After a comeback attempt fell short last night, the Dodgers are now down 2-0 to the Atlanta Braves. This is still a very winnable series, but it almost certainly requires a win today. Julio Urias will take the mound for the Dodgers as they try to get back into the series, while the right-handed Kyle Wright and the Braves look to take a 3-0 series lead.
|SS||Seager (L)||1B||Freeman (L)|
|3B||Ríos (L)||3B||Camargo (S)|
The Braves will run out a similar lineup compared to games one and two. The left-handed Nick Markakis will sit against Urias, as Austin Riley slides to left field and the switch-hitting Johan Camargo will start at third base. I’m not going to talk a ton about their offense, simply put — through two games their good players have been good and until the seventh and ninth innings of last night, the Dodgers players have not been.
The Dodgers run out a left-handed heavy lineup against the right-handed Wright. The main difference here is that Justin Turner will shift to the designated hitter, and Edwin Rios will start at third base. Just for fun, here’s a little excerpt on how Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, and Cody Bellinger have faired this season. Muncy and Pederson feature two of the lowest BABIP’s against RHP this season, sitting at .172 and .178, the lowest and third lowest among 230 players with at least 100 plate appearances against RHP. Pederson has a .258 career BABIP against RHP while Muncy is at .263. Expected outcome stats by Statcast take exit velocity and launch angle on each ball in play into account, and extrapolate that into expected outcomes based on quality and frequency of contact instead of the actual outcomes.
Statcast has a total of 257 qualified batters listed with at least 125 plate appearances. Pederson, Bellinger, and Muncy have the eighth, tenth, and thirteenth largest discrepancies between their actual batting averages from the regular season compared to their expected batting averages based on the previous parameters discussed. Pederson hit .190 with an expected batting average of .238, Bellinger hit .239 with an expected BA of .284, and Muncy was at .192 and expected at .235.
Regardless, the Dodgers don’t have a ton of time for discrepancies to work themselves out. They need to hit.
Wright has pitched just once this postseason, in game three of the NLDS against the Marlins. He allowed just three hits and two walks over six scoreless innings. Among 126 starters with at least 30 IP, (Wright had 38.0), his FIP of 5.90 was the 12th highest, and his 5.21 ERA was the 26th highest. His walk rate of 14.3% was the fifth highest, featuring 30 strikeouts and 24 walks through those 38 innings. Prior to 2020, he had just 25.2 innings pitched over the last two seasons, and his results over those innings were worse than this season. He particularly struggled against left-handed batters this season, with 14 strikeouts and 14 walks over a total of 18.1 innings. That’s a 1.91 WHIP and a .923 OPS — similar to that of Mookie Betts at .927.
I don’t mean to bag on the guy, I hope he has a successful MLB career. Regardless, the Dodgers are down 2-0 in the NLCS in a season in which they were the best team during the regular season. The team needs to hit against Wright and get to the Braves bullpen prior to game four. If they can’t do that then they deserve to go down 3-0.
Urias logged three innings in the NL Wild Card series in game one, and five innings in game three of the NLDS. Overall, he’s thrown a total of eight innings, allowing no earned runs on just four hits and one walk while striking out eleven. Urias has always slightly carried reverse splits throughout his career, featuring a 4.22 FIP against left-handed batters and a 3.20 FIP against right-handed batters. This primarily comes from a difference in slugging allowed, with a .389 slugging percentage against left-handed batters, compared to .329 against right-handed batters. This bodes well because outside of Freddie Freeman, Atlanta doesn’t have any power left-handed bats. Additionally, this park with the dome closed should also result in a decrease in slugging. Ultimately, Atlanta was 15th in wRC+ against left-handed pitching at 101, while the Dodgers were first against right-handed pitching at 126.
In other news,
The Dodgers are yet to lose three consecutive games through 67 games thus far.
Today they have a chance to continue that streak with a win.
The right-handed Bryse Wilson will start tomorrow for the Braves.
In addition to Wright and Ian Anderson, this would be the third Braves rookie to make a start this postseason. Wilson features a 5.91 ERA and 1.80 WHIP over his total 42.2 MLB innings.
Getting Turner some time off while still keeping his bat in the lineup makes sense.
This works out well considering the left-handed Ríos can start at third with a very favorable matchup against the right-handed Wright.
If Clayton Kershaw can start tomorrow that would be two consecutive games where the Dodgers have a significant edge.
The team absolutely has to get wins before they face Max Fried again, the likely game six starter.
It’s nice to have a superstar like Betts take responsibility as a leader for his teammates.
The team goes as far as him, Corey Seager, and the other stars on the team will take them.
First pitch is at 3:05 PT on Fox.