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Does This Dodgers/Braves Series Matter?

Dodgers Dugout 2023

The Dodgers have been beating the crap out of everyone in August. They came into tonight’s series opener against the Braves with a 24-4 record in the month of August. That’s the single season best record in a month for any Dodgers club. No team has won 24 games in a month since the 2002 moneyball Oakland A’s. The Dodgers have a 13 game lead in the NL West, so this game is meaningless. The Braves have an equally large lead in their division, so other than bragging rights the only other story that factored is postseason positioning. Many people consider this four game series a postseason or possibly NLCS preview. The Dodgers almost overcame a 7-1 deficit by scoring 6 runs to cut Atlanta’s lead to 8-7. The game came down to the final at-bat in the bottom of the ninth, but the Braves held on to defeat the Dodgers 8-7. The Dodger comeback was impressive and fun, but almost only counts in horseshoes. Yet the question remains, does this game and series matter?

I ponder this because while the game was entertaining, the results don’t mean anything. Or do they? After all both teams look to be equally matched, although early on in this affair it didn’t seem so. Atlanta Cy Young candidate Spencer Strider was dominating the Dodgers early. Meanwhile Lance Lynn dissolved on the mound, allowing seven earned runs and three home runs in 4.1 rough innings. Probable MVP Ronald Acuna Jr. notched three hits and smashed a grand slam home run to put the Braves up 4-1 in the second. Atlanta added home runs from Michael Harris and Austin Riley and it looked like the Dodgers had finally met their match. The Dodgers are a very good club, but the Braves appeared like an elite team.

But the Dodgers never quit no matter what the score is. That’s what differentiates this Dodger’s team from teams past. Mookie Betts (who hit two home runs) clubbed a three-run shot in the fifth to cut the score to 7-4. With one swing of Mookie’s powerful bat the Dodgers were right back in it and so was the crowd. The momentum swung in the top of the sixth when a costly Max Muncy error allowed an Atlanta run to cross the plate and it was 8-4 Braves.

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Muncy would atone for his fielding gaffe by hitting a home run in the bottom of the eighth, but before that rookie Michael Busch hooked one into the right field corner over the low wall against reliever Joe Jiminez to cut the score to 8-5. Later in that frame Mookie hit his second home run of the game and it was now 8-6 Atlanta.

Muncy’s Homer in the eighth off of A.J. Minter put the Dodgers within one run, with the score now 8-7. The Dodgers had a real look at the game in the eighth when Chris Taylor walked, and James Outman singled. But the Braves got the better of the Pierce Johnson/Amed Rosario matchup when Johnson whiffed Rosario and the Dodgers couldn’t push across another run.

In the bottom of the ninth, Mookie led off but flied out. Then Freddie Freeman walked and Will Smith singled through the hole against closer Raisel Iglesias. Muncy with a chance to win the game, just missed it flying out to deep right. Enrique Hernandez followed by striking out to end the game.

The Dodgers are now 83-50, despite the loss have a firm grasp on the second postseason seeding in the National League. Should we even care about this game? After all the Dodgers and Braves both won over 100 games last year and didn’t make it out of the NLDS. Perhaps the Dodgers were just due to lose one after having such a scorching August? Or maybe the Braves are just a very good team? Or what if the Dodgers don’t even face the Braves in the postseason this year? As so many people like to point out to me, the playoffs are a crapshoot (I don’t believe so but just using that as a talking point) the two teams might not even face each other. Or what if they do? The Dodgers made two big mistakes during this one. Lynn walking nine-hitter Nicky Lopez with the bases loaded and Acuna on deck was the first. Muncy’s throwing error was the second. You can’t make any mistakes against the Braves. Or was this just the first round of a heavyweight battle between two baseball juggernauts? There are so many questions and so little answers right now.

I don’t know. I can’t answer these questions yet. Do these games matter? You tell me.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic
https://ladodgerreport.com

11 thoughts on “Does This Dodgers/Braves Series Matter?

  1. Lots of people downplay the importance of bragging rights. I, believe it or not, feel that bragging rights instills confidence, momentum, and pride. By losing, they humiliate themselves, and second guess their abilities.

    Sure, the Dodgers had an incredible August, but we have to remember that the majority of the schedule was against weaker, bottom feeders, who just so happened to be playing lousy baseball on top of it. The weak NL West allowed the Dodgers to open up a huge lead in the division.

    Well yes, they lost game one against the #1 contender. It did ot have to be, but Lynn did not have command, DR left him in way too long, sloppy defense, and last but not least, blown scoring opportunities, RISP, LOB, and excessive K’s. They should have ran away with the game, but they chose to trip on their own feet at the starting line.

    The Dodgers need to play better against the contenders, especially to gain home field advantage.

  2. Game 2 Dodgers pounded by the Braves.

    Urias continues to struggle while Fried dominates the Dodgers.

    Sloppy defense…Another error by Muncy.

    Offense sputters, 1-5 RISP, 6 LOB, 14 KO’s. A shocker 3-run HR by Colton Wong, but too little, too late. Dodgers already threw in the towel.

    Talk about importance of this series? Urias gave up, DR gave up (taking out Mookie and Freddie)…Totally humiliated. Braves probably laughing their asses off in the clubhouse.

    Dodgers not looking like a viable playoff contender at this point.

      1. ROFL 🤪. Every game seems to be a bullpen game anymore. They do not have a legit pitching rotation to have any chance in October.

        PUNT! It’s Football Season! Why not! Go PAC-2! Go LA Lambs. Go USC Defense! Are the LA Chargers and UCLA Bruins our only hope? Pretty sad😕

    1. Add this to the list:

      Totally humiliated. Braves probably laughing their asses off in the clubhouse.

      Dodgers not looking like a viable playoff contender at this point.

  3. As the Dodgers try to save face and salvage a win in Game 4 vs the Braves, a few things crossed my mind… “Who Knew?”

    The Dodger pitching situation does not seem to be getting any better. There are no starting pitchers that can match up to the elite pitchers like they are facing against the Braves. DR says they need more length from their starters, but he continues to impose pitch limits on his young prospects, even his veterans like Urias and Kershaw are prone to the early hook. The pitchers may be cruising along, pitching well, waiting for their offense to score some runs. Then DR pulls them, in the 4th-5th fearing the 2nd/3rd time around the order….SOS to the taxed bullpen. Unless DR gives a pitcher a chance to prove he can make it to the 7th, he will never know. He needs to stick with his pitcher (starters or relievers) until they show signs of struggling, then yes, pull them. The other issue is the use of Phillips. Why bring him in in the 8th, with the score tied? DR knows his offense is struggling. Bring Phillips in to preserve a lead “only”! If the offense fails in the bottom of the 9th, they are handicapped going into extras. DR will never get “length” from his pitchers (both starters and relievers) if he continues his abuse of the pitching staff. With Urias continuing to struggle, Kershaw limitations, two or three rookies with pitch limitations, a bullpen game or two, and a predictable, tired bullpen, this pitching staff is not playoff worthy.

    Offensively, batting practice is over against the bottom feeders. As they face tougher pitching, like they have faced against ATL (and no doubt will into the playoffs), they will probably show their true colors…RISP, LOB, KO’s. Dodger MVP candidates Freeman and Betts cannot do it alone, and they have been unable to wipe the MVP smirk off of Acuña Jr’s face.

    How important is HFA? The way the Dodgers are playing against the Braves, it is more like Home Field Disadvantage.

    Just my personal opinion. You all can agree to disagree! I won’t lose sleep over it.

      1. Might be, Bluto…statistically. That is the way baseball is played nowdays. But take today’s game, for instance. Miller finally has his best and longest outing….7 innings, finally. Yes, he gave up a 1-run HR, but he was dealing, not laboring, and in command of his pitches, even though offense struggles 17 RISP, 6 LOB, GIDP, 6 K’s, so far.

        So, a perfect time to use a Set-up man, and a closer. Old school baseball.

        But, I see your point… I really do!

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