Atlanta Braves Are Underdogs Against LA Dodgers

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Kris Medlen starts Game One against the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. Medlen ended the season with a 5-0 record and a 0.84 ERA in his final six starts.
Kris Medlen starts Game One against the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. Medlen ended the season with a 5-0 record and a 0.84 ERA in his final six starts.
- photo by Tim Evearitt

The Braves are making their 17th appearance in the last 22 postseasons, the most of any NL team. But for all the regular-season success -- 16 division titles and a Wild Card Game appearance in 2012 -- they have struggled in October.

Atlanta has lost in the first round in its past six appearances, dropping the NL Wild Card Game to St. Louis a year ago and losing in the NLDS in 2002, '03, '04, '05 and '10. The Braves are 7-16 combined in those six postseasons. In fact, since the advent of the League Championship Series in 1969, Atlanta has been eliminated in the first round in 10 of its previous 18 postseasons.

The Braves have won the final game of the season only once, beating the Indians in six games in the 1995 World Series. Atlanta lost in the World Series to Minnesota in 1991, Toronto in '92, and the New York Yankees in '96 and '99.

The Braves are 64-78 in postseason games since the advent of division play in 1969. Prior to '69, they appeared in four World Series. The Braves swept the Philadelphia A's in four games in 1914, lost to Cleveland in six games in '48, beat the Yankees in seven games in '57 and lost to the Yankees in seven games in '58.

After finishing the 1959 season tied with the Dodgers, the Braves were swept in a best-of-three tiebreaking series by Los Angeles, which went on to win the World Series. That is the only time prior to this year that the Braves and Dodgers played each other in the postseason.

The Dodgers won the first game of that showdown, 3-2, in Milwaukee, and the next day, in Los Angeles, they rallied from a three-run ninth-inning deficit for a 6-5, 12-inning win. Carl Furillo hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning off Warren Spahn to score the game-tying run and then delivered the game-winning single off Bob Rush, who retired the first two batters in the inning.

During the regular season, the Braves were an MLB-best 56-25 at home, winning 25 of their last 35 games at Turner Field.

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel has a 0.75 ERA against the Dodgers in his career. He also has struck out 19.5 Dodgers per nine innings, the best against an NL team.

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