Clayton Kershaw put on an ace display in Atlanta for the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS Thursday night.
He threw 104 pitches in seven innings, gave up one run on three hits and three walks and struck out 12 in his first career playoff victory.
He ran into one troublesome inning in the fourth, with two singles and a walk for one run. He was lights out from then on, striking out eight of the next 10 batters and allowing just one walk.
Kershaw made two starts and a relief appearance for the Dodgers in the 2009 postseason and got roughed up for 14 hits and nine run in 12.2 innings with 10 strikeouts to eight walks.
Since his last postseason appearance, Kershaw has come a long way.
He has not posted an ERA above 2.91 in the last four seasons, and has led the league in the stat over the last three years. He won the Cy Young award in 2011, barely missed out in 2012 and likely will win this year's award as well.
He has progressed into the best pitcher in the game, and is only 25 years old.
Thursday was his first chance to prove he has what it takes to win beyond the regular season, and he did not disappoint against the Braves.
These are the best teams in the league and Kershaw has what it takes to take down any of them. Hopefully the Dodgers can continue past the Braves in the NLDS and give Kershaw some more chances to prove himself under the lights of the postseason.
The Dodgers have a 1-0 lead in the five-game series against the Braves, and play Game 2 on Friday in Atlanta. Zack Greinke looks to repeat Kershaw's success in the opener as he toes the mound against Mike Minor.