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Sports Pulse: What Every Team Brings to the Table in the NLCS Between the Dodgers and Braves.
ATLANTA – In some circles, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves have always been on a collision course for the National League Championship Series. The plot wrote itself considering the Braves had to avenge a disappointing NLCS collapse last year.
The Braves were one game away from the World Series. It took a miracle for the Dodgers to affirm a high payroll and flow of cadre talent.
Ultimately, lightning struck in favor of the Dodgers. The Dodgers overcame a 3-1 series deficit and won their seventh World Series.
Fast forward to this year and there were unfinished business. On Saturday night, the Braves and Dodgers began the latest chapter of their post-season rivalry. This time the venue switched to Truist Park as the Braves secured home advantage.
In front of the crowd, the Braves took a 3-2 win in the first game of the series.
The Braves dispersed in time and struck a flood of Dodgers pitchers. The biggest came in the ninth inning when Austin Riley drove Ozzie Albies home walk-off with an RBI single.
The Braves would make offensive with a bit of ABC baseball. Braves manager Brian Snitker changed his line-up to fight Dodgers opener Corey Knebel.
Snitker went with left-handed Eddie Rosario to direct the game. The strategy worked when Rosario shot a single into the right field line. Rosario stole second base and later scored on a wild pitch from Knebel.
It worked late with Riley dealing the big blow. His RBI single was boosted by a home run in the fourth inning that attracted loud MVP chants.
The Dodgers refused to stay downstairs. Chris Taylor had an RBI single in the second inning and Will Smith blew a solo home run in the fourth inning.
However, Taylor found himself at the wrong end of a late baserunning mistake. After securing a two-out walk in the ninth inning, he overran second base after a pinch hit single from Cody Bellinger.
Taylor was tagged in a rundown to end the Dodgers threat. The Braves take advantage and pull out the win.
The Braves’ offensive was just enough for starter Max Fried. The talented ace was masterful all the way and had the ability to navigate murky waters. He got into trouble against the Dodgers, but slipped out of the real danger.
Fried allowed the two runs but was solid in his second post-season appearance. He allowed eight hits over six innings of work. He hit five thugs and kept his team in the game.
The Braves bullpen matched his efforts. Braves savior Tyler Matzek orchestrated a key moment in the seventh inning. Matzek worked his way around Taylor’s lead-off double and managed to get rid of Trea Turner, much to the delight of the 41,815 fans in attendance.
The Dodgers were successful with their bullpen opener. Corey Knebel hit the first inning and gave up a run.
The tangle of bullpen arms kept the Braves at bay. After Knebel had mastered the first inning, the bullpen calmed down with 11 consecutive outs. The bullpen accumulated seven strikeouts during this period.
The Braves were out of whack on the record for most of the game. The only real damage came from Riley, who made a solo home run in the fourth inning. Riley ducked his hands and drove a 92.7 mph ball into the outfield seats.
It was Riley’s second post-season homerun as he further cemented his breakout campaign that season.
Dodgers outfielder Will Smith provided the offensive for his team. Smith scored his third postseason home run when the Dodgers held an early 2-1 lead.
Teammates Chris Taylor and Trea Turner would play complementary roles. Taylor went 2 for 3 and added an RBI single in the first inning to get the Dodgers on the board. Turner had two singles and a stolen base when he continued his success against the Braves.
Game 2 will be back in Truist Park on Sunday evening. The likely pitching matchup feature of Max Scherzer versus Ian Anderson with the first pitch scheduled for 7:38 p.m. ET.