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It’s been a while since either team played a truly meaningful game. The Dodgers took control of the NL West with an amazing 2½-month stretch and could let off the gas over the final weeks. The Braves won the East going away, their commanding lead not at all threatened by a losing record over the final month.
Now, it’s time to get serious again. The teams meet Thursday night in Game 1 of the NL division series in Atlanta.
Los Angeles knows slugging outfielder Matt Kemp is out for the postseason with an injured left ankle, and Andre Ethier is hobbled by his own ankle issues and won’t be playing the outfield.
They won’t get any sympathy from the Braves, who lost seven players to season-ending injuries. Dan Uggla was not one of the injured players, but in a rather stunning move on Wednesday, Atlanta left the three-time All-Star second baseman off the playoff roster.