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Braves

Atlanta Braves NLCS Preview

Do you remember what it felt like on Oct. 9, 2019 watching the St. Louis Cardinals score 10 first inning runs in a series clinching game? If you’re like me, the game left you in utter disbelief.

Now what if I told you before the new pandemic led season, that the new look Braves would be playing in the NLCS having lost zero games in the playoffs? What a difference a year makes.

Strong Pitching:

Going into the post season, and for the entire season really, the biggest question for the Braves was surrounding their starting pitching. Heading into the series the Braves knew they had a steady ace in Max Fried, who performed very well in the playoffs last year.

The Braves also knew who they were giving the ball to in game two, but even after a strong start to his career no one knew what Ian Anderson would do in the playoffs. But man oh man did he perform better than expected.

Now heading into the NLCS the Braves have three legitimate starting pitchers. Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright have combined for three wins, 24 strikeouts, eight hits while giving up no runs.  And the Braves will need every bit of their help in the next round.

Tough Test:

Atlanta hasn’t really been tested so far outside of a stellar pitching performance by likely NL CY Young winner, Trevor Bauer. But that will not be the case as Atlanta welcomes the best team in baseball from wire to wire.

The Dodgers were already a fantastic team and a world series contender for 2020 coming out of last year, but the addition of former MVP and Boston star, Mookie Betts, made the team even more lethal.

The Dodgers now boast names like Betts, Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Corey Seager. They have talent up and down their lineup and were picked by many to represent the national league in the world series. The Dodgers aren’t the Reds and Marlins, but that doesn’t Atlanta is a big underdog.

Hungry Ball Club:

The Braves rebuild seemed like it took a long time. However with what former general manager John Coppolella and current general manager Alex Anthopoulos have built here, the rebuild wasn’t terribly long.

Now after smart trades and free agent moves, the Braves boast a top five roster in all of baseball. Just as the Dodgers have stars, Atlanta has star Ronald Acuña Jr., probable MVP Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, Max Fried, and many others.

This team took it’s lumps in the playoffs getting taken out by the Dodgers and Cardinals the past two postseasons, but those were learning lessons and now they seem ready to take that next step.

Predictions:

This series is tough for me. I have the Tampa Bay Rays coming out of the ALCS, but as for their opponent in the world series? I feel as if this series can go either way, that being said I believe the Braves will ultimately win in game six.

In my opinion, I believe the Braves will ultimately prevail behind two ace level starts from Max Fried and another offensive tear. I would give the edge in bullpen to Atlanta, however what happens if or when this Dodgers team puts up 5 runs? Can the Braves keep up in those games? Either way everyone wins with how competitive this series should be.

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