The Dodgers and Braves are plenty familiar with one another, having faced off 26 times over the last five seasons. If we’re being honest, L.A. has taken care of business, winning 18 of those matchups (.692%) by a combined score of 130-92. Last season, the men in blue won 4-of-6. In 2018, it was 5-of-7. That was then. Past success means very little, especially in a postseason series, and the two have yet to do battle in 2020,
Starting Monday, the Braves and Dodgers will begin a seven-game NLCS series to see who wins the National League. Atlanta will throw out a pair of young pitchers that the West’s top team has never seen. For the first time ever, the Dodgers lineup will go up against Kyle Wright and Ian Anderson. For the Braves, this could be a small advantage in a matchup where every little possible piece of leverage matters.
The truth is, however, this Dodgers lineup hits everything, as FanGraphs Pitch Value has them ranked inside the top-10 in the majors against literally every type of pitch except the split-finger. Wright’s curveball isn’t anything L.A. has never seen before. Anderson’s changeup probably won’t buckle any knees either. Still, there is something to be said about facing a starting pitcher for the first time. The Braves will at least have that going for them.
Don’t forget just how great both these youngsters have pitched of late. The pair has combined for 24 strikeouts and just five walks through their first three outings combined (17.2 IP). Wright and Anderson are currently averaging 12.5 strikeouts per nine and only 2.6 walks during the postseason — pretty damn impressive given neither has allowed a single run so far.
So, we’ll see how the Dodgers handle these two. If Braves manager Brian Snitker lines up his starters like he has in the first two rounds, L.A. will probably see Anderson in Game 2. He will be followed by Wright in Game 3 with staff ace Max Fried most likely opening up the NLCS in Game 1.
Fried, Anderson and Wright will certainly be a gauntlet the likes of which the Dodgers haven’t seen during these playoffs. Hopefully, the Braves are able to win at least two out the first three games while throwing their top arms.
There will be plenty more to discuss from now until Monday’s matchup, including our NLCS preview currently in the works. One of the top storylines has been just how impressive this Braves rotation has been through the first couple of rounds. Wright and Anderson deserve a lot of the credit. Hopefully they can keep it up moving forward.
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