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Los Angeles Dodgers OF/1B Cody Bellinger. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire)
October 23rd, 2021
The Los Angeles Dodgers took a small step toward their second straight 3-1 NLCS comeback by beating the Atlanta Braves 11-2 at home in Game 5 on Thursday night. But now the series shifts back to Atlanta, and the Dodgers will be forced to rearrange their pitching plans with presumed starter Max Scherzer scratched due to a “dead arm.”
Will L.A. overcome yet another obstacle toward their World Series title defense, or will the Braves clinch their first pennant since 1999? Here’s our wagering preview of NLCS Game 6.
Oddsmakers appear to be giving the Dodgers too much credit in this one, making the Braves a solid value bet to win Game 6 and advance to the World Series.
Walker Buehler has been announced as the Dodgers starter for Game 6 on short rest. He'll be hoping to shake off a sub-par outing in Game 3 in which he allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks before being pulled in the fourth frame.
Bettors can be sure that the Dodgers’ bullpen will do some heavy lifting in this one. This unit benefitted from Friday’s travel day, but the injury to Joe Kelly on Thursday night was not helpful.
Kenley Jansen is on a MISSION this October 😤12 strikeouts in 5 innings and struck out the side tonight 💯 pic.twitter.com/drLT9V73LU— Blake Harris (@BlakeHHarris) October 20, 2021
Kenley Jansen is on a MISSION this October 😤12 strikeouts in 5 innings and struck out the side tonight 💯 pic.twitter.com/drLT9V73LU
Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen, Kenley Jansen and Phil Bickford have combined for a 0.98 ERA and 0.614 WHIP over 27 2/3 innings this postseason, but L.A. manager Dave Roberts will be hard-pressed to find a way to get to this quartet and not overuse them in the event of a Game 7. It will also be challenging to find anyone who can get Braves leadoff man Eddie Rosario out, as he’s batting .471 in the playoffs with two homers and eight RBI.
Braves manager Brian Snitker will be doing a far less complex dance than his opposite number in Game 6. Ian Anderson will toe the rubber first for Atlanta, though it would be surprising if he goes further than five innings in this one. Anderson threw 55 pitches over three innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits and three walks, before being pulled in Game 2 of this series.
Tyler Matzek, Dirty 87mph Slider...and Pitching with 🔥Every. Single. Day. pic.twitter.com/yXqBbsemEk— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 21, 2021
Tyler Matzek, Dirty 87mph Slider...and Pitching with 🔥Every. Single. Day. pic.twitter.com/yXqBbsemEk
The Braves’ leading trio of relievers – Tyler Matzek, Luke Jackson, and Will Smith – are all rested since either Tuesday or Wednesday, having not been used in the Game 5 blowout. They’ve combined for 18 scoreless appearances in 20 chances this postseason.
The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor homered three times in Game 5, but that will be awfully hard to replicate on Saturday night. With Justin Turner out and both Corey Seager and Trea Turner struggling, time seems to be running out for L.A. in these playoffs.
After going 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts in the first two games of the NLCS, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has bounced back in a big way.
FREDDIE FREEMAN BLASTS A 2-RUN HOMER 💥💥(via @Braves) pic.twitter.com/RRmTAj6sel— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 22, 2021
FREDDIE FREEMAN BLASTS A 2-RUN HOMER 💥💥(via @Braves) pic.twitter.com/RRmTAj6sel
After gathering three hits in Game 3, Freeman had a homer and two RBI in both Game 4 and Game 5. The reigning NL MVP is just 1-for-8 lifetime against Buehler (albeit the one hit was a home run), but is a combined 7-for-15 (.467) against Jansen and Treinen.
Whether it’s early or late, Freeman should get at least one hit in Game 6.
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