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The Case for the Atlanta Braves Over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series

October 3rd, 2013 at 9:05 AM
By Cody Fields

The Los Angeles Dodgers enter the National League Division Series as favorites over the Atlanta Braves with the vast majority of the media, but should that actually be so?

Yes, the Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke pitching the first two games and Hanley Ramirez has just been ridiculous this season, but that's not everything that constitutes a team.

Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier won't be playing, which creates a huge hole to fill. The magic that was Yasiel Puig has died out; he's hit just .195 in his last 24 games.

And consider the Braves, who come in with the NL's second highest average in Chris Johnson, a legitimate MVP candidate in Freddie Freeman, the shortstop in the middle of the best season ever in Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward, who's just been dominant as a lead-off hitter.

Kris Medlen enters as one of the hottest starting pitchers in the big leagues, and the Atlanta bullpen has just blown opposing teams away this year, especially in the ninth when it's Craig Kimbrel's time to strikeout the side.

It's true the the Dodgers had to go on an impressive run to get to first place in the National League West, but they limped to the regular season finish line with a 12-15 September record. The Braves weren't that much better at 13-14, but they still managed 96 wins compared to LA's 92, and the Braves actually had another team over .500 in their division.

Finally, the mere absence of Dan Uggla from the Braves' roster has practically guaranteed at least a win in this series. Don't forget that.

Also…

 

Photo credit: baseball.schedule / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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Tags: Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Chris Johnson, Clayton Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel, Dan Uggla, Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp, MLB, Yasiel Puig, Zack Greinke

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