Whether or not it was Magic Johnson purchasing the Dodgers to relieve the franchise of the stigma that was the Frank McCourt era, the boys in blue are off to an incredible start. They won nine of their first 10 games, they're tied for the best record in the NL, and Matt Kemp is abusing the baseball so much it's insane. So far this month, Kemp leads all of MLB with a .450 avg., nine home runs and 22 RBI. He's only gone hitless in two of his first 16 games and has an RBI in all but four games. Kemp also proclaimed that he could post the first 50 HR/50 SB season in history; he's well on his way in the home run department, but only has one successful stolen base in three attempts.
In addition, Andre Ethier is right behind Kemp with 21 RBI and is hitting .279 with four home runs. During the offseason, the Dodgers signed a few free agents, two of them starting pitchers whom the Braves will face in this series: Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang. Closer Javy Guerra has recorded seven saves with a 2.16 ERA and shortstop Dee Gordon is second in MLB with eight stolen bases.
As for the pitching staff, 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw anchors the starting rotation with a 1.61 ERA and Chad Billingsley had only walked one batter in his first three starts while posting a 1.33 ERA before getting shelled in his most recent start. The good news for the Braves is that neither of them will start in this series.
The Braves will see two lefty starters in the series, and that would normally not be good for Atlanta hitters as they hit a paltry .228 against LHP in 2011. This year, however, the Braves are hitting .282 against lefties, having hit six of the team's 18 home runs against them.
Pitching matchups and Dodgers roster after the jump.
Monday, April 23: 10:10 p.m. ET
#49 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jan 29, 1986
|2012 - Jair Jurrjens||0-1||3||3||0||0||0||0||13.1||21||12||12||5||9||8||8.10||2.25|
#35 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers
Aug 19, 1978
|2012 - Chris Capuano||1-0||3||3||0||0||0||0||16.0||14||8||8||2||7||15||4.50||1.31|
Tuesday, April 24: 10:10 p.m. ET
#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Dec 26, 1987
|2012 - Mike Minor||2-1||3||3||0||0||0||0||20.1||13||9||7||0||5||19||3.10||.89|
#44 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers
May 09, 1978
|2012 - Aaron Harang||1-1||3||3||0||0||0||0||16.2||19||11||10||2||8||23||5.40||1.62|
Wednesday, April 25: 10:10 p.m. ET
#37 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Sep 03, 1986
|2012 - Brandon Beachy||2-1||3||3||0||0||0||0||19.1||11||5||1||0||6||14||0.47||.88|
#29 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers
Jan 04, 1976
|2012 - Ted Lilly||2-0||2||2||0||0||0||0||13.0||6||2||1||0||7||9||0.69||1.00|
L - Scott Elbert
R - Javy Guerra (closer)
R - Matt Guerrier
R - Kenley Jansen
R - Josh Lindblom
R - Mike MacDougal
R - Jamey Wright
C - A.J. Ellis
1B - James Loney
2B - Mark Ellis
3B - Juan Uribe
SS - Dee Gordon
OF - Andre Ethier
OF - Juan Rivera
OF - Matt Kemp
OF - Tony Gwynn Jr.
UT - Jerry Hairston Jr.
IF - Adam Kennedy
IF - Justin Sellers
C - Matt Treanor