It went the way we all knew it was going to go, and that in it of itself is just frustrating.
The Los Angeles Dodgers kept chugging along doing exactly what they have all season, and unfortunately the Atlanta Braves did the same as the Dodgers ran out of Truist Park with a 9-5 victory in the opening game of the series.
The Dodgers draw a lot of walks, Braves pitchers walk a lot of batters, and sure enough the Dodgers drew eight walks.
The Braves’ bullpen has been among the worst in baseball, the Dodgers feast on relief pitching, and what was a 2-1 game when Ian Anderson departed became an 8-1 game before the end of the inning.
The Dodgers have a deep lineup that has produced from top to bottom, while the Braves have struggled to generate runs outside of the top half. The Dodgers got five RBIs from the bottom four hitters in their lineup, while the Braves only got two outside the top three.
And most damning of all, the Dodgers still look like a team capable of going deep into October. The Braves do not.
And really, after how close the Braves came to slaying the dragon last year, that final point is really the only one that matters. All of the others are just feeding into it.
- At least Freddie Freeman got on the board with a home run. After all of the hard BABIP luck he’s had the last couple weeks, it was good to see him get one. It would be nice if that opened the floodgates for him a little bit.
- Right-handed Ozzie Albies is still a weapon of mass destruction. He’ll get another chance to go to work from the right side tomorrow against Clayton Kershaw.
- The Braves at least mounted enough of a “comeback” to force Dave Roberts into using Kenley Jansen. Maybe that will help tomorrow, but that would also require getting Kershaw out of the game early enough for it to matter.
- Edgar Santana ate a couple innings and didn’t let things get worse while the Braves were down 8-1. Really, that’s all you’re looking for at that point.
- The last time the Braves got annihilated in one inning by the Dodgers in an ugly loss, they came back and beat Kershaw the next day. That’s seriously grasping at straws, but it’s about all I have right now.
- I could start in a million places, but I might as well feed the beast a lot of Braves fans have been banging the drum about this season. Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, Brian Snitker called on Sean Newcomb and Grant Dayton to put out the fire and keep the game in striking distance. Of course Newcomb proceeded to walk the ballpark and Dayton showed why he is regarded as one of Snitker’s lower-leverage options, and the Braves were down seven before the bats got back up there.
I don’t know if the Braves actually would’ve been able to make a comeback down 2-1 or even 4-1, but I know for sure they had no chance at 8-1. Snitker has decided so many times this season that his team isn’t capable of making a comeback, and unfortunately that usually has been a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Having said that, the entire tenor of the bottom of the ninth would’ve changed if Tyler Matzek hadn’t allowed that insurance run. Imagine if Kenley Jansen had issued those two lead-off walks and had to stare down Ronald Acuña Jr, Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies in a spot where a home run would tie the game. Would it have made a difference? Probably not. But Matzek issuing a double and two wild pitches made sure we’ll never know.
- Sooner or later if you keep putting baserunners on things will fall apart, but the manner in which they did was so frustrating. The Dodgers tied the game and took the lead on two balls that didn’t leave the infield grass. Austin Riley made a bad throw home on a chopper to third, and Anderson’s flip home on the Julio Urias squeeze bunt was too slow. The Dodgers are a great team; they don’t need extra outs in a tight game.
- Sean Newcomb has had control issues his entire career, and the Dodgers weren’t biting on anything outside the strike zone all night. That was a recipe for disaster when he entered the game, and naturally he walked three of the four hitters he faced.
- Baseball is weird and sometimes unexplainable things like 11-run first innings or Bryse Wilson out dueling Clayton Kershaw just pop up. Anything can happen the next two days, but realistically that was the match-up the Braves had the best chance to win this weekend. Do you feel better about beating Kershaw or Trevor Bauer after the Braves were clobbered with Anderson on the mound against Urias. Maybe something crazy will happen, but it sure feels like we just watched part one of a sweep.
Former Brave Of The Day:
Brad Brach, who was in fact a Brave for what felt like about five minutes in 2018, pitched a perfect 1-2-3 seventh inning for the Reds tonight in a 6-4 win in St. Louis.
Quote Of The Game:
“And so it goes…and so it goes…”
— Billy Joel
The bar is very low for this time, but we do have to have a bar. So I guess I’ll say just try to put yourself in a position to win the game in the final minutes, and see what happens from there.