What The Dodgers Need To Do To Beat The Braves

Photo Credit: Los Dodgers

With the Dodgers beating the division rival-San Diego Padres, they are now facing a different type of test: the Atlanta Braves. The Braves took down the Miami Marlins to advance to the National League Championship Series and the Dodgers will just need to get past them to get to the World Series.

When the Dodgers open up the NLCS Monday night it’ll be Walker Buehler on the mound for Game One followed by Clayton Kershaw pitching Game Two on Tuesday night  (just like the previous two rounds). The Dodgers’ pitching staff was one of the biggest reasons they swept San Diego. In Game One of the NLDS Buehler struggled with his command, but pitched four solid innings, gave up one run and struck out eight. In Game Two Kershaw went a little bit deeper going six innings while giving up three runs.  The offense was able pick him up by scoring six runs.

The depth of the Dodgers’ lineup will be a huge key to beating the Braves in this series. Aside from the stars like Mookie Betts, Justin Turner, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, one player to keep your eye on will be the versatile Chris Taylor. Don’t sleep on their catchers Will Smith and Austin Barnes either. Barnes, not known for his bat, has hit really well this postseason and Smith came alive in Game Three of the NLDS. So far in the playoffs Smith has a slash line of .294/.429/.412 and was the first player in Dodgers’ postseason history to get five hits in a postseason game.

The Braves have a formidable lineup as well, but their strength so far this postseason has been their pitching. Braves’ starters Max Fried, Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright stepped up in their performances to help eliminate the Marlins, but what the Dodgers’ need to be wary of is the bullpen. Braves’ relievers have been lights out and may give the Dodgers some match-up problems late in games. The Dodgers’ hitters need to stick to their game plan of grinding out at-bats, drawing walks and making the Braves pitchers sweat out there. As we’ve all seen over the last three games, the Dodgers can’t depend on hitting home runs at Globe Life Field. Instead, they need to focus on manufacturing runs.

Zero off-days in between NLCS games might play to the Dodgers’ advantage in terms of their pitching staff. Not only does Los Angeles have a far-superior bullpen to Atlanta’s, the Dodgers have more elite starting pitching as well. Between Buehler, Kershaw, Dustin May, Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin all being healthy and dominant, the Braves are going to have a tough time in this series. Plus, Dave Roberts has already displayed how he can use his pitchers in a multitude of different ways. We all saw how May was deployed in Game Three as an opener, followed by Adam Kolarek and Julio Urías. The ability to plug in guys in any given inning is a huge advantage. Not to mention, Gonsolin hasn’t even pitched in the playoffs yet. He could possibly be the Game Three or Four starter, depending on what Roberts and the front office decide.

Jacob Cisneros is a writer for Dodgers-LowDown. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @_JacobCisneros.