watch while the Dodgers sluggers launched multiple homers. In seven postseason appearances, he is 2-4 with a 2.79 ERA. He was 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 10 starts for the Braves. Buehler last pitched on Monday, allowing one hit in 6 2/3 innings and striking out three in the NL West tiebreaker victory over the Rockies.

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