With a record of 33-23, the Los Angeles Dodgers will visit the Atlanta Braves in a weekend three-game series for the first time since last year’s NLCS.
As we know, the Dodgers fell behind 3-1 to the Braves in the 2020 NLCS before ultimately coming back to win the series 4-3 on their way to a World Championship.
The Braves are currently 26-28, but are only 3.5 games back out of first place in the NL Central. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are in third place in the West. The Dodgers will have to execute a perfect game plan to contain the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr.
Acuna has arguably been one of the best players in the majors for the past couple of seasons. He currently is tied for the most home runs in the league with 17. He’s also batting .290 and figures to be a starter in the All-Star Game.
The Dodgers just took two of three from the Cardinals, so they will look to win another series, this time on the road. On Thursday, Los Angeles activated right-handed pitcher Jimmy Nelson and outfielder AJ Pollock from the injured list. To make room on the active roster, the team optioned relievers Edwin Uceta and Alex Vesia to the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.
To begin this road trip, left-hander Julio Urias will get the first start, followed by Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer. The Braves will send right-handers Ian Anderson and Charlie Morton to the mound and left-hander Max Fried to close it out.
Urias was roughed up in his last start against the Giants, as he gave up six earned runs and allowed 11 hits in an even five innings. He still has had quite a nice season overall, going 7-2 with a 3.61 ERA. Atlanta’s Anderson took the loss in his last outing against the Mets, throwing four innings while allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk.
Kershaw also struggled against the Giants in his last start, surrendering five runs over six innings. Kershaw will go up against Morton, who the Dodgers faced in the World Series last year. The veteran right-hander this season is 4-2 and has posted a 4.26 ERA. To close it out, Bauer will oppose Fried, who the Dodgers have seen multiple times in recent seasons. Fried is 2-3 this year and has posted a 5.35 ERA.
The Dodgers look to continue their success from Wednesday when they erupted for 11 runs in the first inning. Cody Bellinger looked like his former MVP self going off for six RBI. The Dodgers also hope to ride the hot bats of Chris Taylor and Max Muncy. Taylor leads the Dodgers in average this season at .281. Muncy leads the Dodgers in home runs with 13 and in RBIs with 30.
For the Braves their hottest hitters are Acuna and Austin Riley, who leads the team with a .302 average.
The series will being Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 4:20 p.m. Pacific.