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 cruised in the final weeks. The Braves won the East going away, their 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 NLDS 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 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 those players, but in a stunning move Wednesday, Atlanta left the three-time All-Star second baseman off the roster for the NLDS.
Uggla hit 22 homers this season but batted just .179 and broke his own franchise record with 171 strikeouts in 448 at-bats.
Pirates on a high
The Pirates are riding high after their first postseason victory in 21 years. They’re confident they can beat anybody, anywhere. A few hours after defeating Cincinnati in the NL wild-card game Tuesday night, the Pirates touched down in St. Louis. They’re about to face another familiar foe in an unfamiliar month when they take on the Central champion Cardinals in the NLDS.
A.J. Burnett, set to start the series opener against Adam Wainwright on Thursday, was part of three Yankees’ teams that made it to October. He said there’s a sense of euphoria with this experience that was lacking in New York.
‘‘I guess the main thing is, over in New York, it’s expected every year, you know?’’ Burnett said. ‘‘This one was more of a ‘Shock the world, we’re going to do it, we made it!’ ’’
Coaches sent packing
The Rangers are not renewing the contracts of first base coach Dave Anderson and bench coach Jackie Moore for next season. They made the announcement a day after manager Ron Washington said he intended on having all his coaches back in 2014 . . . Pittsburgh police didn’t dispute Twitter claims by the wife of Reds pitcher Mat Latos that she was punched and had her hair pulled by a fan during the NL wild-card game on Tuesday, but said they consider the matter ‘‘closed’’ and won’t file criminal charges.