Stats & Info: Jason Schmidt

Top stats to know: Dodgers vs. Braves

October, 3, 2013

AP PhotosKris Medlan and Clayton Kershaw will get the starting nods for the Braves and Dodgers in Game 1.
Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves begins tonight from Turner Field (8:37 ET/ESPN Radio).

The only other postseason meeting between these clubs was in the 1996 NLDS, which the Braves won 3-0.

Here are a few storylines to watch.

1. The Braves won the season series 5-2 and come into postseason play having won three of their last four overall. Atlanta has won 25 of its last 35 home games, but has not fared so well at Turner Field in the postseason lately.

Atlanta has lost three straight and 16 of its last 21 postseason games played in front of its home crowd, dating back to 1999.

The Dodgers clinched a playoff berth on Sept. 19. That might explain why they went 4-9 to finish the season (including losses in four of their last five games).

Los Angeles was the first team to win a division title after being at least 12 games under .500 at any point in the season since the 1989 Toronto Blue Jays.

In the playoffs, the Dodgers have lost three straight and 26 of their last 36 road games.

2. Braves starter Kris Medlen enters the postseason on a roll, going 5-0 with a 0.84 ERA in his last six starts.

He made two excellent starts against the Dodgers early in the season, allowing one run and seven hits in 13⅔ innings pitched.

3. One of the leading candidates for the National League Cy Young Award, left-hander Clayton Kershaw, will pitch for the Dodgers.

The Braves went an NL-best 25-16 in games in which the opposing starter was left-handed.

Kershaw has not recorded a decision in four career starts vs. the Braves, but does have a 2.45 ERA (he has not faced them since Sept. 4, 2011).

For the season, Kershaw sported a league-low 1.83 ERA. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the first postseason start by the ERA champion has not been stellar recently.

There have been 13 ERA-title winners to start a postseason game since 1999, going a combined 2-8 with a 4.29 ERA in those starts. The only two with a win were Johan Santana in 2004 for the Minnesota Twins and Jason Schmidt in 2003 for the San Francisco Giants.

4. Matchups to watch in this game include these two:

Hanley Ramirez vs.Kris Medlen: Ramirez is the only player on the Dodgers roster who has homered against Medlen. He’s 5-for-9 against him, though the two haven’t faced each other since the 2010 season.

Justin Upton vs. Clayton Kershaw: Upton and Kershaw did not face each other during the 2013 season, but they have plenty of matchup experience from Upton’s time with the Diamondbacks.

Upton is 3-for-29 with nine strikeouts against Kershaw, though he does have a single, double and triple in his last 11 at-bats against him.

5. Misc Notes
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Braves’ Justin and B.J. Upton will be the first set of brothers to play in a postseason game as teammates since the Molinas (Jose and Bengie) did so for the Angels in 2005.

The only pair of brothers to play in a playoff game for the Braves was Tommie and Hank Aaron in 1969. Both played in the second game of a three-game sweep at the hands of the New York Mets in the NLCS.

* Yasiel Puig went 8-for-16 with two home runs and five RBIs in four games against the Braves this season.

* Puig’s teammate, Adrian Gonzalez, however, didn’t have as much luck, hitting only .130 (3-for-23) in seven games against Atlanta in 2013.
Wednesday the Giants gave Cliff Lee his first career postseason loss. San Francisco chased Lee in the fifth inning racking up eight hits and seven runs (six earned). Lee entered the game with the third best postseason ERA in MLB history at 1.26. After Wednesday's start, that ERA is now 1.96, good for 18th all-time.
Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee, normally extremely efficient, threw 104 pitches in 4⅔ IP. That's tied for the second-most pitches in ANY postseason start with less than five IP since 2000 (farthest back for accurate pitch data). Jason Schmidt of the Giants also threw 104 pitches in 4⅔ IP in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series.

Here’s how the Giants got to Lee:
• Opponents entered Wednesday 3-28 against Lee's cutter in the postseason; the Giants were 3-10 on Wednesday, with all of the hits going for doubles. The difference was Lee threw more cutters than usual in the strike zone, especially on outside pitches. Fifteen of Lee's 18 (83.3 pct) outside cutters were in the strike zone, and the Giants doubled off two of them. In the first three games of the postseason, 60.0 pct of Lee's outside cutters were in the strike zone, and opponents had just one hit on them.

• The Giants did damage against all of Lee's outside pitches. Lee had made a living on the outside corner in the postseason, but the Giants made him pay in Game 1. Lee had allowed five hits on outside pitches in the ALDS and ALCS; the Giants had six hits on outside pitches in Game 1. Four of the six hits were on line drives or fly balls, as the Giants were able to elevate Lee's outside pitches.

Lee also didn’t get a lot of help from his defense as the Rangers committed four errors (though not all while Lee was in the game).

FROM THE ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU: The Rangers are the ninth team to commit four or more errors in a World Series game and the first since the 2004 Boston Red Sox did it in back-to-back games.

Although Juan Uribe hit a big three-run HR off of Darren O’Day immediately after Cliff Lee was taken out of the game, it was second baseman Freddy Sanchez who gave Rangers pitching the most trouble. Sanchez doubled in each of his first three at-bats and later added a single.

Freddy Sanchez tied a Giants record with 4 hits in a World Series game. It has been done 8 times previously. The last 4 times it was done before Sanchez were by Hall-of-Famers Ross Youngs (1923), Fred Lindstrom (1924), Mel Ott (1933) and Monte Irvin (1951).

Freddy Sanchez
FROM THE ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU: Freddy Sanchez had three doubles off Cliff Lee, equaling the number of extra-base hits Lee had allowed over his previous three starts this postseason. Only three players have had three extra-base hits off Lee in a regular-season game (and no one else has done it in the postseason): Adrian Gonzalez this season, Alberto Gonzalez in 2009 and Mark Teahen in 2006.

The Closer: Cain is able

May, 29, 2010
Matt Cain has suffered from a lack of run support in his career. Friday he decided to take matters into his own hands. After allowing a double to Mark Reynolds with 2 outs in the 2nd inning, Cain was untouchable - finishing with a 1-hit shutout. Cain did not allow a walk while striking out 9. Do you know who the last pitcher to throw a shutout allowing 1 hit or fewer with at least 9 K and no walks before Cain?

It was also a Giants pitcher - Jonathan Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter with 11 K and 0 BB against the Padres on July 10, 2009.

The last time the Diamondbacks were held to 1 hit or fewer was also against the Giants -- April 19, 2009 when Randy Johnson (1 H), Bob Howry and Brian Wilson (0 H each) combined to allow 1 hit.

Matt Cain is nothing new to 1-hitters, he actually threw one May 21, 2006 against the Athletics in his 2nd season as a big leaguer. According to the Elias Sports Bureau the only other Giant to have two one-hit shutouts in the last 30 years is Jason Schmidt.

Why Matt Cain threw a one-hitter:

- Of 41 fastballs swung at, hitters didn't miss many (eight) but only put 12 in play (29 percent; MLB avg is 44); the result was 0-18 with 6 of Cain's 9 strikeouts
- Groundball percentage of 47.4 was third-highest of the season
- With two strikes, hitters chased 46 percent of pitches out of the strike zone (MLB avg is 36), resulting in no hits in 18 two-strike at-bats
- The one hit he gave up was on a slider, a pitch he hadn't thrown once in his previous two starts

Why Cliff Lee won:

- Threw 11 curveballs (had only thrown 21 entering Friday). Both curves swung on were missed
- Batters were 1-for-5 against off speed pitches (.300 entering Friday)
- 95 percent of two-strike at-bats became outs

Why Yovani Gallardo recorded his first career shutout:

- Solid fastball: threw season-high 71 percent of fastballs for strikes, hitters went 3-19 and are now batting .170 over his past seven starts (.347 before)
- All seven strikeouts came via fastball (ties season-high), including five looking
- Froze Mets with runners in scoring position: hitters swung just 24 percent of the time and put just four balls in play (1-7)
- Hitters were 0-10 against pitches inside

Why Phil Hughes won:

- Retired 94 percent of batters with two strikes
- Hitters were 1-for-8 against the curveball (.240 entering Friday)
- Hitters missed on 50 percent of the curveballs they swung on (MLB average: 26 percent)

Why Chris Carpenter won:

- Hitters were 1-for-7 against his curveball. Opponents are now 5-for-83 (.060) against his curveball this season
- Threw a first pitch strike to 74 percent of batters (83 percent with the curveball)
- Hitters were 1-for-8 on pitches in the outer third of the plate