Clayton Kershaw: Dodgers Don’t See Rivalry Matchup With Braves

The Los Angeles Dodgers dropped two of three games to open the season against the Colorado Rockies, but since then have responded with back-to-back series sweeps of the Minnesota Twins and Cincinnati Reds.

L.A. now begins a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves, who they have faced in the National League Championship Series in each of the past two seasons, and four times in the postseason since 2013.

Both teams have been near the top of the National League during that time span, which has caused somewhat of a rivalry between them despite playing on opposite ends of the country.

While the rivalries make for a good storyline, players in the clubhouse aren’t focused much on it even if Dodgers fans may have a different view, Clayton Kershaw told Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:

“I don’t think we care much in the clubhouse, but I think rivalries, so to speak, different things, are good for the game, for sure,” Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw said last week. “If it creates more buzz, whatever, that’s fine with us.”

Since the Dodgers began their run of nine consecutive appearances in the postseason, they have given the Braves a lot of trouble over the regular season. During that stretch, L.A. is 30-17 against Atlanta, with their only losing season coming in 2013 when they went 2-5 in the season series.

Although the two clubs didn’t match up in the regular season during the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) impacted season, they Dodgers did defeat them in the NLCS after going down 3-1 in the series.

Since the 2013 season, the Dodgers have won three of their four series against Atlanta, going 12-9 in their matchups.

Kershaw is scheduled to start the first game of the series that also features Freddie Freeman and potentially Kenley Jansen facing their former team’s for the first time.

Roberts: Dodgers series versus Braves just another matchup

With the expanded postseason in MLB this year, the odds the Dodgers face the Braves once again are decreased, which puts a bit less importance on their early-season matchup between the clubs.

“It does, And I think that a lot of times when you face a really good ball club, like the Braves, people try to say is it’s a litmus test, a barometer,” Roberts said. “But I think that it’s a good ball club and we want to win a series.

“But yeah, with the expanded playoffs, I just think that right now we know our expectations, our goal. We got to get through these guys today and it’s gonna be a fun series. It’s a very good ballclub.

“They knocked us out of the postseason last year, but it’s a different year. So I would expect them to have the same focus as we do.”

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