The Dodgers can count on these three things when they’re winning games.
Get Up Early/RISP Production
This one is pretty simple. The team to score first has won every game of this series so far. There have been no lead changes in the series either. Whoever has gone up has stayed up, or at worst kept the game tied.
For the Braves, Freeman got them on the board first in both wins. In the Dodgers case, they scored 11 runs and never looked back. It gives the starting pitchers and team an advantage. They pitch with less stress and more of a game plan. The starting pitcher can eat up innings even if they don’t have their best stuff.
And it starts with actually producing with RISP.
Game 1: Dodgers 0-2 / Braves 1-12
Game 2: Dodgers 2-9 / Braves 2-7
Game 3: Dodgers 5-13 / Braves 1-7
It may sound so obvious it’s stupid, but the team that hits better with RISP is winning. But what was exceptional about this years Dodgers squad was their ability to hit with runners in scoring position. They were just behind the Padres slashing .291/.388/.515 for an OPS of .903.
Until yesterdays explosion, they were hitting almost 100 points lower than that. If the Dodgers can even out and stay consistent with their year long stats, they should be able to mount this comeback.
Right The Pen
One of the best bullpens in baseball this year has hit several speed bumps this series. Only one Dodger starter hasn’t pitched well by the stat line, and that was Tony Gonsolin. And he had his inherited runners knocked and walked in for his only start so far. But the bullpen has given up more than the starters.
Kolarek: 16.88 Postseason ERA
Treinen: 7.36 ERA
McGee: 6.75 ERA
Jansen: 5.40 ERA
Baez: 3.86 ERA
Wood: 3.38 ERA
Roberts is going to need some more trustworthy arms to come back if the Dodgers want any chance of beating this incredible Braves lineup.
Shut Down Freeman/Albies
Freeman in the NLCS is slashing .444/.583/1.111 for an overall OPS of 1.694. He has 10 bases in 9 ABs with 2 walks. He has 4 RBI, 3 runs scored, and 2 home runs. Both to break open the scoring and give his team the lead. He’s only struck out once. He’s an MVP.
Meanwhile, Albies is slashing .462/.429/1.000. He also has 4 RBI, 3 runs, and 2 homers. He also has a double for a total of 13 bases in 13 at bats. He has a sac fly and has run out of 3 would be double plays.
These two are the offensive battery of this Braves lineup. It doesn’t hurt that they have been amazing at defense too. If the Dodgers want to win this series, they’ll need to do a better job shutting these two down.