The top teams during the abbreviated regular season will get together in the National League Championship Series. The Atlanta Braves will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers with the right to head to the World Series on the line. The Braves and Dodgers will start their seven-game series on Monday and play every day until a team wins four games.
The Braves are looking to get rid of some of the ghosts of the past in the postseason with their opponent. The Braves and Dodgers met in the National League Divisional Series in 2013 and also in 2018, and both results were the same: The Dodgers won both in four games. Before that, the Braves and Dodgers met in the 1996 Divisional Series, with the Braves sweeping Los Angeles.
As were the two American League Divisional Series, these games will be played within the “bubble.” This series will be played at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
- Game 1: Monday, 8:08 pm ET, FOX
- Game 2: Tuesday, TBD, FOX
- Game 3: Wednesday, TBD, FOX
- Game 4: Thursday, TBD, FOX
- Game 5 (if necessary): Friday, TBD, FOX
- Game 6 (if necessary): Saturday, TBD, FOX
- Game 7 (if necessary): Sunday, TBD, FOX
2020 Regular-Season Records
- Atlanta Braves 35-25
- Los Angeles Dodgers 43-17
The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers did not meet during the 2020 regular season.
Atlanta Braves 2020 Stats
Health was a good thing for the Atlanta Braves. Dansby Swanson, Marcell Ozuna, and Freddie Freeman played in all 60 games. Those three all had great seasons, with .274, .338, and .341 batting averages, respectively.
The power was all over the place for Atlanta. The Braves saw five guys hit double-digit home runs. Ozuna led with 18, but Adam Duvall was right behind with 16.
The 5.8 runs scored during the regular season was the best in the league. Atlanta averaged more than nine hits per game and hit for a .268 batting average. The Braves hit the second-most home runs with 103.
After a slow start of scoring just three runs a game in the series win over the Reds, the Braves’ offense came to life with six per game in the three-game sweep of the Marlins.
The Braves’ pitching has been average, and that’s it. No better, no less. That’s why the Braves will have to make an effort to make sure they are working hard at getting a tough Dodgers lineup out. Atlanta allowed 8.2 hits per game and had a team ERA of 4.41, both ranking 15th in the league.
The postseason started with a 1-0 win in 13 innings against Cincinnati. Max Fried struck out five batters in seven scoreless innings in that one. Game 2 saw Ian Anderson throw a gem, with six scoreless innings. The bullpen came into the game and struck out three in the final three innings, allowing no baserunners.
Mark Melancon, the 35-year-old closer for the Braves, will be under the gun against the Dodgers’ offense. He has thrown in four postseason games and has yet to allow a hit or a run.
The Braves hit the ball well. The Braves run the bases well. The Braves field the ball well. The Braves pitch the ball just okay. The big difference-maker here is going to be: Can the Braves come up with enough outs?
This series could go the distance, so getting enough outs from the starters to not work the bullpen too much is going to be a factor as well. The series is played in Arlington, so there’s no home-field advantage either way.
Los Angeles Dodgers 2020 Stats
Many will talk about the Atlanta offense and its ability to score runs, but guess what? The Dodgers offense matches up. Los Angeles also scored 5.8 runs per game and banged out nearly nine hits per game. The Dodgers hit 118 home runs, which was the most during the 60-game regular season.
Mookie Betts, in his first season with the Dodgers, started his Los Angeles career hitting .292 with 16 home runs. He tied with A.J. Pollock for the most home runs on the team. Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager did a great job with extra-base hits as well, combining for 23.
The difference between the teams resides here. The Dodgers allowed just 3.6 runs per game, which was second in Major League Baseball. Los Angeles allowed just 7.1 hits per game. Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler will be at the top of the rotation, but the back end of the bullpen is just as scary.
The Dodgers have allowed just 11 runs in five games. Closer Kenley Jansen was not sharp in the win over the Padres in Game 2, but those two runs allowed were the only time he allowed earned runs to score since Sept. 12 against the Astros. Joe Kelly picked up the save in that game despite walking two batters.
There is certainly no argument that the Los Angeles Dodgers have the postseason experience over the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers have tons of guys that have already been there and done that for two World Series trips. Can the Dodgers put the disappointment of last season’s loss in the NLDS behind them enough to get past an energetic Atlanta squad?
The pitching matchups were not available as of Saturday morning. Look for both managers, Brian Snitker and Dave Roberts, to get their Game 1 pitcher lined up sometime on Sunday, with the rest of the rotation to follow. Many expect Walker Buehler to pitch Game 1 for the Dodgers, while Max Fried is the likely choice for Atlanta.
OddsThe Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites to win the National League Championship Series at -230. Atlanta is the underdog despite all of its success this season. The Braves are listed at +180, which gives bettors $18 for every $10 spent.
What a series this should be. Los Angeles had back-to-back World Series trips in 2017 and ’18 that saw them come up empty, then was upset by the Washington Nationals in the divisional round a season ago. The Dodgers brought over Betts for this reason: To get over the postseason hump and bring the franchise another championship.
Atlanta, on the other hand, is a really fun team to watch and follow. Braves fans have got to be excited about their chances. The lineup of young offensive stars seems to be clicking at the right time. Marcell Ozuna had an MVP-type season, Freddie Freeman is an elite hitter in the middle of the order, and the young pitching is finding ways to get guys out.
There is a good chance this could go the full seven games. Both teams are on fire this postseason. Obviously, it’s going to come down to the bullpens late in games. Much like the American League Championship Series, the value bet here is the Atlanta Braves. Enjoy this great series.