By this time tomorrow we could have our first World Series team. Remarkably, the Braves with 88 wins are one win away from eliminating the defending champions Dodgers.
A little later in this newsletter, Stephanie Apstein and Emma Baccellieri take a look at what plagues Los Angeles so far in the NLCS. And if tonight is truly the end of the Dodgers, we’ll have a lot more time to look at what’s wrong. Instead, let’s shine a light on everything Atlanta has done so well.
The Braves played much cleaner baseball than the Dodgers. Atlanta hits 0.400 with runners in scoring position and limits LA to just a .222 clip in such situations. The Braves haven’t made a mistake yet and, other than a hiccup in Game 3, their reliever pen has been turned off. Atlanta catcher Travis d’Arnaud set up a clinic blocking land in the dirt. That’s right, the Dodgers baserunners stole nine goals in the four games, but only three of the nine ultimately scored.
On two occasions in the four games, the Atlanta starting pitcher completed five innings, which is longer than the outing average for a playoff starter, and Game 4 was meant to be a game anyway. lifters. So much for the Dodgers who have the starting pitching advantage with two Cy Young favorites and a 20-game winner. The Braves hitters are hitting .333 with four homers and 13 runs against Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler and Julio UrÃas in 14 innings in the NLCS.
And then there’s the Atlanta outfield trio of Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson and Eddie Rosario. Together, they reach 0.404 with four home runs and 14 RBIs. None of them were on the squad at the start of the season, and yet the Braves probably wouldn’t be ahead three games to one in the series without them. Their consistency throughout the NLCS provided cover when some of Atlanta’s other hitters turned cold.
Freddie Freeman started the streak with seven consecutive Ks, and he didn’t get his first hit until his ninth appearance at home plate, which came in the first inning of Game 3. Including this single, Freeman is 5 for 8 in the last two games. Austin Riley did the opposite. After leading the equalizing hits in the first two games and getting the single out in the first game, Riley is without a hit in his last nine at bat.
It should be noted here that the 2020 NLCS has progressed similarly in the first four games. The Braves were one win away from going to the World Series for the first time since 1999, when the Dodgers finally came to life with three runs each in the sixth and seventh innings. Atlanta lost the next three games, and LA eventually won its first World Series title in more than three decades.
But, as you’ll see below, there are reasons for Braves fans to believe this time is different. Atlanta has three tries to close this case, starting with Game 5 tonight at Dodger Stadium.
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âIf the Dodgers do actually end their 106-game winning season on Thursday, the crime scene will be the batter’s box. â¦ Atlanta outfielder Eddie Rosario had four hits in Game 4. So did the Dodgers.
It’s Stephanie Apstein on the 9-2 demolition of the Dodgers by the Braves last night. LA is down in the NLCS for the second year in a row. But this time his offense is not up to the task for a comeback.
Read Stephanie’s full column here.
Want to stay up to date with our latest ALCS stories? We have what you need.
Framber Valdez Sinkers push Boston to the brink of elimination by Tom Verducci
By throwing so long and so well, the Houston southpaw spoke of Bob Gibson’s greatness in the ’67 World Series. This major throwback put the Astros 3-2 in the ALCS.
Red Sox rookie Garrett Whitlock gets lockdown relief from Emma Baccellieri
Boston selected him in the Yankees’ Rule 5 draft before the season. Now he has helped stabilize the bullpen.
Did you miss yesterday’s newsletter? You can find it here.
The strike zone is not the problem by Matt Martell
The exciting ending to the Astros-Red Sox 4 match was overshadowed by a limit ball call.
3. PLEASE NOTE
Tom Verducci writes: Has the use of the pitcher gone too far when it comes to using starters out of the lifter box? After the Dodgers pay the price for aggressive use by Max Scherzer and Julio UrÃas, Nathan Eovaldi is the next test case.
Eovaldi will start ALCS Game 6 for Boston after throwing a relief in Game 4. He threw 24 very stressful throws in that game, a lot more workload than a bullpen session. Its mechanics were a little broken.
Houston shortstop Carlos Correa said after that game seeing a pitcher for the second time in four days, like they did with Eovaldi, gives hitters an advantage due to familiarity. And three times a week?
StÃ©phanie Apstein writes: Things look grim for the Dodgers after a 9-2 loss in Game 4 that put Atlanta to a one-pennant victory. But one advantage of the burst loss is that Los Angeles were able to stay away from their top relievers: Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen, Joe Kelly, Alex Vesia and Brusdar Graterol all had an evening off and should be fresh. for game 5.
4. WHAT TO LOOK FOR by Will Laws
The Astros and Red Sox are off Thursday as they travel to Houston for Game 6. Atlanta will look to finish what it couldn’t last year and shut down the Dodgers in five games, with the opening pitch scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET on TBS. .
The Braves are set to send Los Angeles native Max Fried up the hill for what they hope will be the decisive win for the series. The southpaw posted a better second-half MLB ERA of 1.74 and continued that playoff momentum, knocking out Milwaukee in six innings with nine strikeouts in NLDS Game 2 before scattering eight hits and five. puffs on six frames of two. -run ball against Los Angeles in Game 1 of this series. Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner struggled considerably in the playoffs, going 8 for 44 (0.182) with 11 strikeouts, zero homers, one run and one run batted in after leading the MLB with a batting average of .328 during the regular season. But he may be in a good position to lead the charge against Fried. He’s tied for second at bat with Fried of all batters, behind only Phillies wide receiver JT Realmuto, and compiled a .333 / .414 / .524 line with one home run and three walks in 24 appearances at home. He also went 2 on 3 against Fried in Game 1 to score his only multi-shot NLCS game.
5. THE FARM of Emma Baccellieri
Does this NLCS sound familiar to you? It should. So far, it’s been the same pattern as last year: Atlanta wins Games 1 and 2, LA gets Game 3, Atlanta takes a 3-1 lead after Game 4. The Dodgers, as you can imagine. remember maybe, came back to win everything last time. But there’s one crucial difference this year: LA pitching staff are in much worse shape right now than they were at this point in 2020.
In the spring it looked like a source of depth for the team, but that’s no longer true. Gone are Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, Trevor Bauer and even two of the back-end options the team chose mid-season, Cole Hamels and Danny Duffy, meaning they only have three real starters for them. playoffs, and they also used two of the three in relief. The result is a staff that seemed often wiped out in October. This is not a good position to start a bullpen play (and, if they’re lucky, two plays later). That certainly doesn’t make a series victory impossible. But that makes it much more difficult.
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