The two winningest teams met in the NLDS and battled in a Game 5 elimination game. Let’s be honest, the Los Angeles Dodgers had no business being in the Wildcard game against the Saint Louis Cardinals, but the game was very competitive nonetheless.
The Dodgers needed the heroics of Chris Taylor’s walk-off two-run home run to win the game. The Braves edged the Milwaukee Brewers in four games as Freddie Freeman hit a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth to secure the team’s chances of moving on to the NLCS.
NLCS Preview: Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles Dodgers
The Atlanta Braves were on a similar run as the Boston Red Sox; however, the Braves made some underrated moves at the trade deadline. The Braves were behind the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies took advantage when the Mets faltered. However, the Braves proved to still be the best team in the NL East.
The San Francisco Giants took the NL West Pennant away from the Los AngelesDodgers by winning 107 games. Despite defying all the odds all season, being labeled the third-best team in the division, the San Francisco Giants fell short as Cody Bellinger singled to shallow right-center to bring in the game-winning run in the top of the ninth.
The Dodgers proved to be the superior team as Max Scherzer got his redemption with the save opportunity after picking up a loss in a tough 1-0 loss in Game 3.
The Los Angeles Dodgers may be the better team on paper but the 2021 Braves are much different than what the Dodgers beat in four games of the 2018 NLDS and it was a close seven-game series in 2020.
The Braves will need to ride the momentum as they finished the regular season with an 8-2 record in the last ten games. The Braves will have to be careful when facing the Dodgers offense as they won the biggest run differential in the league with a +269.
Can the Atlanta Braves Turn the Tables
The Atlanta Braves may have won the fewest games of any team in the postseason this year, however, the team rallied and overcame so many obstacles to make it this far. On June 16th, the Braves were 30-35, and eight games out of first place in the division, and we’re still six games back on July 26th.
The Braves were 2-4 in the regular season, and took the lead late in their last matchup in the regular season; however, saw the bullpen collapse and give the game away. The offense was hard to come by against the Milwaukee Brewers, but players like Joc Pederson who once played for the Dodgers had two home runs in seven at-bats.
The Braves need to hope that the bullpen shows up as the unit did in Game 4. The group has the worst xFIP of any team that punched their ticket to the postseason. The starters must also match the pace of the opposition, which is a very tough task to do.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the Heavy Favorites
The Los Angeles Dodgers may have won 106 games this year, but were certainly tested in the playoffs. It’s a shame that the San Francisco Giants had to meet the Dodgers early, but it proved why the Dodgers are the best team in baseball. The Dodgers will be making their eighth NLCS appearance since 2008, which is the most during that span.
The talent level is just second to none as the whole lineup is clutch in key situations even though Cody Bellinger had a down year due to injuries. The Dodgers rotation is also second in none as they can mix and match who starts on the mound.
The Dodgers also brought in two players at the trade deadline who spent years playing against the Atlanta Braves which include Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. The Dodgers’ biggest test came against the Giants, and it’s hard to imagine the Braves getting two wins in this series.