The Dodgers have reached the postseason in each of the last seven seasons. In six of those seasons, Clayton Kershaw has taken the ball for game one of the divisional round. The lone exception being last season, with Hyun-Jin Ryu spot in the rotation lining up with game one of the NLDS.
Tonight will be just the second time in the past eight postseasons that Kershaw does not pitch game one of the divisional series, this despite having a day more rest than Walker Buehler, the 25-year-old right-hander who will get the start.
According to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, Buehler is starting game one so that he will be available to start a decisive Game 5, if necessary.
Kershaw has been criticized at length for his performance in the postseason. His career ERA is 2.44, the lowest of any starter since 1920. However, in the postseason, Kershaw has posted a 4.32 ERA across 152 IP. That includes losses in the decisive Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS, the decisive Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS, and being roughed up twice in Games 1 and 5 of last year’s World Series.
Roberts hasn’t revealed his Game 2 starter yet, a competition between Kershaw and Ryu, who would be pitching on a full five days rest.
In the early game, former Yomiuri Giant Miles Mikolas will make his first postseason start, opposed by former Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel. The Cardinals are making their first postseason appearance since 2015, while the Braves look for their first postseason series win since 2001. Much is made of the Nationals being 0-4 in playoff series’, but the Braves are 0-7 since 2002, and that isn’t counting their infamous 2012 Wild Card defeat to the Cardinals.
Here are your lineups for the early game:
Lineups for the late night shenanigans will be posted when they are announced. Happy postseason to all!
UPDATE: Here are your lineups for the late game.