NLCS, Game 7: Braves vs. Dodgers

Photo courtesy of @timwilliamsart

Well, here we are. Game 7 of the NLCS against the best team in MLB. That’s a pretty good place to be and Ian Anderson will take the ball vs. Dustin May and the bullpen. I’ll be sitting outside, watching it on my projector and having a great night under the stars in 70 degree weather.

Tonight’s Braves Lineup

Coop Says it Best

In looking at the last thread, it seems like our beloved coop said it all:

“Whether the Braves hammer of get hammered, this team has given me pleasure. I am grateful, and I will continue to watch, this season or next. I will not base my happiness on whether Ian throws a shutout or stinks the place up.

Thank you for this great year, Braves Journal. May God bless you each and every one.”


So, put on a Braves shirt (hopefully a Braves Journal shirt), grab a beer or beverage of choice, gather some loved ones, and let’s cheer hard like we are all with Dusty tonight and Ian Anderson can hear us. Go BRAVES!

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

295 thoughts on “NLCS, Game 7: Braves vs. Dodgers”

  1. Whether the Braves hammer or get hammered, the least I can do is join them.

  2. Fun broadcast fact (which, fair warning, it’s entirely possible I’m the only one who cares about):

    Joe Buck has peaced-out of this series at its climax to go do an NFL game. So we have Joe Davis (pro: he’s pretty good IMO; con: he’s literally a Dodgers announcer) joining Smoltz for the game tonight.

    I’m guessing most people will not be overly upset by this, given the prevailing internet opinion of Buck. However, I would have a pretty big problem with this if I were MLB. Given they pretty much let Fox Sports dictate the entire terms of these playoffs to this point, though, forcing them into playing all games back-to-back so that Fox didn’t have to worry about moving any World Series games from their originally-scheduled dates, I’m guessing they’ll say, “Thank you, sir! May I have another?”

    Honestly, when baseball’s national broadcast partners continue to prove time and again that they don’t particularly care about baseball (or at the very least that baseball is never any higher than second on the priority list), I’d say that’s a problem. Not the one that should be the highest on Rob Manfred’s list, perhaps, but a problem nonetheless.

  3. My one-year-old will be wearing her Acuña Jr. onesie to bed tonight. We’re 3-0 this postseason when she wears it.

  4. I said earlier I have despaired of my apparel choices influencing the Braves. But your one year old and her onesie are obviously on the ball! I feel a lot better.

  5. I haven’t had the balls to read the Game 6 thread and subsequent recap

    15 year old daughter and I stayed up to 1.00am last night our time

    We have agreed that we’re not putting ourselves through that again tonight – I suspect that my wife/ her mum might not be best pleased, especially since we’re on holiday this week, with a 1.15am start and who knows when finish

    She is still braver than me as she is going to watch in the morning. I will either be on the champagne in the hot tub or face down in it, which might give the result away. I hope it’s the former, but hope isn’t always enough

  6. @2, if he’s good, and if he doesn’t use “we” or “our” when talking about the Dodgers, it won’t bother me too much. (I was more upset in 1982 when whichever network was broadcasting the Braves-Cardinals NLCS brought in Tommy Lasorda as an announcer after the Braves had beaten LA by a game for the division title.) I can grudgingly understand how the networks might think casual fans would care more about the Dodgers, the better team both this season and over the last decade, as well as the team from the larger market.

    Now that I think about it a bit more, it might be interesting to have each team’s local announcers split the first two games of a seven-game series and then have network announcers do the rest.

  7. tonight’s menu:
    excellent simple pastrami on pretzel, good mustard, thinly sliced red onion
    roasted brussel sprouts, balsamic
    coconut milk-battered onion rings (cut me a break, I was out of real dairy)

    aiming to sit down with it for first pitch

  8. I’m going to sit here and put down a few glasses of bourbon.

    It’s been nice to see so many posters here who appreciate the season that we’ve had. If the Braves lose, that will suck. But there’s no shame in losing to such a great team. And the future is bright. I think we win this one.

  9. Sixer of Creature Comforts Tropicalia and shaved my head for the first time in 20 years, let’s do this.

  10. Let’s go Braves! Hoping for a big first inning from ATL to turn the narrative.

    Coming into this series, the Dodgers were favorites and Braves weren’t expected to win by any means. Once they were up 3-1 that changed things and it absolutely became Atlanta’s series to lose and would be disappointing if they did. Both of these things can be true.

    Go Braves! This would be so huge.

  11. The problem w full bullpen games is that when you try so many pitchers it’s too easy to run into that one guy who doesn’t have it.
    Dodgers, find that guy.

  12. OK, if Smoltz is the color guy, I can’t really complain about the Dodgers announcer (or I can, but no non-Braves fans will take me seriously).

  13. I like complaining about Neck as much as anybody, but that was a perfect pitch for strike 3.

  14. Boy, Pache sure does work a count, doesn’t he? Comes up in his first Game 7 and works an eight-pitch walk. Man, I sure like this kid.

  15. Delmonicos fresh off the grill, sourdough rye just out of the oven and a half bottle of Laphroaig waiting. Go Barves!

  16. @46 – It really is impressive. Juan Soto remains the most astounding rookie I’ve ever seen as far as pitch recognition and plate discipline right out of the box. But Pache has been really great.

  17. Man, you are living right, snowshine. Laphroaig 10? I’m thinking I might exchange pleasantries with a bit of Caol Ila later.

    They’re hitting Ian hard off the bat.

  18. Five innings at best. The short leash starts now. Either he settles in next inning or we start looking at matchups.

  19. Big exhale. Need a lil’ adjustment to get Ian’s change and curve down in the zone. Great poise for the kid though.

  20. First time he’s really SPOTTED that change. He’s just, superhuman when he actually spots it.

  21. Anderson’s changeup is a heckuva weapon. He can throw it for strikes any time. But it’s best when he commands the fastball–which is a little off tonight.

  22. What I’ve learned about this offense this year, if they are swinging early, they are seeing the ball well. They aren’t just impatient like some past Braves teams.

  23. Ian barely made it 4 last time and he’s even worse today. The results were there once, and I think it was a bit silly to think he could pull this high wire act twice.

  24. To employ the cliché, a crooked number would be great this inning.

    Edit–Eruption is a much better image than crooked number.

  25. Nick professionally willed that ball into the dirt. Make contact here. Ground out to 2nd, Nick. This is your time!

  26. Oh for the love of absolute God. How many baserunning mistakes is this team going to make????

  27. That was a huge baserunning mistake by Riley. What was he thinking watching instead of digging toward third while Dansby was in the rundown.?

  28. Complete disaster. That’s Lonnie Smith level disaster. We who saw that will be telling 25 year old Braves fans about that play in 2030.

  29. Guys, if they win then now of it matters, but there have been some boneheaded, little league mistakes this series.

    Marcell tagging up.
    Ozzie running in fair territory.
    Snitker not waiting for the pinch hitter to be announced.
    Whatever the hell that just was.

  30. If they lose by one run, they have to live with that clown baserunning all offseason. Acuna’s groundout would have made it at least 4-2 with two outs and Freeman coming up with a runner in scoring position.

  31. The Dodgers are too good to be wasting opportunities like the ones in the 1st and 3rd innings.

  32. Complete disaster. That’s Lonnie Smith level disaster. We who saw that will be telling 25 year old Braves fans about that play in 2030.

    It really just comes to down if they make it to the World Series this year or not. If the Braves win tonight, no one will ever really care about that play after today.

  33. For the record, I mostly blame Riley, not Swanson. Riley just stood there at second base watching and basically waited until pretty much the exact moment Swanson was tagged out and the play was over before apparently thinking “oooooh, now I’ll go to third.”

  34. Why is it that the Braves suddenly lose control of their bowels in key moments in playoff games?

  35. @133

    Riley’s baserunning was worse, but Dansby’s wasn’t good. You’re not making it home on a smashed ball to third like that.

  36. It may work out yet, but I don’t know why you’d pitch to Turner down 3-0 with a base open.

  37. Breathe… (whew)

    (I don’t do memes, but Keanu Reeves is watching a bullet whiz by just about now.)

  38. We are frustrated at our wasted opportunities, but I can only imagine how Dodgers fans are frustrated at all the baserunners they’ve left on

  39. So Greene in the 5th. Who else do you turn to and in what order? I think Minter has to have a shot, given how great he was. Martin and Melancon, for sure. Who else?

  40. How in the world did the umpire call that 0-1 pitch a ball? He’s tightening his zone more every inning. And that 1-1 pitch was right on the line.

  41. Martin threw 30 pitches last night. Amongst rested relievers, you have Smith, Minter, O’Day, Melancon, and the mop-up guys. And then Webb and Dayton, but I don’t know what you’d call them.

  42. The Dodgers have a better eye at the plate than the home plate ump. Bellinger didn’t chase, as is usual for all their hitters, but the ump gave them one that was right down the middle

  43. @ 163–if this was anything other than a game 7 I’d agree, but there is no such thing as a day off unless he physically simply isn’t up to it.

  44. I’d go Greene in the 6th. I think Melancon is on 2 days rest currently so he could conceivably do 8th and 9th. Who gets the 7th I’m not sure. I guess either O’Day or a not-very-rested Martin or Minter. The 3 batter rule makes it harder, can’t just put a guy out there for one batter (except to finish the inning).

  45. Minter threw 42 pitches 2 days ago. I mean, I get it, but… I think you have to use him if he’s needed.

  46. It seems we as Braves fans are terrified to see Will Smith in this game. The good news is that we only have 2 more years of this and he’s only owed $26M after this year.

  47. I hate to break it to folks, but I think we’re seeing Will Smith in this game.

    What it’s gonna be is Greene/Minter in this inning, Smith in the seventh, Martin eighth and Melancon ninth. And I think we all know it.

  48. Will Smith had looked really good for several appearances in a row, but the last two appearances are enough to disqualify him from this game 7.

  49. Man, I dunno about Minter here. No one has been exactly good, and he was fantastic last time out. But man… he’s got to be at the bottom of the tank.

  50. Okay — the Dodgers are pinch-hitting for the Designated Hitter. Shouldn’t that mean that they lose the DH and their pitcher has to hit?

    Or has that rule been changed?

  51. You can pinch hit directly for the DH and leave that guy in as DH. You can’t do anything else with the spot, though, or you do then lose the DH.

  52. Maybe AJ wasn’t the right button to push. He had made several good pitches that Hernandez spoiled.

  53. Do you intentionally walk the next guy to clear the 3-batter rule and bring someone else in?

  54. Minter has the velocity but he doesn’t have the life to finish them. I get why they went to him since it’s Johnny Wholestaff, but you can’t ride him.

  55. I don’t think Minter escapes here. I don’t like this. He isn’t finishing his pitches. He’s gassed.

  56. @208, best I can do is check here every so often. I refuse to watch, listen. Just can’t bring myself to.

  57. Jansen, Kelly, and McGee — that’s the guy that everyone in Los Angeles is terrified of, and two guys we’ve hit well in this series.

    I don’t believe they have a pitcher we’re not capable of hitting.

  58. It feels like every guy they’ve got, we’ve hit around in 1 out of 3 appearances. Except McGee. Feels like we’ve pounded him.

  59. Braves have not put the Dodgers away 1-2-3 in an inning since the 8th inning of Friday’s game. Great googly moogly. They just don’t hibernate.

  60. The Braves have shown they are capable of beating the Dodgers, and now they have to prove it one more time (I’d like about 10 more runs from our guys, personally).

  61. We realistically have O’Day, Smith, and Melancon. They have LH, RH, LH, RH, RH, RH, RH coming up unless they pinch-hit. You could go Smith for Muncy, Smith, Bellinger, and then go to O’Day for the stretch of RHs.

    Fun fact: we have 6 guys on the staff with ERAs over 10 for the series. They have beat the sh*t out of us this series.

  62. Are you kidding me? The first pitch to Acuna was called a strike for Urias. He called that a ball on our pitchers at least seven times.

  63. One thing’s for sure, we missed our chance to win this series while the Dodgers were in a funk. They are locked in now and we’re gonna have to earn it.

  64. Damn it.

    Martin’s working about 88-96. I really wish there were more velocity spread. We’re not getting many swings and misses and part of that is that they don’t have to slow their bats down against all our power pitchers who are mostly throwing fastballs and hard sliders.

  65. Just isn’t meant to be. We did it with mirrors with the pitching staff and just couldn’t put their hitters away when we had the chance

  66. If they lose by this score, everyone can cite that Swanson-Riley baserunning show as where it all went wrong.

  67. By the way, for what it’s worth, we might be looking at Nick Markakis’ last major league at bat this time through the order.

  68. The baserunning, Acuna’s injury, Riley’s lack of development as a hitter, Duvall’s injury, Markakis’ body being shot, d’Arnaud probably being gassed, no bench. There’s just so much on the offensive side to point to as the reasons for why we are where we are.

  69. Braves gave this game away with bad at bats with runners in scoring position and stupid mistakes on the bases. But the truth is that Anthopoulos lost the series at the trade deadline.

  70. Riley had an RBI single tonight, for what it’s worth. His version of Merkle’s boner is what really has us behind the eight-ball. That, and Mookie’s catch.

    I still believe in our offense.

  71. I hate to even bring up their name, but the teams these Dodgers remind me of are those late-90’s Yankees lineups. Tough outs 1-9. It’s absolutely a philosophy and team approach.

  72. Radio guys saying something’s wrong with Freddie’s hip or lower back. Down in the tunnel with Poulos.

  73. @249

    Great. I look forward to seeing this old thing 120 times this week.

    You can’t win a championship unless you make the playoffs.

  74. @261, up 3-1, they have me excited for the World Series, and then this. They make me hate baseball, so I would prefer no playoffs than that feeling. I hate being a fan of this franchise.

  75. Um, you need to direct that at him, Alex. I’ve said nothing rude to him af all. I’ve been commenting here for 22 years and have never had a problem. I’m not going to be told to be nice when I’ve done nothing wrong to him.

  76. STILL haven’t got them down 1-2-3. That is amazing. That’s 18 straight innings the Dodgers got at a least one base runner. Ridiculous.

    Braves bullpen was the team strength, and they didn’t get it done against the league’s best offense. That’s the story to me.

  77. DG, I’ve been commenting here for a long time, too, if not as long as you, and I’ve never had a problem with either of you, but emotions run high when we’re losing in the playoffs.

  78. As I think Skip used to say, “You gotta go get ’em, Braves!”

    That might have been Milo, I don’t know. But we need some runs.

  79. @266 – No bullpen can get it done against a good lineup when the GM decides to roll with only 2 starting pitchers. It’s too many innings to cover in a seven game series.

  80. @271, me, too.

    Shows you how much Dave Roberts trusts his bullpen to hold a one-run lead in the 9th inning, doesn’t it?

  81. I’ve never believed in a Braves team like I did this one. That’ll teach me to ever care about these clowns again.

    Ozuna and Acuña can go take selfies for the rest of winter now.

  82. This has got to be so much less painful for all of you youngster who didn’t grow up learning to loathe the Dodgers in the 1980s.

  83. Their great players showed up the last couple of games, ours didn’t. While our bullpen has been great, we lack the stuff that their pen has. We couldn’t get punch outs when we had two strikes several times and it cost us the series

  84. It’ll be a long offseason trying to understand what it’ll take for the Braves to get to the next level. But while this season and the direction of the franchise are extremely frustrating at times, I enjoyed this season and more importantly, I enjoyed it with all of you. While we’re not the best team in the league, this is the best Braves blog on the internet.

    Thank you to everyone who continues to work really hard to provide content and for Ryan leading it up, and to everyone who comments and makes this a place where we can share our thoughts freely. One day there will be a World Series-clinching recap on Braves Journal.

  85. Amen, Rob.

    Our guys looked worn down. The key to the Dodgers was depth. They had more starters they used and they had more catchers they used. We had one hell of a ballclub, but we just didn’t have the stamina, and we committed too many mistakes earlier in the series — partly because so many of our guys are 22! — to win before Game 7.

    The Braves are going to be good next year, and we’ll be good the year after that. It’s a bitter pill, but I loved watching this team, and considering that earlier in the summer I never believed in my wildest dreams that MLB would make it all the way to the World Series, I never thought the Braves would be in Game 7 of the NLCS with a good chance of playing in the Fall Classic. The last couple of months were found money.

    I hope and pray that next year is a full season.

  86. Well heck. It was a good year. One game away from the WS. The Dodgers were the favorites for good reason. But with us being up 3-1 in the series and then a 2 run lead in two of the last three games it feels like we should have pulled it out. Their players came through in crunch time and ours didn’t. They do have more talent on their roster. I think that’s obvious. But I do think we’ve closed the gap on them. If Soroka’s back healthy next year I like our chances to get to the WS finally. AA has some work to do this winter but it’s doable. The major pieces are in place. Go Rays!!

  87. I didnt watch the last two games…. still hurts, but it doesn’t surprise me.

    -payroll difference
    -ghost of Acuna playing
    -Duvall dead (props to pache, though)
    – no rotation
    – overused bullpen
    -lack of off days to hide previous 2 problems
    -Offense choking

    Minter pitching those first 3 innings was the climax for us. All downhill from there.

    Can’t wait for the financial excuses for ownership to put out a worse team out on the field next year.

  88. @291, I’m skeptical that AA spends much on anything this offseason. They lost a half billion in revenue this year.

  89. Games 5 and 7 were almost a carbon copy: early lead, baserunning blunder/wasted scoring opportunities, Mookie catch, relievers give up homers in the 6th and 7th, offense goes quietly.

    Dodgers were the better team but we could’ve beat them. And that’s why it stings.

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