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Arguably the biggest series of the season in Major League Baseball will begin on Thursday night in Los Angeles. There, the Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Atlanta Braves, in a series that could help decide home-field advantage in the National League. Atlanta comes into this game as the favorite, as they send tier ace to the mound to try and shut down the potent lineup of the Dodgers.
The Atlanta Braves come into Thursday night having won three games in a row, as they sit at the top of the standings in the National League. Atlanta leads the National League in both runs scored and runs allowed, and they have become the favorites to win the World Series. But these next few days in Los Angeles will be very telling for the Braves, as they test themselves in this potential NLCS preview.
Spencer Strider will get the start for the Braves in this contest, who is still right in the thick of the NL Cy Young race. Strider is 15-4 on the season so far, and he leads the league in strikeouts by a convincing margin with 236 in 153.1 innings of work. He will be tested in a big way against the Dodgers bats, but we have seen Strider deliver on a regular basis this season, and it would not surprise to see him do it again.
Meanwhile, the offense of the Braves will look to tee off on Lance Lynn of the Dodgers, who has been a mixed bag this season for both Los Angeles and the Chicago White Sox. Atlanta is coming off of a three-game series where they averaged eight runs per game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. While the Braves will not be playing in the thin air anymore, they will continue to threaten opposing pitching in this series.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have won four games in a row coming into Thursday’s action, including a three-game sweep in their last series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Los Angeles won that series by a combined margin of 23-4, as the Dodgers have scored seven or more runs in four straight games. They will look to keep that streak alive here against the Braves, as they face one of the best pitchers in the league in Strider.
For the Dodgers to win this game, they will need a respectable outing on the mound from Lance Lynn. Lynn is 10-9 this season, but his 5.56 ERA is a more accurate representation of the way that he has pitched for much of this season. He has allowed 34 home runs in just 150.2 innings of work, an average of over one per five innings pitched, which could be a problem against a Braves team loaded with power bats.
Fortunately, the Dodgers have plenty of power bats of their own to offset any damage the Braves might do at the plate. Freddie Freeman is coming off of a game where he hit a home run on Wednesday, while Max Muncy drove in runs in multiple plate appearances a night ago as well. Those two, combined with NL MVP favorite Mookie Betts, should be able to threaten Strider to make this game an interesting one throughout.
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Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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