The Braves head out west for the final two legs of their ten-game road trips, beginning in Los Angeles with the red-hot Dodgers who sit atop the NL West. As Braves fans will woefully remember, the Dodgers gleefully reminded Atlanta that was still at least a year away. Los Angeles went on to win the pennant for the second straight season, but they are still searching for that first World Series that has eluded them since 1988.
Cody Bellinger’s Hot Start
It’s impossible to talk about the Dodgers without starting with Cody Bellinger’s unbelievable streak of brutalizing opposing pitchers. We are well over a month into this season and Bellinger has a batting average of .412. He also has 14 home runs (the second most in the NL), 38 RBIs, and OBP of nearly. 500 and an OPS of over .1300. Did I mention: His WAR is ALREADY 3.6. His previous high for a single season in 4.2. It’s May 6th, people. The Dodgers might beat the Braves, but Atlanta should be keen on making somebody as beat them.
The last time the Braves saw Walker Buehler
Game 1 will feature Kevin Gausman versus Walker Buehler. Buehler, the promising young right-hander out of Vanderbilt, faced the Braves in the last game they won all season. Does this sequence jog anybody’s memory?
Ronald Acuña Jr. with the grand slam 🔥🔥🔥🔥
He's the youngest player in postseason history with a grand slam, at 20 years, 293 days old. pic.twitter.com/kLDD9nDAL3
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 8, 2018
Ah, even in a series that was lost, reliving that moment will never get old. The culprit of that entire sequence was walks. He walked three that night, including the pitcher, Sean Newcomb, right before Acuña came up to the plate. However, like a true professional, Buehler buckled down and made it through five full innings without allowing another run, giving the Dodgers a chance to win.
So far this season, Buehler isn’t recording his typical numbers. He’s 3-0 but with a 5.22 ERA. However, I would imagine a home game against the team that beat him in the playoffs a year ago is enough for him to bring his A-game.
Gausman against the Dodgers
In that same game, Gausman relieved Sean Newcomb and allowed two runs in two innings; which tied the game for Los Angeles. Luckily, the Braves’ bats were able to bail out Gaus, who ended up receiving the win. The former Baltimore Oriole hasn’t had much success this season unless he is facing the Miami Marlins. He’s currently 1-2 with a 4.83 ERA in six starts. Of course, his last start got cut short on Friday night, when he intentionally threw at Jose Ureña resulting in an ejection in the second inning. After only throwing 28 pitches, Gausman is back on the bump Monday. Aside from his one playoff appearance versus Los Angeles, he has faced them one other time, allowing four earned runs on eight hits in five innings. The result was a no-decision.
Ozzie owning the leadoff spot
Like his good friend, Ozzie Albies is raking in the leadoff spot. He’s hitting .273 and all his team-leading seven home runs have come when batting first. Albies blasted his third-career grand slam on Saturday, becoming the youngest person to hit three grand slams since Alex Rodriguez did it as a 20-year old in Seattle.