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Dodgers face Braves for the third time in postseason play

Each team has won once in prior National League Divisional Series

Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four
Juan Uribe
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Five years ago, Juan Uribe hit one of the biggest home runs in Dodger Stadium history as the Dodgers would beat the Braves 4-3 to win the 2013 National League Divisional Series 3 games to 1 game. That would be the first of now six-straight Divisional Series appearances by the Dodgers.

On the other hand, that would be the last time the Braves were in the postseason until this year, when they won the National League East. The Braves won 14 straight division titles from 1991 - 2005 but since then, they have now made the postseason four times, winning two division titles.

The Dodgers and Braves do not have long history of playing each other in the postseason. They were both in the National League West from 1969 - 1993 and during the Braves string of division titles, the Dodgers qualified for the playoffs four times.

1996 - Braves defeat Dodgers 3 games to none in NLDS

1996 was the first full season since the 1994 strike season. The Braves had four future Hall of Famers, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tommy Glavine and Chipper Jones plus several very good players.

The Dodgers finished second to the Padres that season as they were swept at home by the Padres to lose the division by a game. Tommy Lasorda retired in mid-season and Bill Russell became the third Dodger manager in over 40 seasons.

This would also be the fifth consecutive season when a Dodger was awarded National League Rookie of the Year. Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo and Todd Hollandsworth were members of the 1996 Dodgers.

While statistically, the Braves were much better than the Dodgers that year and even though the Dodgers were swept, the games themselves were close.

In Game 1, John Smoltz and Ramon Martinez each pitched well as Smoltz gave up one run in nine innings and Martinez would allow a run in eight innings pitched. Javy Lopez hit a lead-off home run in the tenth for the Braves 2-1 win.

Greg Maddux gave up two unearned runs but got the win with the Braves won 3-2 for a two games to none lead.

Tommy Glavine would complete the HOF trifecta as he got the win in the third game. Hideo Nomo did not pitch well, he gave up five runs in 3⅔ innings. Glavine went 6⅔ innings, giving up a run and five hits. The 5-2 Braves win meant a sweep of the Dodgers.

2013 - Jazz hands, Dodgers win 3 games to 1 game in NLDS

Seventeen years would pass between playoff series and each team had new stars playing for them. More important, a new ownership group had bought the Dodgers in 2012 and they had gone out and traded for Hanley Ramírez and Adrián González later that season.

Then, the off-season saw the Dodgers sign Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu. Later that year, Yasiel Puig would burst onto the scene. Puig and Ramirez would spark the offense.

And yet there might have been even bigger surprise at third base. Juan Uribe did not have secure roster spot after his 2012 season. But a good spring training kept him on the roster when the season began. In a emotional moment, Uribe’s pinch-hit home run in San Diego gave the Dodgers a win and that was the first of many highlights for Uribe that year.

The Dodgers had not been in the postseason since 2009 and it this was really the first one where the annual question of would Clayton Kershaw pitch on short rest started.

Kershaw and the Dodgers began that National League Divisional Series in Atlanta and Kershaw pitched seven innings and gave up a run while striking out 12. The Dodgers won 6-1 to take the first game.

In Game 2, Zack Greinke gave up two runs in six innings pitched. The Braves would score two more in the seventh and despite a late Hanley Ramirez two-run homer, the Dodgers lost 4-3 to head back to Los Angeles tied at a game apiece.

Game 3 had the Dodgers break a 4-4 tie by scoring nine runs before the Braves tacked on two at the end of game. The 13-6 win made it 2 games to 1 game in the series.

Clayton Kershaw returned on three-days rest to start Game 4 at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw gave up two unearned runs in six innings and he left a 2-2 tie going the seventh inning.

The Braves scored in the seventh and would make it to the bottom of the eighth with 3-2 lead. David Carpenter came in to pitch for the Braves and the first batter he faced was Yasiel Puig.

Puig doubled to right field and the Dodgers had the tying run on second base with no outs. Uribe came up and had this at-bat

As reported then by Eric Stephen for True Blue LA, manager Don Mattingly went back to the decision that ended up with this great moment.

“They say you’re not supposed to bunt,” said Mattingly with a sheepish grin. “Eric tells me don’t bunt, but it worked out today.”

Since that series, the paths of the two names have been quite different, the Dodgers as noted above, is now playing their sixth straight Divisional Series and have won six straight division titles. The Braves would have four straight under-.500 seasons and were not considered a contender going into the 2018 season but those thoughts changed as this season went on.

The only players remaining from their 2013 playoff clubs are first baseman Freddie Freeman and right-handed pitcher Julio Teheran for the Braves. Dodgers Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig and Hyun-jin Ryu all played in the 2013 Divisional Series. Matt Kemp was a member of that team but he did not play in the postseason due to injury.

Dodger left-handed pitcher Alex Wood pitched for the Braves in the 2013 Divisional Series. When asked on Wednesday during the team workout what he remembered about the game, it was also the Juan Uribe home run but maybe not quite that moment.