The Los Angeles Dodgers did it! They beat the hated San Francisco Giants in a win-or-go-home game. With the 2-1 victory, they move on to the National League Championship Series for the second straight year and once again will face the Atlanta Braves.
The win also moves the Dodgers to 3-0 in elimination games this season. Before the series, I predicted the Dodgers to take it in five games and I’m glad to finally hit a prediction on the nose after being so close with my regular season predictions.
It is only fitting that the series ended on a check swing call, after how important that missed swing check call was on Darin Ruf was during the regular season.
It was a battle throughout the whole year between the Dodgers and Giants. But in the end, the Dodgers were just a tad better. Former NL MVP Cody Bellinger made fans forget his struggling season with arguably be one of the most important hits of his career. As Bellinger smacked a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning, that was the deciding run. I’d say many fans would have to issue an apology to Bellinger for the endless scrutiny throughout the season.
However, with business taken care of in the NLDS, the Braves now await in the NLCS. As you may remember the two teams met last year in the NLCS during the shortened season. The Braves were up three games to one; but in the end, the Dodgers came back to win 4-3.
The Braves will have home-field advantage, despite finishing the season with 88 wins compared to the Dodgers’ 106 regular-season wins. Why you may ask? The Braves won their division and the Dodgers didn’t. However, it still does not make sense to me as there is a difference of 18 wins,
If the Dodgers do get past the Braves in the NLCS, they are guaranteed a rematch of either the 2017 World Series against the Astros or the 2018 World Series against the Red Sox.
The Dodgers will have Friday off before commencing the NLCS Saturday in Atlanta. Neither team has announced a starter for Saturday’s Game 1, although left-hander Max Fried is the most likely candidate for the Braves.
Buehler would be pitching on four days’ rest if he starts on Saturday, or Scherzer could be handed the ball for maybe 4-5 innings, and there is always the choice of Tony Gonsolin.
During the regular season, the Dodgers took the season series, winning four games out of the six. The first meeting was way back in June when the Braves took two out of three in Atlanta, while the most recent meeting was in late August in which the Dodgers swept the Braves in Dodger Stadium.
Although you can think all that with a grain of salt, as this is now the postseason.
The Braves are a great team and have been playing great baseball the past couple of months. But the Dodgers are just the better team top to bottom. In the end, I think the Dodgers will prevail due to their talent, although nothing at this stage of the season will come easily.
Ultimately I am going with the Dodgers in five games, with them celebrating a World Series berth at Chavez Ravine, for the first time in a while.
The first pitch for Game 1 Saturday is scheduled at 5:07 p.m. Pacific.