The Los Angeles Dodgers will attempt to even the series against the Atlanta Braves in game two of the NLCS on Sunday night. The Dodgers give the nod to ace Max Scherzer who is making his fourth appearance of the postseason. The Braves counter with Ian Anderson. The Dodgers won the regular-season series 4-2 and the Braves walked off in the ninth for a 3-2 win in game one.
Scherzer Gets the Nod, Dodgers Lose Another Game 1
Dave Roberts will have Max Scherzer on the hill in game two. Scherzer has already made three appearances in the postseason. First, he limited the Cardinals to one run in 4.1 innings in the Wildcard game and followed by holding the Giants to one run in seven frames in game three of the NLDS. Scherzer also earned the save in game five last Thursday. The veteran right-hander enjoyed another tremendous season, reporting a 2.46 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP accompanied by a 15-4 record in 179.1 innings of action. He conceded four runs in 12 innings against the Braves this season and is 10-9 with a 3.88 ERA in 157.2 innings against the foes.
Los Angeles had plenty of chances in game one but could not get the big hit. This squad is accustomed to trailing in the postseason. They were down in last year's NLCS and lost the opening game against the Giants last week.
Watch for Corey Seager in this one. The 27-year old shortstop was the Dodgers playoff MVP in last year’s playoff, bashing eight homers accompanied by 20 RBI’s and a 1.1 OPS. He is the reason the Dodgers rallied to beat the Braves in the 2021 NLCS, accumulating 11 RBI’s in that series.
Will Smith of Los Angeles has homered. pic.twitter.com/x7T8PGmxUK— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 17, 2021
Dodgers’ catcher Will Smith had a big NLCS against the Braves last year, collecting seven RBI’s in the series and homered last night. The 26-year old slugger had a productive NLDS against the Giants, launching two homers with three RBI’s. Max Muncy will not play in this series.
The Dodgers ranked fourth in the Majors with 5.12 runs per game in the regular season. They led the Majors with a 3.01 team ERA.
Anderson Dazzles in NLDS, Starts Game Two
Braves manager Brian Snitker is opting for the talented Ian Anderson in game two. Anderson was terrific in his lone start of the NLDS in game three, tossing five shutout innings against the Brewers, and did not walk any batters in a decisive 3-0 victory. The young right-hander had an effective regular season, posting a 3.58 ERA and an above-average 1.23 WHIP in 128.1 innings of action. Anderson gave up four runs in 4.1 frames against the Dodgers earlier this season in his only career regular-season meeting against L.A. He conceded two runs in seven innings in two meetings against the Dodgers in last year’s NLCS. Anderson is sporting a minuscule 0.48 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in 23 career playoff innings.
The Braves will be playing with a chip on their shoulder in this series considering they held a 3-1 series lead against the Dodgers in last year’s thrilling NLCS before losing in seven games.
Joc Pedersen leads the Braves with five RBI’s in the postseason. Pederson was acquired from the Cubs and his playoff experience is proving valuable. Freddie Freeman was productive in last year’s series against the Dodgers, amassing six RBI’s in seven games. The veteran slugger was the game five hero against Milwaukee last week. Freeman posted a 1.086 OPS in the series.
Atlanta scored an average of 4.91 runs this season, placing them eighth in the big leagues. The pitching staff tallied a 3.88 team ERA, landing them eighth overall.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Well, it’s Max Scherzer on the hill for the Dodgers. The right-hander is very familiar with this Braves lineup due to his time with the Nationals. Scherzer has limited his opponents to only two runs in his 12.1 innings pitched in this postseason and was effective against Atlanta in the regular season as well, allowing just four runs in 12 innings.
Furthermore, Ian Anderson can be solved. The right-hander posted a 4.39 ERA in September and surrendered seven home runs in those five starts. The Braves have not generated notable offense in this postseason, scoring three or fewer runs in four of the five games. The Dodgers outhit the Braves by a 10-6 margin in game one and I expect them to deliver at the plate in this one.
Full-Game Total Pick
This is going to be a pitchers’ duel. Max Scherzer is a proven playoff performer and he can be relied upon to pitch deep into the game as well. He has contained the Braves' top hitters as Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, and Austin Riley are all hitting below .240 in their careers against the ace.
In addition, while I anticipate enough offense against Anderson to register the win, he has been tremendous in the playoffs in his young career, sporting a dazzling 0.48 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. Overall, the Braves' pitching has been their top attribute in this postseason. The under has cashed in four of their five playoff games.
Full-Game Prop Bet
The under on the Braves team total will deliver. The Dodgers' pitching has been spectacular, conceding three or fewer runs in five consecutive playoff games. Scherzer should go six or seven innings and the bullpen should finish it off. The 'pen has only conceded six earned runs in seven games.
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
I am going with the Dodgers on the three-inning line. The Braves have especially been quite early in games in this playoff. They have only scored a total of three runs in innings 1-3 in five playoff games. Scherzer is effective in the early stages, posting a 2.47 ERA in innings 1-3. Anderson tallied a 4.29 ERA in that span.