It’s not every day that the Atlanta Braves take two out of three games in a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are the reigning World Series Champions. It’s always great to see the Braves beat such a good team like the Dodgers, but it was also great to see that Atlanta’s offense was able to hit and score off of two very good, well-known pitchers in games two and three of this series. The Braves’ bullpen pitching was SO MUCH better in games two and three… they started to look more like the Braves bullpen we are used too. The Braves lineup was electric in this series! The ENITRE lineup was able to get on base, score runs and keep that flowing. Overall it was a great series for the Braves in so many ways… maybe facing a “harder” team like the Dodgers was just what the doctor ordered for them!
Game One: Ian Anderson vs. Julio Urías, Braves lost 9-5
The main problem for the Braves in this games was walks. Walks will always, ALWAYS come back to haunt a pitcher. The Braves pitching staff gave up a total of eight walks in this game. Two of them were with the bases loaded, so runners scored.
Freddie Freeman started the game off with a BANG for the Braves! He had been in a major slump, walking more than he was hitting, and taking last minute swing on balls in the dirt at the plate. He hit a solo home run to center field in the bottom of the first inning to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.
Overall Ian Anderson did not have a bad start for the Braves, he just got into some fifth inning trouble which allowed LA to score and got Anderson out of the game. He pitched 4.1 innings, gave up one hit, four runs, and three walks. Ian also struck out six Dodger batters.
Following Ian Anderson, Sean Newcomb came on to pitch. He did not do well. He only retired one LA batter and gave up three runs. He didn’t give up any hits, because all of the runs he allowed came via walks. Grant Dayton came on and got the final out of the fifth inning for the Braves, but it didn’t do too much good because the Dodgers had already scored EIGHT runs on only three hits to make the score 8-1.
Like the Braves broadcaster Chip Carey says about the Braves , “They may not always win, but they always give you a finish.” That statement was very true for this game.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Ender Inciarte led off with a single, which was followed by a four pitch walk to Ronald Acuña Jr. Freddie Freeman made the first out of the inning on a forceout which advanced Ender to third, but got Acuña out at second and left Freddie on first. Then, on the first pitch he saw, my man Ozzie Albies split the gap in center field for an two-RBI double and made the score 8-3. Ozzie has had so many of these doubles in the past couple of series for the Braves… he’s just that good! 😉 Austin Riley followed Ozzie’s double with a single and then after Pablo Sandoval struck out, Ehire Adrianza reached on a two base error that allowed both Ozzie and Riley to score, making it 8-5 Dodgers still on top.
The Dodgers scored one more run in the top of the ninth inning on a wild pitch by Tyler Matzek to make the final score of the game 9-5 Dodgers.
Game Two: Charlie Morton vs. Clayton Kershaw, Braves won 6-4
For Charlie Morton, this start started off sketchy. In the top of the first inning, after he hit Mookie Betts, Justin Turner reached base on an error by Austin Riley. Cody Bellinger advanced Betts on a force-out and then he scored on a pick-off error by Charlie Morton when he attempted to catch Bellinger too far off of first base. After that first inning he gave up three more runs, allowed one walk, four hits and had five strikeouts over a total of five innings. This wasn’t his best start, but did better than I expected he would after how his outing started.
The Braves took full advantage of Kershaw and it paid off. In the bottom of the third inning, Guillermo Heredia started the inning with a single. He was followed with two quick outs: one by the Braves catcher Kevin Smith, and the other by Charlie Morton. Acuña kept the inning alive with a rare walk from Clayton Kershaw. Freddie Freeman tied the game with an RBI single that scored Heredia, making it a 1-1 game. My man, Ozzie Albies extended the Braves lead with a two-RBI double giving the Braves the lead at 3-1. Dansby Swanson hit the final blow of that inning with another two-RBI double off Kershaw to make it 5-1 Braves!
The Dodgers made a game of it when they scored three right back in the top of the fourth making it a 5-4 game. That score was too close for comfort, and the Braves knew that. Abraham Almonte gave Atlanta a little more breathing room when he hit his first home run as a Brave in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was a solo shot, but when you’re in a close game against a good team like the Dodgers, every run you can get is huge. That homer gave the Braves a lead of 6-4.
The Braves’ bullpen was able to continue to hold the lead and carry them to a win to tie the series a one game a piece.
Game Three: Max Fried vs. Trevor Bauer, Braves won 4-2
It’s not every day a team scores a bunch of runs off of a well-known pitcher like Kershaw, but it’s even better when your team can go and beat two good pitchers in back to back games to win the series.
Max Fried pitched quite well for the Braves. He went six innings, gave up six hits but only allowed one run, had ZERO walks and four strikeouts. Fried had good control over the baseball and his balls-to-strikes ratio was great. He did work a few deep counts but nothing like he normally does.
The Braves started off the scoring in the bottom of the second on an RBI double by Abraham Almonte that scored Dansby Swanson and gave them a 1-0 lead. They extended their lead in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI double by Ozzie Albies that scored Freddie Freeman, making it 2-0.
The Dodgers scored one in the top of the fourth, which was the only run Fried gave them to make it 2-1 Braves still on top.
Once again, the Braves extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Ender Inciarte and they scored again in the bottom of the eighth inning on a sac fly by Inciarte to make it 4-1 Braves.
The Dodgers got one run closer in the top of the ninth inning, but it wasn’t enough and the Braves held on to the win and won the series against their National League rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Sorry for the late re-cap. I was out of town without cell service for the past 6 days.