Braves: NLCS Game 5 Preview

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After beating the Dodgers last night, the Braves look to close this series out tonight. They have the right man on the mound to do it too, as Max Fried will start for Atlanta in Game 5 of the NLCS while Los Angeles will go with a bullpen game, beginning with Corey Knebel likely opening.

The Starters

Max Fried:
Season:

28 Starts; 14-7

3.04 ERA

1.087 WHIP

3.85 SO/W

Postseason:

14 Games (6 Starts); 1-1

3.21 ERA

1.214 WHIP

4.40 SO/W

Cory Knebel:
Season:

27 Games (4 Starts); 4-0

2.45 ERA

0.974 WHIP

3.33 SO/W

Postseason:

14 Games (2 Starts); 1-0

1.98 ERA

0.659 WHIP

5.00 SO/W

After starting Game 1 in Atlanta, Max Fried will look to come into Dodger Stadium tonight and put the Braves in the best position to win. He did so Saturday night, tossing six innings of two run ball off of eight hits, while striking out five. You could tell early on that Max didn’t have his A+ stuff, but it didn’t matter much, as he battled his way to a solid outing.

For the Dodgers, they will go with a bullpen game. After Max Scherzer claimed to have “dead arm” following his start in Game 2, and with Walker Buehler and Julio Urías going in Games 3 and 4, they don’t have any other starters to turn to. But with this being an elimination game for Los Angeles, I wouldn’t be shocked if any of them made a short relief appearance like Scherzer did in Game 5 of the NLDS.

Corey Knebel is the presumptive opener for tonight’s contest based on the fact that he did the same thing for the Dodgers in Game 1. He had a short, yet phenomenal regular season, only allowing seven earned runs in 25.2 innings of work while striking out 10.5 batters per nine innings pitched. He has been even better in the postseason, allowing just three runs in 13.2 total innings of work while striking out batters at a ridiculous 13.2/9 clip. Fortunately for the Braves, they’ve scored all of the three runs Knebel has given up this postseason. In Game 1, he gave up two earned runs on two hits over 1.1 innings, and in Game 3, they scored another run in just a third of an inning.

The Bullpens

Braves:
Season:

3.97 ERA

1.320 WHIP

.241 AVG

Postseason:

2.60 ERA

1.180 WHIP

.205 AVG

Dodgers:
Season:

3.16 ERA

1.190 WHIP

.205 AVG

Postseason:

2.74 ERA

0.910 WHIP

.203 AVG

After Jesse Chavez worked a perfect first inning, Drew Smyly made his 2021 postseason debut and did so in style as he went 3.1 innings, giving up just two earned runs on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts. He gave the Braves what they so dearly needed — innings — saving the rest of the bullpen. A.J. Minter did the same as he worked two innings while only giving up a hit. Besides the blemish of Game 4, Atlanta’s bullpen has been nothing short of spectacular this postseason, and there is no reason not to think that they will put up another fantastic effort tonight.

For the Dodgers, they need some length from their guys tonight if they hope to stay in this. Their bullpen has covered 46 innings this postseason compared to the Braves 34.2. You have to imagine that all of those guys are worn out from working so many innings. Dave Roberts will try and keep guys like Knebel, Joe Kelly, Justin Bruihl, and Alex Vesia in for more than an inning at a time to keep their higher leverage guys fresh. They need it if they want to get this series back to Atlanta.

The Lineups

Braves:

Eddie Rosario: .259/.305/.435; .740 OPS; 14 HR; 62 RBI; 11 SB; 0-4 K

Freddie Freeman: .300/.393/.503; .896 OPS; 31 HR; 83 RBI; 8 SB; 2-5 2B HR RBI BB K

Ozzie Albies: .259/.310/.488; .799 OPS; 30 HR; 106 RBI; 20 SB; 1-2 K

Austin Riley: .303/.367/.531; .898 OPS; 33 HR; 107 RBI

Joc Pederson: .238/.310/.422; .732 OPS; 18 HR; 61 RBI; 2 SB; 0-3

Adam Duvall: .228/.281/.491; .772 OPS; 38 HR; 113 RBI; 5 SB; 1-5 RBI 2K SB

Travis d’Arnaud: .220/.284/.388; .671 OPS; 7 HR; 26 RBI

Dansby Swanson: .248/.311/.449: .760 OPS; 27 HR; 88 RBI; 9 SB; 1-1

Max Fried: .273/.322/.327; .649 OPS; 5 RBI

Bench:

Cristian Pache: .111/.152/.206; .358 OPS; 1 HR; 4 RBI

Guillermo Heredia: .220/.311/.354; .665 OPS; 5 HR; 26 RBI

Ehire Adrianza: .247/.327/.401; .728 OPS; 5 HR; 28 RBI; 0-1 BB K

William Contreras: .215/.303/.399; .701 OPS; 8 HR; 23 RBI

Orlando Arcia: .198/.258/.309; .567 OPS; 2 HR; 14 RBI; SB

Johan Camargo: (AAA) .326/.401/.557; .958 OPS; 19 HR; 67 RBI; 0-1

Dodgers:

Mookie Betts: .264/.367/.487; .854 OPS; 23 HR; 58 RBI; 10 SB; 1-6 4K

Corey Seager: .306/.394/.521; .915 OPS; 16 HR; 57 RBI; 1 SB; 0-5 K

Trea Turner: .328/.375/.536; .911 OPS; 28 HR; 77 RBI; 32 SB: 7-21 2B HR 2RBI 3BB 5K

Will Smith: .258/.365/.495; .860 OPS; 25 HR; 76 RBI; 3 SB; 1-5 K

Gavin Lux: .242/.328/.364; .692 OPS; 7 HR; 46 HR; 4 SB; 0-2 2K

Cody Bellinger: .165/.240/.302; .542 OPS; 10 HR; 36 RBI; 3 SB; 3-8 HR 3RBI 2K

Chris Taylor: .254/.344/.438; .782 OPS; 20 HR; 73 RBI; 13 SB; 1-8 BB 4K

A.J. Pollock: .297/.355/.536; .892 OPS; 21 HR; 69 RBI; 9 SB; 2-7 BB 2K

Bench:

Austin Barnes: .215/.299/.345; .644 OPS; 6 HR; 23 RBI; 1 SB; 1-3 HR RBI BB 2K

Albert Pujols: .236/.284/.433; .717 OPS; 17 HR; 50 RBI; 2 SB; 1-3 RBI

Steven Souza Jr.: .152/.222/.333; .556 OPS; 1 HR; 3 RBI

Matt Beaty: .270/.363/.402; .765 OPS; 7 HR; 40 RBI; 2 SB

 

The Braves were pretty successful with Dansby Swanson leading off, pushing Eddie Rosario and Joc Pederson back due to a lefty starting. However, with Knebel starting, and the Dodgers only carrying three left-handed pitchers, expect Rosario to go back into the leadoff spot and Joc back to the five-hole.

The Dodgers will most likely keep the same lineup sans Justin Turner, who pulled his hamstring last night running to first. He will most likely be replaced on the roster if he isn’t healthy enough to at least pinch hit. This will really impact how they configure their lineup as they can’t platoon guys they normally would because of injuries.

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