The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers will meet for the second straight season in the NLCS which will get underway with Game 1 Saturday night at Truist Park. Dominant pitching and a timely home run by Freddie Freeman helped the Braves to a 3-1 series win over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS. The Dodgers pulled out a 2-1 win against the San Francisco Giants Thursday night to punch their ticket and set up the rematch.
The Dodgers and Braves are no strangers in the postseason. Los Angeles eliminated Atlanta 3-1 in the NLDS in 2018. The Braves held a 3-1 advantage in last season’s NLCS but saw the Dodgers win three straight to take the series.
There isn’t a lot to takeaway from the regular season series. The Braves took two of three at Truist Park in early June and were swept in three games played at Dodger Stadium in August.
The Braves were done in as the Dodgers scored eight runs in the fifth inning to take the series opener at Truist Park. Ian Anderson allowed four runs in just 4 1/3 innings but allowed just one hit and walked three. Sean Newcomb walked three more hitters and allowed three runs and retired just one batter. Julio Urias held Atlanta’s offense in check allowing four hits and one run over five innings. That one run was a first inning home run by Freddie Freeman.
The big inning trend continued as the Braves evened the series. Atlanta scored five runs off of Clayton Kershaw in the third and then held on for a 6-4 win. Charlie Morton allowed four hits and four runs, although just two were earned over five innings. The bullpen did the job holding Los Angeles to just one hit and a walk over the final four innings. Freeman and Austin Riley both had two hits while Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies drove in two runs.
Max Fried came out the winner in a head-to-head matchup with Trevor Bauer allowing six hits and one run over six innings. That performance lowered his ERA for the season to 4.63. Albies, Abraham Almonte and Ehire Adrianza all had doubles in the game. Ender Inciarte drove in two of Atlanta’s four runs.
The Dodgers scored five times in the first three innings against Drew Smyly in his final start of the regular season. Max Muncy, Will Smith, Mookie Betts and Corey Seager all homered. Urias allowed four hits and two runs over six innings and struck out seven. Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall and Freeman all homered for Atlanta.
Atlanta carried a 2-1 lead into the seventh but the bullpen was unable to hold it in a 3-2 loss. Morton held the Dodgers in check allowing three hits and one run while striking out eight over six innings. Luke Jackson allowed a walk, a single and a sacrifice fly that tied the game in the seventh. Tyler Matzek allowed the go ahead run to score in the eighth on a double by Seager.
The Braves rallied late to take a 3-2 lead but again watched the bullpen give it away late in a 4-3 loss. Max Fried allowed three hits including solo home runs by Muncy and Austin Barnes over six innings. Max Scherzer held Atlanta scoreless over the first six inning while striking out nine. Eddie Rosario tied the game in the seventh with a two-run home run off of Brusdar Graterol. The Braves took the lead in the eighth when Dansby Swanson homered off of Alex Vesia to make it 3-2. However, Matzek allowed a lead off double to Trea Turner before retiring the next two hitters. Chris Martin then allowed run-scoring singles to Justin Turner and Corey Seager to give the Dodgers back the lead.