The Los Angeles Dodgers were one victory away from winning the World Series last autumn and after putting in an extra day's work to secure another National League West title, they begin the NL Division Series at home Thursday against the surprising Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers overcame a 16-26 start, then beat Colorado in Monday's play-in game behind homers from Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy to secure a sixth consecutive West crown and take aim at a second straight pennant.

In a curious move, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is pushing Clayton Kershaw back to Friday's Game 2 and will start Hyun-Jin Ryu in the opener, and the Dodgers have a distinct advantage given a lineup featuring Manny Machado, Justin Turner and breakout player Max Muncy. But the Braves are confident their return to the playoffs will turn out differently from their last postseason appearance, a four-game loss to Los Angeles in the 2013 NLDS. Rookie of the year favorite Ronald Acuna, and veterans Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis sparked the NL East champions to a 90-win season, an 18-victory improvement over 2017, and the Braves matched the Dodgers for best road record in the NL at 47-34. Los Angeles won the season series 5-2, outscoring the Braves 35-18 in winning twice at home and three times in Atlanta.

TV: 8:37 p.m. ET, MLB Network

PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Mike Foltynewicz (13-10, 2.85 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3, 1.97)

Foltynewicz's emergence from promising prospect to NL All-Star is one big reason why Atlanta is in the playoffs, and across his final 11 starts he gave up more than two runs only twice while going 6-3 in that span and holding opponents to a .529 OPS. The 26-year-old, who makes his postseason debut, is 1-1 in two career starts against the Dodgers with a victory last season and a loss in 2018. Foltynewicz finished fifth in the NL in hits per nine innings (6.39), sixth in strikeouts (202) and tied for sixth in ERA.

Ryu has been outstanding since returning from a groin injury that cost him more than three months, posting a 1.88 ERA with five walks and 53 strikeouts in nine games since Aug. 15. The 31-year-old ended the regular season with a flourish, giving up only one run on 12 hits across 19 innings in winning his final three starts. Ryu, who did not face Atlanta this season, has pitched in three postseason games but none since 2014, giving up four runs to the Braves in a start in the 2013 NLDS.

WALK-OFFS

1. Atlanta SS Dansby Swanson (partially torn ligament in left hand) likely will miss the series, forcing former Dodgers INF Charlie Culberson into the starting lineup.

2. Los Angeles RHP Kenley Jansen gave up two solo homers in the ninth inning Monday, but since Aug. 31 is 1-0 with six saves, a 2.70 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings.

3. The Dodgers finished the regular season with a franchise-record 235 homers, led by Muncy's 35.

PREDICTION: Dodgers 4, Braves 2  Bet Now

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Team Name

AWAY
Sean Newcomb Pitching order:2
Batting order:9 Slot:2
Position: Reliever (RP)
Max Fried Pitching order:3
Batting order:9 Slot:4
Position: Reliever (RP)
Brad Brach Pitching order:4
Batting order:9 Slot:5
Position: Reliever (RP)
Jonny Venters Pitching order:5
Batting order:9 Slot:6
Position: Reliever (RP)
Chad Sobotka Pitching order:6
Batting order:9 Slot:8
Position: Reliever (RP)
Mike Foltynewicz Pitching order:1
Batting order:9 Slot:1
Position: Starter (SP)
Ronald Acuna Jr. Batting order:1 Slot:1
Position: Left Outfield (LF)
Tyler Flowers Batting order:5 Slot:1
Position: Catcher (C)
Ozzie Albies Batting order:6 Slot:1
Position: Second Base (2B)
Kurt Suzuki Batting order:9 Slot:3
Position: Pinch Hitter (PH)
Lane Adams Batting order:9 Slot:7
Position: Pinch Hitter (PH)
Ender Inciarte Batting order:7 Slot:1
Position: Center Outfield (CF)
Nick Markakis Batting order:4 Slot:1
Position: Right Outfield (RF)
Johan Camargo Batting order:2 Slot:1
Position: Third Base (3B)
Charlie Culberson Batting order:8 Slot:1
Position: Shortstop (SS)
Freddie Freeman Batting order:3 Slot:1
Position: First Base (1B)

Team Name

HOME
Caleb Ferguson Pitching order:2
Batting order:9 Slot:2
Position: Reliever (RP)
Alex Wood Pitching order:3
Batting order:9 Slot:4
Position: Reliever (RP)
Dylan Floro Pitching order:4
Batting order:9 Slot:5
Position: Reliever (RP)
Hyun-Jin Ryu Pitching order:1
Batting order:9 Slot:1
Position: Starter (SP)
Joc Pederson Batting order:1 Slot:1
Position: Left Outfield (LF)
Yasmani Grandal Batting order:5 Slot:1
Position: Catcher (C)
Enrique Hernandez Batting order:8 Slot:1
Position: Second Base (2B)
David Freese Batting order:9 Slot:3
Position: Pinch Hitter (PH)
Cody Bellinger Batting order:6 Slot:1
Position: Center Outfield (CF)
Yasiel Puig Batting order:7 Slot:1
Position: Right Outfield (RF)
Justin Turner Batting order:2 Slot:1
Position: Third Base (3B)
Manny Machado Batting order:4 Slot:1
Position: Shortstop (SS)
Max Muncy Batting order:3 Slot:1
Position: First Base (1B)

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