Sometimes you just nail a pick. That was the case yesterday when we backed the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Atlanta Braves in game three of the National League Championship Series. The Dodgers were down two games to none, and the night before, they had staged a furious rally that saw the Boys in Blue score seven runs in the game’s final three innings, before coming up just a run short of the comeback. I felt strongly that the Dodgers were going to ride that momentum into game three and hammer Braves starter Kyle Wright.
At some point, Kyle Wright is probably going to be a great Major League pitcher, but that just isn’t the case right now, as he has really struggled in his three seasons of big league ball. He seemed to be the perfect punching bag for the Dodgers to take out their frustrations after back to back tough losses. And when I looked at Dodgers starter Julio Urias, I didn’t expect him to be in the game very long, but did think he would be effective while he was on the mound. So, I fired hard on LA and expected them to pick up their first win of this series.
— MLB (@MLB) October 15, 2020
Well, it didn’t take very long for my premotion to come true, as the Dodgers jumped all over Kyle Wright. Wright managed to record just two outs before getting blasted for a whopping seven runs! Atlanta was quick to go to the bullpen in the first inning, but reliever Grant Dayton was just as bad. When all the smoke cleared, the Dodgers scored an MLB record eleven first run innings, and just like that, the game was over before it even started!
The Dodgers called the wolves off after they built a 15-0 lead by the third inning and coasted to a 15-3 victory. I felt the momentum swing towards LA late in game two, and after this beating in game three, it is hard not to see LA getting right back into this series after the slow start. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will stay right here in the National League and break down all of the action in game four of the NLCS!
Los Angeles Dodgers (1-2) at Atlanta Braves (2-1)
What will the Los Angeles Dodgers do for an encore tonight, after exploding for fifteen runs last night in game three of the National League Championship Series with the Atlanta Braves? The Braves still lead the Dodgers two games to one in this series, but after seeing LA look dead in the water after the first two games, we now have a series on our hands, as these guys are fired up, and the Braves have to be worried.
Oh, and about that, encore? All the Dodgers are going to do to follow up that historic game three, tonight in game four, is start one of the best pitchers in franchise history. Buckle up your seat belts, we are in for a bumpy ride!
— MLB (@MLB) October 15, 2020
Starting tonight for the Dodgers is Clayton Kershaw (6-2 2.16 ERA), and for the Braves, it is Bryse Wilson (1-0 4.02 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Dodgers are big -220 favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:08 PM PST from Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Los Angeles Dodgers
After scoring just one run in the first fifteen innings of this series, the Los Angeles Dodgers broke out of their funk in the seventh inning of game two. Between the end of game two and the start of game three, the Dodgers scored an absolutely absurd 22 runs in a six-inning span. It was a record-breaking run of excellence that now has the Dodgers right back in this series, and you can argue that they are once again the favorites to take home the NL pennant, despite still being down a game in this series.
One guy that the Dodgers are particularly excited to see hitting again is Max Muncy. Muncy hit 35 homers in each of the last two seasons and emerged as one of the more consistent power hitters in the National League. But 2020 was not kind to Muncy, as he hit just .192 in the regular season. But he is finding his groove lately as he has homered in back-to-back games and has six RBI in the last two contests. Getting Muncy back to being feared at the plate will make it that much harder for the Braves to navigate this hard-hitting Dodgers lineup.
Clayton Kershaw (6-2 2.16 ERA)
When Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was scratched from his scheduled game two start, and his replacement, Tony Gonsolin, got lit up and the Dodgers lost the game, it looked like it could be the end of the road for the Dodgers. But now, just two days later, the Dodgers lineup looks to be hitting again, and Kershaw’s aching back seems to be better, and the Dodgers will call on him tonight in game four to try and tie this series up. A lot can change in two days in playoff baseball!
Kershaw’s back is always a concern, but he very quietly had one of the best seasons of his career this year. His 2.16 ERA was elite, and the Dodgers win basically every time that he pitches. Including the postseason, the Dodgers are 11-2 with Kersh on the mound. In his two playoff starts this season, he is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA and has racked up 19 Ks to just 1 walk, in 14 innings of work. When he is healthy, he is good as they come.
Braves fans have to be waking up with a very uneasy feeling in their guts right now. I said yesterday in my breakdown of game three that I felt the Braves had awoken the sleeping giants in LA, and after seeing what that looked like last night, Atlanta knows they are in for a fight. Atlanta did as good of a job as could have been expected in terms of damage control in game three, though, as Grant Dayton and Huascar Ynoa ate up most of the innings yesterday in mop-up duty.
That left the rest of this Braves bullpen intact and rested for the rest of this series. And it looks like they are going to need them today, as they are expected to use a bullpen day in game four. This Braves team is very young and resilient, and it will be very interesting to see how they react to getting obliterated last night in game three. Will they brush it off and get right back to work? Or will they have a hangover and let the Dodgers even this series up at two games apiece?
Bryse Wilson (1-0 4.02 ERA)
If you don’t recognize the name Bryse Wilson, don’t worry, neither did I! I had to google this kid to figure out who he was, and it is shocking to see Atlanta go with such an unconventional choice tonight in such a big game. Wilson was a fourth-round draft pick back in 2016 and has pitched very sparingly over the course of the last three seasons, making 15 total appearances, 7 of those coming as starts.
The Braves called him up in September and mostly used him to eat up innings out of the bullpen and make spot starts when the regulars needed a break. This guy is the definition of a mop-up guy, as nearly every game he pitched in this season either saw the Braves winning by a lot, or losing by a lot. He has not made an appearance in the playoffs this year, and in reality, he hasn’t been used in a high-pressure situation at any point this season. In his five September appearances, the closest game he pitched in was a seven-run game. Wilson is the guy the Braves turn to when they don’t care about giving up runs.
Who Do I Like?
Are the Braves happy to concede game four tonight so they can gear up for games 5-7? It sure feels like it. The Braves didn’t have many solid options to go with on the mound in this game anyway, and none that were going to match up overly well with Clayton Kershaw, but to see them go to their mop-up guy in such a critical spot, is perplexing. Most people seem to think that Wilson will be an opener and pitch maybe two or three innings, but I am not so sure that is the case.
To me, this feels like the Braves are going to send him out there, and if he gets hammered, they may just leave him in the game, rest up the rest of their guys, like they did yesterday after Kyle Wright got blown out, and prepare for the final three games of this series. And while it is somewhat shocking to see a team basically concede a game in the playoffs, I think it is likely the right play. They were going to be major underdogs no matter who they started tonight, might as well own it, and use it to your advantage for later in the series.
If the Braves don’t care about winning this game, and the fact that they are starting Bryse Wilson tells me that is the case, I am going to fade them hard and expect them to get blown out. Even if Wilson somehow figures out how not to get smashed, which he won’t, the Braves are running their bullpen up against the best pitcher of his generation, in Clayton Kershaw, that’s just not a great spot for Atlanta.
I see the Dodgers bats jumping on Wilson early and often and wouldn’t at all be shocked if this game gets out of hand like last night’s game did. I’m not saying that the Dodgers are going to score 15 runs again unless, of course, they do, they OK, I said it. Expect lots of crooked numbers for LA as the Braves punt game four to set up for the rest of this series. I’ll back the Dodgers laying a run and a half to snatch up some extra juice in what could be a laugher.