For the second straight year, the Braves and the Dodgers are meeting in the NLCS. Instead of meeting up in a barn in Texas and duking it out, this time they’ll thankfully be doing baseball battle in their own ballparks. So here we are: The Braves are playing a NLCS game in their home ballpark for the first time since 2001. Excited yet?
It’s probably even more exciting to think about how Max Fried is going to be making the start for the Braves in Game 1. He’s coming off of a start in Game 1 of the NLDS where he went six innings and shut out the Brewers in a game that the Braves eventually turned into a shutout victory. While the Dodgers may be a much tougher task to deal with this time around, I’d suspect that Fried is pretty capable of taking on the task.
Fried faced the Dodgers twice this season and did just fine against them. When Los Angeles came to Cobb County, Max went six innings and gave up just one run while conceding six hits. FanGraphs’ Game Score V2 metric suggests that it was a perfectly fine start back on June 6 for Fried, but let’s just say that the Braves would absolutely take a repeat of that performance here in October. When Atlanta went to Chavez Ravine in August, Max Fried made a start against the Dodgers where he went another six innings and only gave up three hits, but did see two runs cross the plate. Assuming Fried doesn’t just come out flat today, I’d feel confident in assuming that another six innings of good work would be on the table for Max today.
Meanwhile, Corey Knebel is getting the nod as the Opener for the Dodgers. Yep, that’s the same Corey Knebel who “started” Game 5 of the NLDS, so the Dodgers are indeed going with a bullpen game tonight. Apparently, the Dodgers were waiting and seeing if Max Scherzer would be able to start this game after picking up the controversial save in the aforementioned Game 5. Instead, he’ll be pitching Game 2 and LA will be paying the cost of Game 5 with a bullpen game in the first game of the next round.
With that being said, the Dodgers can definitely afford to do this. After all, they held San Francisco’s offense to just a lone run in Game 5 and that run came in the midst of four innings pitched by Julio Urias. On their day, this pitching staff is perfectly capable of being just as effective as a starter, so this is not a situation where the Braves can afford to just relax or anything like that. Granted, nobody’s going to be relaxing here since both of these teams are currently four wins away from making the World Series so it would also be safe to say that everybody’s going to be going all gas and no brakes during this game.
In my opinion, this figures to be a pretty good series. The Braves and Dodgers played each other six times this year and aside from the first game of the season series where the Dodgers clubbed the Braves for eight runs in one inning and went on to win 9-5, these teams have played some really close and exciting games this year. The regular season records may be vastly different but both of these teams are here for a reason and you can throw those out the window when there’s a trip to the Fall Classic on the line. This game in particular should be exciting just due to the fact that Max Fried is going to be on the bump and he’s been fantastic as of late. If it continues, then the Braves may be able to snatch themselves a win tonight. Y’all ready?
Game Date/Time: Saturday, October 16, 8:07 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network