While the Dodgers were on their way to dropping a 2-1 decision to the Colorado Rockies in their regular-season finale Sunday at Dodger Stadium, they learned whom they face in the National League division series.
The St. Louis Cardinals secured the best record in the NL, leaving the second-seeded Atlanta Braves to face the third-seeded Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs.
The first two games of the best-of-five series will be played in Atlanta on Thursday and Friday. The Dodgers will host Game 3 on Sunday. If necessary, Game 4 would be played in Los Angeles on Monday.
Game 5 would be in Atlanta on Wednesday.
“We’re going to bring it back to L.A., 2-0, and win it here,” first baseman Adrian Gonzalez told fans at the Dodgers’ postgame rally.
The Dodgers dropped five of seven games to the Braves in the regular season.
The Dodgers visited Atlanta in mid-May and were swept in three games. The Dodgers led all three of those games in the sixth inning or later.
“We understand as a bullpen we lost all those three games,” Kenley Jansen said. “But it’s a different bullpen now.”
Jansen wasn’t the team’s closer then. Ronald Belisario was pitching poorly. Brian Wilson wasn’t on the team. Chris Withrow was still in the minors.
The lineup has changed significantly too. When the Dodgers visited Turner Field, Hanley Ramirez was on the disabled list and Yasiel Puig was at double-A Chattanooga.
The Dodgers and Braves split a four-game series at Dodger Stadium in June.
The Braves never faced Clayton Kershaw, who will pitch opposite Kris Medlen in Game 1.
The Dodgers treated their game Sunday as if it were a spring-training game, shuttling players in and out of the lineup. Hyun-Jin Ryu, who probably will start Game 3 of the division series, pitched four innings in an abbreviated start. He was charged with two runs and eight hits in four innings.
Puig was held out of the lineup but said he would be ready for the start of the playoffs. … The Dodgers finished the season with a total of 3,743,527 tickets sold to their 81 home games, the most in the major leagues. … With Ramirez taking the day off and Nick Punto still sidelined by an ingrown toenail, Michael Young started at shortstop. … Reliever Paco Rodriguez was in Arizona for the birth of his first child.