Breaking down Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium:
Dodgers 5, Braves 0: Dodgers lead the series 1-0.
Game: The Dodgers, without Clayton Kershaw on the mound, cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Braves, who returned to the postseason for the first time since 2013.
The Dodgers put on a power display early and late to account for five of six runs. Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz, who allowed 17 homers over 183 innings during the regular season, coughed up two of them in his first 12 batters.
Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, who set the franchise record for leadoff home runs this year, hit a leadoff homer and Max Muncy added a three-run rainbow shot in the second inning to stake Hyun-Jin Ryu to a 4-0 lead.
Enrique Hernandez added a solo homer off Brad Bach in the sixth inning for a 5-0 lead.
Ryu was exceptionally sharp with his command, using a combination of cutters, curves and change-ups to put a very aggressive offensive team on its heels. In the end, he allowed four hits — all singles — and struck out eight with no walks over seven innings.
State of the series: The Dodgers head into Game 2 on Friday (9:37 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1) with the clear advantage. They have their ace Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 2.73 ERA) on the mound. While Kershaw wasn’t thrilled with the decision not to start Game 1, he accepted it. “I don’t need to prove myself to anyone,” he said. Kershaw’s presence on the mound alone is daunting, but he’s had his struggles in October, posting a 7-7 record with a 4.35 ERA. The Braves counter with Anibal Sanchez, who was 7-6 with a 2.83 ERA this season.
Pivot point: It didn’t take long. On the third pitch of the game from Foltynewicz, Pederson sent a 98 mph fastball 400 feet over the right center field for a home run. Forty-seven pitches later, Foltynewicz was relieved from the game with a 4-0 deficit.
Man of the moment: Max Muncy, who was a non-roster invitee to spring training and wasn’t added to the 40-man roster until his call-up April 17, slugged a three-run homer in the second inning that lifted the Dodgers to 4-0 lead. He also played a big part in the tiebreaker game against the Colorado Rockies, connecting on a two-run homer in the win. Before 2018, he had five home runs to his credit. In 2018, he led the Dodgers and finished tied for fifth in the National League with 35 home runs.
What you missed on TV: Manny Machado jerseys were spotted in the stands — but with his namesake in a Baltimore Orioles uniform. What fan wouldn’t want to part ways with the Orioles, who lost a franchise-record 115 games, and be traded along with Machado to Hollywood.
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