Brave is making the impossible real against the Dodgers in the NLCS

ARLINGTON, Texas – For the National League Championship Series, which takes pleasure in bringing the impossible to life, it was also foreign. It was the ninth inning of Game 2, and the Atlanta Braves’ second baseman, Ozzy Albiz, was aiming for a fastball to the left-center field. The ball flew over the fence – and went straight into the glove of Mark Melancan, who sniffed around the team’s bullpen. Flap reliever occasionally snags a home ball, sure, but in the same pitch from the same batter in the same series? Melank also did in Game 1.

The theme of improbability connected from Monday to Tuesday was not limited to the refurbish cosplaying outfielder. The Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers again. The same Dodgers who played back-to-back games only four times this year. Despite Atlanta running the same roughshod over its wild-card and division series opponents, the same Dodgers who entered the series as a 70% favorite in Las Vegas are the third highest percentage in the LCS in two decades.

There is one unbeaten team left in this postseason, and that is the Braves, whose 8-7 victory was the NL record, the seventh in a row to start the playoffs – and the final score was more symbolic than indicated. The Dodgers tattooed Josh Tomlin, Braves’ mop-up man, with Melancon working for three runs in the ninth inning to record an error and an out-save around the triple. Moving to ninth, Atlanta held a 3-3 lead and had to post a back-to-back win against the Dodgers with at least four runs. In four-run games during the regular season, the Dodgers are 23-3.

In other words, the brave Dodgers are doing what the Dodgers did with everyone else this year.

“There’s no reason for anyone to step off the gas,” Melank said. “No one has won anything yet.”

Melancon’s caution is understandable, and yet what he and his 27 teammates have done in the first two games of the NLCS is that none of the other nine West Division teams, or the Milwaukee Brewers, have been able to do with the jerseys: make them look human. Los Angeles regular season 43-17, completed a special season 116-win pace. Dodgers hits, dodgers pitch and dodgers fielding, orchestral mix of talent. Their depths made them strong on offense and pushed them into the bullpen. This was not just a good team. It was a great team.

And it could still be, though, that the hole from which Los Angeles should dig itself grew deeper into trouble on Tuesday. The day started with scratching starter Clayton Kersh from his scheduled start due to a back split. Los Angeles put forward Tony Gonsolin, who was given five runs in 46 innings by the Braves, which put troublemaker Ian Anderson in trouble and increased his postseason scoreless streak to 156 frames by scoring four shutout innings.

The Atlanta routine was familiar: a dose of power from MVP-to-Freddie Freeman, who sat at home for the second day in a row to keep the Braves ahead 2-0, and band-and-band-and-band-some-more-even-pitching by his staff. -Don’t break. By the end of the seventh inning, when Atlanta had a 0-0 lead, the team’s postseason averaged 84.8484 runs.

Compared to the first three games (six), the Braves went on to score more runs in the next three innings (seven), which was not ideal, but then no one could expect the daggers to blur. The idea that Los Angeles will roll will not resonate with Atlanta – as good as the Brave are – as good as the right opponent has proven them.

“I didn’t like the big lead because these guys are so powerful,” said Brian Snytaker, Braves manager. “It’s a great ballgame to win. It’s all over now.”

It’s not just how the Braves are winning, but how they’re doing it. Atlanta entered the postseason with two clear starting pitchers: Max Fried, his raising ace, and Anderson, who didn’t even make it until Aug. 26, and entered the playoffs with six major league starts. The Braves boasted a deep and underdeveloped bullpen that showed no regrets, leaving one crack, until Corey Caesar hit a seven-run home run in the seventh on Tuesday and Max Muncie dropped a two-run shot in the ninth.

Ronald Aquina Jr. and Marcel Ozuna and Marvis Ozuna and Travis de Arnaud and Albiz and especially Freeman were what Atlanta was all about after the young Ace Poe Mike Soroka and the brutal Achilles tear of numerous other pitching fables.

“It just repeats why it’s MVP, right?” Said Melanch. “Freddie is the most consistent player I’ve ever seen, the one he’s played against, the one with him, the one around him. He’s just who he is. If there’s one word to add to that, it’s consistency.”

Funny enough, that term is also the sum of 2020 dodgers. Snyder called them a group that was “going through battles”, and then whether it was losing the 2017 or 2018 World Series or joining the division series against last season’s final champion and Washington Washington Nations, Dodgers understands the adversity. .

So when his manager, Dave Roberts, said “we show life late – it was really good to see,” he sounded more introverted than platitude. With the Fried and Anderson games unavailable for 3 and 4, the Dodgers are off to a great start. Roberts said they expect Kersh to pitch in Game 4 on Thursday, although the first Los Angeles must claim in Game 3 with 25-year-old Kyle Wright, who threw six shutout innings against the Miami Marlins in his first playoff and won the Division Series. . .

Not once this year, the Dodgers dropped three games in a row, an eye-popping feat that shows how good they have been and why so many people blamed their progress in the World Series. The Braves put an end to that, and another win would go a long way to ending the NLCS.

“Hopefully,” Melank said.[Wednesday] The night is three in a row. “

Indeed, he was talking about catching another Elbis home run ball. But if sentiment is applied instead of mentors, he will gladly stop playing the outfielder again.