I predicted what I thought would be an all-time classic Yankees Red Sox game last night, and what we got was a bit of a snoozer. Maybe it is just the fanboy in me that badly wanted to see another chapter written in this storied rivalry. Another Bucky Dent, another Aaron Boone, another moment in history. Instead, we got an inning and a third out of a completely ineffective David Price, who is now 0-9 in the playoffs as a starter, and an outcome that was never really in question as the Yankees cruised to the upset road victory.
Gary Sanchez was the headliner for the Yankees as he blasted two home runs and knocked in four RBIs. Sanchez had fallen out of many New York fans good graces with some very lazy play this year, but with last night’s performance, I am betting he has won many of them back. The New York upset has now set this up as a best of three game series with the Yankees now stealing home-field advantage as games three and four will be held at Yankee Stadium.
We haven’t seen anything to tell our grandchildren about just yet, but with up to three games left, I am hopeful that something dramatic is still to come. For today’s pick, I will take a look at the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves.
The Atlanta Braves host the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday for game three of the best of five National League Divisional Series. The Braves are looking to stave off elimination as they lost both games in L.A. and if they lose tonight, their season will come to a premature end. The Dodgers are hoping to take care of business and get in some much-needed rest as the NLCS matchup with the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers is looming.
Starting tonight for the Braves is Sean Newcomb (12-9 3.90 ERA), and for the Dodgers, it is Walker Buehler (8-5 2.62 ERA). The Dodgers are big -167 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:07 PM PST from SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
To most people, this series was a foregone conclusion. The Dodgers are the veteran team, they have won six straight division titles. And the Braves are chalked full of tons of talent, but most all of that talent is really young guys in their early twenties. They are good, but are they quite ready to win on the big stage? Most figured no. And through the first two games of this series, the public appears to be right.
The Dodgers have dominated this series thus far as through two games as the Braves have yet to even muster a single run. The Dodgers are looking to make it a clean sweep tonight when they send Walker Buehler to the mound. Buehler has really established himself as a go-to guy down the stretch for L.A. In August and September, he went 3-1 with an ERA below two runs.
He finished so strongly that the Dodgers decided to start him in their one-game playoff with the Colorado Rockies for the National League West Division title. It was a big gamble to start the rookie in such a meaningful game, and he did not disappoint. All Buehler did is go out and throw a no-hitter against Colorado late into the game and finished his day with six and two-thirds of shutout baseball, allowing just one hit and the Dodgers took home the division title. Buehler has one start against Atlanta this season, and he pitched well. On June 8th, Buehler tossed five and a third innings of one-run ball and picked up the win against the Braves in Los Angeles.
The Braves were supposed to start Kevin Gausman tonight and at the last minute scratched Gausman and decided to go with Sean Newcomb. Atlanta is hoping that Newcomb can recreate the gem he threw against the Dodgers in late July. In his last start against the Dodgers, Newcomb came up one out short on a no-hitter. Ending his day with eight and two-thirds pitched and allowed just the one hit. Newcomb was expected to not be in the rotation for this series as he actually pitched two innings out of the bullpen in game one, but when you are down to your last hope, things can change.
I have liked this Baby Braves team all season long. They are loaded with talent, and they play a fun brand of baseball to watch. But they are clearly outmatched in this series. But that doesn’t mean they can’t steal this game tonight. If the Braves were ever going to find a way to beat the Dodgers, it was going to be here at home in game three. They are throwing a Hail Mary by going with Newcomb, and I think for tonight only, they get the job done.
Buehler has been really great recently, but I feel like these Atlanta bats just have to wake up at some point. I think the Braves get to Buehler and find a way to scratch and claw themselves to a win tonight in game three to prolong the series. Do I think that the Braves are going to find a way to magically win three straight games and take this series? No, I don’t. But for tonight’s game, they are my side to back. Give me the Atlanta Braves as major home underdogs at +157 tonight in game three!