The Larry O’Brien trophy and Stanley Cup have been awarded and now all playoff attention has rightfully shifted towards baseball. It’s October after all, which means the NLCS matchup is in full swing as the Braves and Dodgers battle it every day in Texas. So let’s jump in and see where things stand in the series…
Game 1 – Braves 5, Dodgers 1
Both the Dodgers and Braves came into the NLCS fresh off sweeps of the Padres and Marlins respectively. Atlanta’s young ace Max Fried was able to subdue the powerful LA lineup and hold them to only one run over 6 innings. Instead, it was the fun and young hitters on the Braves that proved to be the heroes of the leadoff game. The Braves rallied off the newly implanted closer by committee status of the Dodgers bullpen to cement their 6th straight playoff win this year.
Game 2 – Braves 8, Dodgers 7
Both offenses came alive in the second game. While the Braves built a substantial lead, their bullpen struggled to shut the door by letting the Dodgers get within one run before the final out was recorded. Freddie Freeman was once again the leader that the Braves looked to when he homered for his second straight game and was part of the four run 5th inning that would be the difference maker for Atlanta.
The Dodgers lineup is nothing to be snuffed at however and was able to attack a sometimes inconsistent Braves bullpen. Atlanta held on for the victory however and, with a win in Game 2, the Braves looked to join the other 85% of teams that eventually win the series after going up 2-0.
Game 3 – Dodgers 15, Braves 3
Well let’s just say that the NLCS escalated quickly. Like a record setting 11 runs in the first inning quickly. The Dodgers became the first time in major league history to score 11 runs in one inning in a postseason game. Impressive considering MLB has been in existence across 3 centuries. I mean is there really anything else to recap from this game other than watching massive amounts of dingers?
Game 4 – Braves 10, Dodgers 2
The major storyline from Game 4 was pitching. Namely, would regular season Clayton Kershaw make an appearance in place of playoff Clayton Kershaw? Over 9 previous NLCS starts Kershaw has averaged a 4.50 ERA. Which is, well, not great. On the other side, the Braves trotted out their 3rd rookie starter in a row in Bryse Wilson. Both pitchers were impressive through 6 innings, but that’s when the wheels came off for LA.
Kershaw was chased after only three batters and the Braves went on to drive in six runs off six hits in the bottom of the 6th. LA had a chance to come back in the bottom of the inning but left two men stranded. Acuna and Ozuna had big games, tacking on some insurance runs late before Shane Greene came in and closed it out.
What Comes Next?
With the series standing at a 3-1 advantage for Atlanta, the focus will continue to be on pitching. The Dodgers have the advantage of depth in their starting rotation as they turn to standout Dustin May in a must win Game 5. Mookie Betts has been much of a non-factor in the NLCS and will prove to be a vital piece should LA look to make a series comeback and head back to their third World Series appearance in the last four years.
While I am wholeheartedly here for the Dodgers to win the whole thing and be the lone team standing in a few weeks, isn’t it already enough that the Lakers just won the NBA Finals as well? LA would be over here just hoarding trophies and frankly, that seems a little greedy. I kid, but really, save some for the rest of us, Los Angeles.