Dodgers 4, Braves 3: Hello from 1st place in the NL West as key hits from JT & AJ complete the sweep

After they dropped their series to the Rockies, I quipped that the Dodgers had better at least sweep the Braves if they’re going to setup their best guys and basically give games away for rest. Well, credit where it’s due, they at least did that, completing the sweep with a 4-3 comeback victory tonight.

After Dave Roberts was all the talk due to a (at the time) baffling decision on pulling Max Scherzer, the Dodgers immediately gave up the lead, but then clawed it back late thanks to clutch hits from Justin Turner and AJ Pollock.

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Amazingly, Scherzer has been even better for the Dodgers so far than advertised. Coming into tonight he’s made five starts with a 1.55 ERA and an even more impressive 1.95 FIP. Tonight, he only added to his value, dominating the Braves over six shutout innings.

He allowed just a single in his first four innings, and only faced any trouble in the 5th when he allowed a pair of singles, but the only batter that hit against him with a RISP was the opposing pitcher. After he dominated the 6th, Scherzer’s day was confusingly done despite the pitch count: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K, 76 Pitches.

Braves starter Max Fried has been excellent in August, coming into the game with a 1.36 ERA. But the Dodgers jumped on him early with power behind Max Muncy going oppo with a homer in the 1st and Austin Barnes yanking a dong to left for a solo shot of his own to make it 2-0.

Muncy then hit a hilarious triple off the wall in center later in the inning that wasn’t capitalized on but was still great cause Joc Pederson took the worst route ever on it.

Other than the homers, Fried generally handled the Dodgers well, getting through six without allowing further mess.

Circling back to Scherzer exiting, Roberts doing so made absolutely zero sense to anybody in the moment. It was so nonsensical, especially with Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen unavailable, that people were doing some soul searching on exactly what the hell was up. Some were literally analyzing every pitch of Scherzer’s outing and looking for a pitch he may have been injured on, just because the move made so little fucking sense.

Update: At least it was an actual injury.

So of course in the midst of our confusion, Brusdar Graterol gives up a single to start the 7th and then gives up a two-run game-tying bomb to Eddie Rosario. Alex Vesia was tasked with the 8th, and gave up a homer for his second game in a row, with Dansby Swanson squaring up a high fastball for a 3-2 lead.

Taking over for Fried, Richard Rodriguez got the first two men out in the 7th for the Braves, but then issued a walk and gave up an infield single. Of course, one of those two outs was Corey Seager almost homering.

That led to Roberts pinch-hitting with Cody Bellinger, another odd choice since they’re just looking for any base hit in that situation, and the Braves countered with Tyler Matzek, who got a harmless ground out. He continued in the 8th, giving up a lead-off double, but getting a Muncy ground out that only moved the runner and striking out Mookie Betts to give Mookie his fourth K on the night.

Chris Martin then entered to face Turner, and he came through yet again in his career with a single through the six-hole to tie the game. To add on, after a key walk from Seager, Pollock gave the Dodgers the lead with a single through the same hole to make it 4-3.

Joe Kelly got the 9th, and miraculously he got three routine ground outs to win it.

Hello, first place!

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Scherzer set a record he probably didn’t want.

Cold sweat.

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The Dodgers reach 85-49 on the season and are now a half game up on the Giants in the NL West thanks to the Brewers sweeping!

After a day off to travel to San Francisco, the Dodgers will play a huge divisional series with the Giants at 3:45 PM HT/6:45 PM PT/9:45 PM ET. It’ll start with David Price against Anthony DeSclafani.

About Chad Moriyama

"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times