NLCS, Game 1: Braves vs. Dodgers

It’s here, ladies, gents, and ne’er do wells. The biggest test for our Braves in the playoffs. The best team. The biggest payroll. Best of 7.

The Braves NLCS Roster

Nothing changed from the NLDS as the Braves carry the exact 28-man roster. It’s a bit surprising that they did not carry a 3rd catcher in William Contreras, especially considering how hot Travis d’Arnaud‘s bat has been. While I cannot foresee the Braves catching d’Arnaud for 7 straight games, I could see him catching 3, resting 1, then catching the last 3 (should series go 7). I’d also bet the 1 game he rests, he’d still be utilized as a DH which would force the Braves hand to put Marcell Ozuna in the outfield where adventure awaits.

Changes to the Lineup?

It’s worth mentioning Adam Duvall has turned back into a pumpkin against RHP and Nick Markakis has been as bland as a mayo-less sandwich in 21 plate appearances. While I wouldn’t expect lineup shakeups right away, there’s a chance that if the Braves are down in the win column and Duvall and Markakis are still driving the struggle bus, there could be changes. I’m still of the mindset that if you’re going to have a hitter in the lineup that’ll likely struggle, it’s best to make sure there’s some sparkle in the field. Cue Cristian Pache.

Braves Lineup

  1. Ronald Acuna Jr.
  2. Freddie Freeman
  3. Marcell Ozuna
  4. Travis d’Arnaud
  5. Ozzie Albies
  6. Dansby Swanson
  7. Adam Duvall
  8. Nick Markakis
  9. Austin Riley

Let’s get it on!

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

218 thoughts on “NLCS, Game 1: Braves vs. Dodgers”

  1. Altuve and Gurriel just combined for one of the lamest errors you will ever see, especially in a playoff game, for the Astros. Altuve lollipopped a throw from second and Gurriel didn’t really even stretch, didn’t cleanly handle the short hop and then took his foot off the bag when picking the ball up, seemingly because he thought the batter/runner had already crossed first base when he hadn’t yet. That happened with two outs, and the next Rays batter hit a 3-run homer for a trio of huge unearned runs. And unearned runs not serving as an eye-rolling concept in this case…Lance McCullers should crack both of them over the head with a hammer Three Stooges-style, frankly.

    Maybe the Astros revenge (for something they themselves propagated) tour is starting to come off the rails a bit…we can only hope, anyway.

  2. That they retained Grant Dayton instead of grabbing another starter suggests they are counting on Bryse Wilson to provide substantial innings; or perhaps a commitment to using Fried in Game 5?

  3. They have Wilson and Huascar Ynoa on there. And Josh Tomlin, for that matter. Which other starting pitcher would you suggest they use?

  4. I can’t believe we still have to wait another hour. Why do we want prime time coverage?

    OK… Wasting time here. What are people drinking? I’m on my second Ransack the Universe IPA.

  5. I just made an excellent Manhattan, with Rittenhouse Rye and Quintinye sweet vermouth. The rye is my favorite mixing whiskey in the world, and the Quintinye is entirely new to me since last week, but the guy at my favorite liquor store said it was the one he used at the whiskey bar he used to work at and it was good advice. It’s the only red vermouth I’ve ever had that is in the same category as Carpano Antica.

  6. (I am also killing time; I would be playing video games but my left wrist is starting to act up…)

  7. Rye is such a great mixing spirit. And Leffe is an all-time classic. Nicely done, gents. I might just pour myself a wee dram.

    Walter Buehler has a blister.

  8. Gin andTonic

    Very British, very proper. Still the best warm weather drink after 250 years. Horses Neck when the cold comes.
    Guinness at all other times.

  9. Ya’ll are a bunch of fancy lads. Good old Bud Light on my end. But I will make my prediction for this round…Braves in 7. As Alan suggested before…It has to be this way.

  10. And Freddie goes bomb!! Especially after that low strike they have not been calling all postseason.

  11. Braves pitchers have never retired Justin Turner in his career. I’m pretty sure that’s a fact.

  12. He’s looking good, but he’s throwing a lot of pitches. He’s hitting the black, but he’s aiming for the edges rather than going right after them.

  13. And Fried’s pitching backwards to the last few guys — starting with a slider or a curveball for a strike.

  14. That shot of all the umpires standing in a group and pulling their masks down to reveal their faces reminded me of the beginning of the movie Young Guns for some reason. No idea why I’m telling y’all this.

  15. Man, Dodgers laying off some close pitches. I’m always impressed by teams with a top-to-bottom ability/philosophy of spitting on balls out of the zone. Of course last decade Yanks/Red Sox known for it. Then those solid Phillies teams. Dodgers for last 5 years.

    Is it just assembling hitters with great batting eyes or is it org coaching?

  16. Phew! Well, at least he’s out of the inning. But I hope he can get a couple of one-pitch outs here and there.

  17. Fried had a tough time putting the last few guys away, but I think a lot of that is just that the Dodgers are way tougher to put away as a collective group of hitters than the Reds and Marlins, neither of which are very well-hitting teams. Quite probable that our starters’ pitch counts are just gonna get elevated earlier in this series.

  18. Not how I’d like to see Pache come into the game. Why can’t we have good things?

    Come on, Kid. Have a game!

  19. If we have to put Duvall on the injured list, he’s out for the season. You have to sit out the series you’re in plus the next one.

    Also, who exactly do we call up to replace him? No thanks to Ender. I guess Camargo can play outfield, in theory.

  20. I wish it was Nick who got injured so we could have Duvall/Pache/Acuna as our outfield.

  21. Snitker confirmed during the in game interview it was Duvall’s oblique. Sounds like he’s done.

  22. Snit not expressing much confidence in Duvall’s prognosis in the interview with Joe Buck and John Smoltz on Fox just now. Confirmed it’s an oblique, and said he thought that he “did it pretty good.”

    @48, Whether or not I would, you’re right that that’s what they’re gonna do. And it seems like it’s gonna happen if Duvall fully pulled his oblique.

  23. Really need Pache to hold the fort tonight. Can’t let them activate Ender and just automatically start him. We know that won’t get it done.

    Max is awesome.

  24. I saw a lot of previews had the Braves’ biggest weakness (besides the rotation depth) as defense. Losing Duvall and his solid glove isn’t ideal, but a silver lining is putting a plus plus defender in a premium defensive spot to help shore up our defense.

  25. I still can’t get over how big Pache is for such a strong defensive centerfielder. There’s a bat in that body.

  26. Come on Cakes! 5 walks. Let’s make them pay! Gimme a double!

    Edit – That was not a professional double.

  27. I’m betting Swanson knows Buehler’s move and Buehler knows that he knows it. Nice SB. And then a 2nd walk for the kid! Come on, Neck or Riley. How bout one of y’all don’t be completely useless.

    Edit: guess not. Sigh…

  28. I’m sorry, if you watch strike 3 go right down Broadway, you do not get the “professional hitter” sobriquet.

  29. Man, Kakes really is overmatched at the plate the past month. That’s even more concerning given that Ender is also likely to be in the lineup for the rest of the series. Maybe Pache will at least get the start against the lefty tomorrow.

    But maybe Camargo will get the call instead of Ender. With Pache on the roster Ender is completely redundant. Is there much chance of that?.

  30. I would bet that Nick’s bat speed has slowed down so badly that he’s now forced to make his decision before he can identify what the pitch is. I think he’s physically toast. He’s hitting about .160 in his last 90 PAs going back to September 1st.

  31. Well, he’s paid, so he is a professional hitter. The question is why he’s paid even the league minimum.

  32. Really loved Neck professionally watching a fastball right down the middle of the plate for strike 3.

  33. Why not just play without Duvall for a couple days to see if he can recover? I’d rather keep him on the roster even if he’s useless for the hope that he could be back in the future vs. Ender who is actually worse than useless.

  34. @71

    He hit .333 with a .455 OBP in the Division Series. He remains not nearly as big a problem as most people seem to have in their heads.

  35. @81, but if it’s a solid oblique pull, he’s going to be nursing that thing when the turkey comes out of the oven next month.

  36. Checked in on the thread to kvetch about Markakis’s Professional Caught Looking and was not disappointed.

  37. The pitch count issue is of course mainly that the Dodgers don’t chase 0ut of the zone. But they also seem to foul off a tremendous number of pitches with two strikes. How do the Dodgers manage to do that?

  38. @88 – to update, Fried is at 69 pitches. Buehler is at 84.

    We are swinging wildly, to be sure (or not swinging when we should.) But we are actually in the black.

    And it’s a good thing we’ve been seeing good pitching because the bats have gone quiet. We are in deep hibernation mode.

  39. Snitker managed to work in during his discussion on Duvall that Pache didn’t have a minor league season, which I took as foreshadowing of his plans for Pache.

  40. We’ve knocked around Scherzer, de Grom, Nola, Cole, etc. Come on, fellas!

    Edit – Finally chased him! Make it count.

  41. I’m not listening to the radio, but I imagine Joe is ecstatic over these back to back opposite field hit. And so am I!

  42. Dansby…what the hell, man? The key batter in the inning and he lamely pops up on the first pitch this guy freaking throws. Unbelievable.

  43. So Beuhler threw 100 pitches and the Dodger bullpen has to cover 4 innings. That’s probably a good long term outcome.

  44. Yeah, I firmly believe that if you swing on the first pitch and pop out, you ought to get fined.

  45. Oh boy, this seems like one of those “boy they just couldn’t get that one clutch hit” games.

    Someone needs to be warming in the pen, btw. Fried working hard and command not tight.

  46. It’s weird, because outside of the center field area, the dimensions of this park don’t read as particularly cavernous. 329 and 326 down the lines, 372 and 374 in the alleys. That’s pretty standard, perhaps even short of standard by a bit. Center is anywhere from 410 to 407, which is a bit long, but by no means out of the ordinary.

  47. @114 Altitude often is a big factor. Compared to the previous Rangers park (which is next door), are the dimensions longer? Wouldn’t surprise me if they are since it was well known as a hitter’s park.

  48. I wish Ozzie would drop one down the third base line. They’re giving him just about the whole left side of the infield.

  49. @118

    Not really. Next door, left was 332, left-center was 390 and right-center was 381. Center did run between 400 and 407 instead of 410 and 407. And as you said, it was known as a major hitter’s park. Maybe something with prevailing winds or humidity in the open air vs. enclosed new stadium?

    Can we get a big hit here please?

  50. Rough discipline there by Ozzie.

    Wouldn’t it be something if friggin’ Sandoval came through?

    Hahaha Braves legend. Been building that girth all season to fill the box and take that HBP.

  51. That’s how the Panda gets on. Now can we see a Professional hit(tm)?

    No…now it’s clutch. Come on!

  52. And since we’re already out of OFs and going to have to play Culberson there or somebody, we really can’t pinch-hit for him…not that we would, anyway.

  53. Nick’s chance to silence his critics, ie every damn one of us.

    I assume we’re going to let the Panda play 3rd and put Riley in left.

    [Edit] And I’m wrong on all counts.

  54. Great. Lefty to face Neck now. At least Ronald and Freddie will get to hit in the 9th. Who plays OF now, Culberson?

  55. Is it weird that I’d rather have Culberson, who as far as I know has faced like two pitchers all year, hit here than Markakis?

  56. We are so screwed now, right? Since it’s 2020, we will probably win.

    In true Braves fashion, we’ve got Betts under control, at least.

  57. Blergh.

    Our guys have, generally, had better at-bats than their guys, but that’s not saying much; both of our offenses have been anemic. But they’ve got more horses. I don’t blame Snitker for pushing a bunch of buttons, because frankly their team has greater depth so we have to take a few risks, but that inning was an excellent object lesson in how much we suck at driving in runners in scoring position. And it’s truly a collective failure.

  58. @144: But Snitker seems to be pushing buttons kinda randomly. I’d have let Pache bat and then maybe pinchhit Sandoval for Markakis.

  59. The org clearly has zero faith in Pache’s bat. They know something we don’t. And Neck is dead in the water. I don’t blame Snit for getting crazy because he’s not working with a full deck.

  60. I thought both Sandoval and Culberson made sense, but failure to add the run means this defense is liable to bite us the longer the game goes.

  61. @150 – our bullpen can hold out. Not sure about the rest of the guys. Thankfully we have the top of the order coming up. If they can hit something…


  62. By the way…that’s how you advance the runner. Take note going forward, Bravos. You’re going to need that.

  63. MARCELL OZUNA! My GOODNESS, what an incredible at-bat. He was down 0-2, worked his way back to 3-2, fouled a ball off, then inside-outed it to right field. What a hitter that man has been for us.

  64. Make Dave Roberts field as many questions about their closer situation as possible. Love it! It’s their Achilles heel, at least according to the media, and the freak out if we win this game will be palpable.

  65. Give the Mime All of the Money that we didn’t give to Michael Bourn. If he keeps hitting like this, put him at shortstop for all I care.


  66. Also, seeing Ozzie next to Marcell is an amazing comic image. Ozuna’s literally twice his size.

  67. Sometimes when you consistently get guys on but not in, it feels like you’ve missed all your chances. With this team it feels like the outburst is inevitable.

  68. Ballgame.

    There’s something different about this team this time around. I hope we keep riding the wave.

  69. I love it.We didn’t steal one. We took it. Go Braves!

    Edit – and now it’s back to the FOX crew who all thought Betts would matter. As I recall, he didn’t do f-all the whole game. Who’s the MVP?!

  70. What a terrific victory that was!

    @173 The Dodgers’ Achilles heel now is the fact that they were heavy favorites (they might still be). Much like we were many a series 20 years ago. The pressure on them tomorrow will be formidable.

  71. It’s so awesome winning all these game 1’s. Going down 0-1 has always been our reputation for so long.

  72. I’m very sad I wasn’t here with you guys during the game; technical issues.

    Just went through all the comments, it was great reliving the game through your words :).

    Quick comments from me:
    I feel bad for Duvall (and the team).

    Didn’t take advantage of Buhler walks.

    HP ump was good, only a couple calls gifted for LA, only one call I can remember for ATL.

    Crazy riley, acuna ,culberson OF with Panda at 3rd…..wouldn’t have guessed it.

    Riley coming through, Ozuna with a great AB in the 9th and Albies finally getting to bat right handed. That inning was great, even with the park robbing Freeman of another HR.

    Can we please score early and often from now on? Thanks in advance.

    Edit: nearly forgot, Pache having a couple of great at bats; he deserves some credit.

  73. Agree with @192 — there’s a swagger. It’s fun as heck to watch.

    During Marcell’s 9th inning at-bat, Joe Simpson was jumping out of his chair as Marcell was working the count, battling, spitting on sliders outside the strike zone, and Joe said that he could just tell from Ozuna’s body language that he was amped by the situation and seeing the ball extremely well. A couple pitches later, he hit an RBI single. There’s a depth to our lineup that’s just frightening.

    The Dodgers got smashed in the face but they could very easily win the next two games and put us back behind the eight-ball; they’re still the most dangerous team in baseball. But the fact that Roberts used May today is interesting, as it suggests that May won’t actually start a game, but is more likely to pick up a couple of innings here and there. So they’ll presumably go Kershaw, Urias, Gonsolin, and then rerack and bring in Buehler for Game 5. And they likely won’t have Urias or Gonsolin go more than 5 or 6 innings, just like Buehler tonight. It’ll be a battle of the bullpens.

    Whole lot of baseball to go, but you can’t win four if you don’t win one. And there isn’t a pitcher in the league our boys can’t lay a whupping on. Hot damn!

  74. Post game show- David Ortiz pronounced Max Fried like “Fried Chicken”. Now all the other guys are just joking on him the whole time for his goof

  75. @205 – I was going to post the same thing about the home plate umpire. I don’t think I’ve ever posted that an ump had a good game, but I really didn’t see many mistakes on balls and strikes. He was extremely consistent. Let’s hope the next ones keep it up.

  76. Well, that was awfully fun. Nothing quite like winning a post-season pitchers’ dual. And it feels a whole lot better having to face Kershaw up 1-0.

    I like the formula — stay in the game until they bring in a reliever we can hit. Geritol & Carrot Top got some nasty stuff.

    Cheers, y’all… let’s go for 2

  77. Austin’s home run breaking that 20 years of frustration…unbelievable.

    Can’t say enough about Max. Thanks Justin Upton.

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