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The Dodgers are the most stacked team on paper and they’ve shown that early this season. Los Angeles is yet to lose at home after last night’s 7-4 victory. The scary thing for the rest of the league is, a lot of the heavy hitters haven’t even gotten going for L.A. Heading into the series, Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger, Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, and Mookie Betts all have OPS’s below .800. That’s not going to last. Atlanta seems to still be battling that dreaded World Series hangover, so we’re going to take the Dodgers to cover the spread.
Garcia’s 2022 record: (5-2)
When two of the best teams in the National League square off, it should always be a good game. When it’s their best pitchers on top of that? Well you know you’re in for a good show.
Dodgers Ace Walker Buehler will square off against Max Fried and while neither has been as flawless as many expected to begin the season, they can turn it on at any point. Start with Buehler, whose two starts against the Rockies and then Reds have been almost identical.
Here are his stat lines:
Buehler vs Rockies: 5 innings, four hits, two walks, five strikeouts and two earned runs
Buehler vs Reds: 5.2 innings, five hits, three walks, four strikeouts and two earned runs
Combined, that’s resulted in a 3.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and a 1-0 record. Should he take that next step, he could throw seven scoreless.
Fried on the other hand has legitimately struggled. It started in the season-opener when he threw 5.2 innings but surrendered five runs on eight hits and a walk. His numbers improved in his next start against the Nationals, but again he didn’t make it out of the sixth, going 5.1 innings, giving up seven hits and two runs in another loss.
All told, he’s 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP. The Dodgers aren’t exactly the team you want to face though when you’re trying to right the ship.
This is game two of the series, so it’s not as hard as Monday night probably was. Freddie Freeman spent the first 12 years of his career with the Braves, capping his time there with a World Series title.
And of course, on Monday night, Freeman had to live up to a movie script now that he’s in Hollywood.
Before this series Freeman had been great (as expected) for the Dodgers, starting his career in Los Angeles going 12-of-37 with three doubles.
But naturally hit his first home run of the season against his former team in his very first at-bat.
In the series opener, he 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored. Just the emotion that he provides the crowd while facing his former team is enough to provide extra firepower in this series.
Mookie Betts hasn’t been Mookie Betts of late. Since hitting .346 and winning MVP with Boston in 2018 he’s watched his batting average drop every season, all the way to .264 last year (and entering this series he’s hitting just .206 this season). The Dodgers lineup is deep, but they need Betts, who is on a 12-year $365 million contract to improve.
For Atlanta, the offense hasn’t been great this year, so we’re looking for a lefty who can do some damage against right-handed pitching. That’s Matt Olson, who’s been their best player this season.
Olson is hitting .421 with a 1.235 OPS entering the series (both of which are top six in all of baseball), so he will need to be productive if the Braves are going to knock Buehler out of this game.
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|Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles Dodgers Information
|Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles Dodgers
|Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
|Tuesday, April 19, 10:10 p.m. EST
|How to watch
Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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