Even if it feels like the Braves suffered a series worth of losses last night, they still hold a 2-1 NLCS lead as they head into Game 4.
Things got away from Atlanta early in their 15-3 loss in Game 3, breaking their own young record for first inning playoff futility. It will be interesting to see how Brian Snitker arranges his bullpen after it was forced to record 25 outs last night, but with any luck Bryse Wilson will be able to log meaningful innings today and succeed where Kyle Wright failed.
Huascar Ynoa’s four innings of scoreless ball could be a massive boon for the Braves’ bullpen, who were at least able to provide rest for a few of their essential ‘pen pieces.
It won’t be an easy task for the Braves, as the Dodgers will finally roll out Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw had been scratched from Game 2 on account of back spasms, but 48 hours later he is apparently feeling up to the task of trying to help the Dodgers tie the series. It is worth noting that Kershaw’s velocity dropped notably in the later innings of his NLDS start against the Padres. On top of the pre-existing back issues, this could be a story to monitor during tonight’s game.
The narrative surrounding Kershaw has long been that he struggles in the playoffs, but this year seems to be running counter to his history. He has gone 2-0 in his two starts this year, with a 1.93 ERA | 2.55 FIP. He allowed two home runs during his aforementioned NLDS start against San Diego.
Meanwhile, this won’t just be Bryse Wilson’s first postseason start - it will be his first postseason appearance, period. After a rocky start to his 2020, Bryse looked solid towards the end of the regular season, but this will obviously be the biggest moment of his young career. After yesterday’s journey on the Kyle Wright Express, Wilson will need to work quickly and deliberately, and also ideally be in good favor with the Luck Gods.
The most important thing to watch today will be whether the Braves can put yesterday behind them, as they have an interesting opportunity to rebound from yesterday’s debacle. After being sent home from the 2019 NLDS after allowing first frame 10 runs to the Cardinals, they were forced to stew on that beatdown until the start of the 2020 season - a solid 9 1⁄2 months, as the season started four months later than usual. Today, with the loss fresh in their minds, they can use their previous experience of shaking off the drubbing and try put themselves back in the driver’s seat.
A solid all-around performance from Atlanta today could force the series to 3-1. If nothing else, a loss only ties the series and makes it a best-of-3 to determine who makes the World Series.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, October 15, 8:08 p.m. ET
Location: Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas
TV: FOX, Fox Sports 1
Radio: ESPN Radio, 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network, La Mejor 1600/1460/1130 AM