Braves Face Their Biggest Hurdle First

Kris Medlen will match up with the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw in Game 1

Kris Medlen will match up with the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw in Game 1

We have seen 162 games and the playoffs are finally here.  Giving up the best record in the NL is not the way that Atlanta Braves fans wanted the season to end, but it happened, and I think that means big trouble for the Bravos.

I certainly won’t say that the Braves have no chance against the Dodgers, because that’s simply not true, but I do think that this is the toughest match-up in the National League for any team.  The Dodgers’ have great starting pitching that is led by their ace, Clayton Kershaw. Matching up with the Dodgers’ pitching staff is a tough task, especially when you don’t have an ace.

I think we are going to need every Braves pitcher pitch above themselves in order to win these games.  Here is the easiest way I know to break it down; there aren’t many, if any, people in baseball, who would take any of the Braves top three starters over the Dodgers top three starters.  No matter how banged up the Dodgers have been, or how many star players are out, their starting pitching has been fantastic.

The one thing pitching-wise that I do think favors the Braves, is the bullpen.  Atlanta’s bullpen has been tested all year long and they have come up big.  The Braves can have success against the Dodgers bullpen, if they can just force the Dodgers to use it, but that is certainly easier said than done.

Let’s talk lineups for just a minute.  I think the Braves have a much better lineup top to bottom than the Dodgers do.  But this Braves lineup, as we all know, can be inconsistent. Plate discipline and working good hitter’s counts, will be imperative for the Braves to have success.  If the Dodgers’ starters get ahead in the count, it will be a lot of long nights for Braves hitters.

At the beginning of the year, I thought the Dodgers would play the Braves for the NLCS. Obviously, they are playing for the NLDS instead.  But my thoughts really haven’t changed. Both of these teams are pretty much what I thought they would be at the beginning of the year.

With that being said, my thoughts on who would win this series, haven’t changed either.  I think it will be the Dodgers.  I believe in their pitching and I believe they can manufacture runs better than the Braves.  If the Braves do win this series, they will have gone around the biggest pothole I see standing in their way. on the road to the World Series.

There is one thing that is for sure, and that is that anything can happen in October.  Here is to hoping I’m wrong and that the Braves can get the job done.

About James Thurn

James is the host of The James Thurn Show weekdays from 9am to noon. He has been in sports media for 5 years and has followed the Braves that entire time. James was born and raised in "Braves Country" and is excited to now be writing for AtlantaBullpen.com

Comments

  1. Strategically, does it make any sense to put the Braves best pitcher Medlen against Kershaw, the probable Cy Young winner? Why not waste a lesser pitcher on a game most likely lost before it begins. Medlen should have been saved for Greinke or Ryu, and possibly a win. I’m afraid tonight will be painful to watch.

    • rogerheld says:

      No. You have to try and win every game – especially at home. Did you see the Medlen/Lee Phillies game? That’s the way the Braves will win here and Medlen can do it. If the Braves can scratch out the first run – early – then they will win. No doubt. Further, if the Braves are behind by two runs or less in the eighth, they will win.

      • Game 1 ended as expected by most, and as I predicted, painful to watch. The Dodgers bats put Medlen away early. It was not close to Medlen’s performance against Lee in the Phillies game. It sure doesn’t help much when the offense contributes 15 strikeouts either. I suspect the remaining games will have similar outcomes. I doubt the Dodger’s bats will have little trouble with Minor tomorrow, so the offense will need to step up to have any chance at all. Roger, I still appreciate your optimism!

  2. The weakest link in the starting pitching for this series is Minor

What Do You Think?