The Braves road to the World Series got off to a very rocky start as they dropped the opening game of the NLDS 6-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Things started off well when Braves starter Kris Medlen struck out the side to open the game, but it was all downhill from there.
In the top of the 2nd, Yasiel Puig got things going when he singled to the shortstop side of second base to beat the shift. Puig advanced to third on a Juan Uribe single, and scored on a sac fly to centerfield off the bat of Skip Schumaker. The Dodgers increased their lead to two runs when AJ Ellis dropped a double down the left field line that was comically misplayed by Evan Gattis. It was 2-0 at the end of two innings and the Braves were in a deep hole facing the best pitcher in baseball Clayton Kershaw.
The Braves hole was dug even deeper when Adrian Gonzalez smashed a two run homer to straightaway center off Medlen. A lot of the damage to Medlen was done via bloops and dinks, but that was a straight up bomb and the Braves would never seriously threaten the Dodgers after this. AJ Ellis delivered his second double in the top of the fourth, and scored by way of a Mark Ellis single up the middle to make it 5-0.
The Braves would mount their only semblance of offense in the bottom of the 4th, which was led off with a Freddie Freeman single. In a shocking development, Evan Gattis walked on four pitches and Brian McCann sent a loud out to the warning track. The McCann just-missed homer was one of many chances the Braves let slip by them on the night. Chris Johnson followed McCann’s flyout with a single to score the Braves only run of the night and make it 5-1. The Braves threat ended though when Andrelton Simmons struck out and the Johnson single was actually the catalyst that led to Kershaw striking out nine of the next eleven Braves batters.
The Braves attempted to mount a comeback off Jensen in the ninth inning, but Eliot Johnson struck out with two runners on base to end the Braves final threat.
Overall, it was a dominant performance from Kershaw and the Dodgers but it is only one game. The Braves will need a better performance from Mike Minor than they got from Medlen, and they will need the offense to capitalize on its chances if they want to make any noise in this series.