The Braves need to beat the Dodgers in Game 3 to stay alive in the National League Division Series.
First inning — Dodgers 0, Braves 0: For the first time in this NLDS, the Dodgers failed to score in the first inning. Should this series advance to a Game 4 on Monday, Rich Hill will start for the Dodgers on seven days rest. He also said this before Game 3, and I’m still trying to fully grasp it.
Second inning — Dodgers 0, Braves 0: It was a bit of a surprise that the Braves turned to Sean Newcomb to start Game 3, since the left-hander pitched two innings in relief just three days ago in Game 1. So far, so good for Newcomb, who doubled his output with two more scoreless innings to open Game 3, thanks to a double play in each of the first two innings. Newcombe started 30 games for the Braves, but none since Sept. 26. He pitched just twice in relief in the 10 days since, before this Game 3 start.
Second inning — Braves 1, Dodgers 0: Not many people know this, but Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr predicted the Wild Card and baseball’s current playoff format more than a decade before it was first implemented. One day they were sitting around debating the game-winning RBI when Ocasek turned to his bandmate and said, “You might think I’m crazy, but baseball should add an extra round of the postseason, and also reward really good teams who might not win their division.”
Orr knew they had something right away, though they called the first round the “league quarterfinals,” which of course never went anywhere. Little did we know that one of The Cars’ biggest hits was about Game 3 of the NLDS, specifically regarding Nick Markakis, who wasn’t even born yet in 1984. Anyway, Orr finally has his answer to “Who’s gonna drive you home tonight?” Amazingly, it was pitcher Sean Newcomb, with a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded.
Second inning — Braves 5, Dodgers 0: All of a sudden Walker Buehler couldn’t find the strike zone. When he finally did, Ronald Acuña Jr. made him pay.
The Braves had zero walks in the first two games at Dodger Stadium, taking Missing Persons’ advice far too literally. But they got one to start the inning, from Nick Markakis. Then with two outs and runners on the corners, Charlie Culberson was intentionally walked. Then Buehler threw seven straight balls, four to Newcomb and three to Acuña. Buehler nearly made it eight, but this 3-0 pitch was called a strike, prolonging the at-bat.
It did not end well for Buehler.
Buehler finally got a pitch near (the strike zone), (Acuña hit it) far, where ever you are.
Ronald Acuña was born one day before the movie “Titanic” came out
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) October 8, 2018
Since Acuña did tattoo that ball for the grand slam — making him the youngest player in postseason history to hit a grand slam, at 20; take that, Mickey Mantle! — this seems appropriate:
Third inning — Braves 5, Dodgers 2: Two can play this walks gambit, it seems. Newcomb got two outs in his third frame but two walks ended his night. Justin Turner followed with an RBI single that Acuña overran in left field, allowing a second run to score. The right-handed Kevin Gausman, the presumptive starter before the Braves went to Newcomb, walked a batter of his own but got out of the soup by striking out his former Orioles teammate Manny Machado.
Fourth inning — Braves 5, Dodgers 2: The MLB postseason commercial — “Let the kids play” — is fun and celebrates its players, but an underrated aspect of the ad is how Ken Griffey Jr. could easily star in Over the Top II:
Fifth inning — Dodgers 5, Braves 5: The Dodgers led the National League in home runs in the regular season, and hit five in the first two games in Los Angeles. So it is only natural that they used the long ball to get back in this game. Chris Taylor, last year’s out-of-nowhere star for the Dodgers, hit a two-run shot, then Max Muncy, this year’s big surprise, hit the equalizer.
Muncy had 35 home runs during season to lead the team, and has added two more in the NLDS.
Hall of Famer Chipper Jones got things started on Monday, tossing out the first pitch before Game 3, the first at SunTrust Park in Atlanta this year.
Jones isn’t the only Hall of Famer at the game. Baseball royalty, Hank Aaron, is taking in Game 3 as well.
The Braves have opened two new stadiums since Aaron retired and have failed to name either one after him. For shame, Atlanta.
The Atlanta Braves need a win on Sunday to stay alive in their National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But first they need to score at least a run, something they failed to do in the first two games of the series in Los Angeles.
First it was Hyun-jin Ryu and his seven scoreless innings for the Dodgers in Game 1. Then it was the efficient Clayton Kershaw, who only needed 85 pitches for his eight scoreless innings in Game 2. Now in Game 3 the Braves have to face Walker Buehler, who posted a 1.55 ERA in his last 12 starts.
Braves vs. Dodgers TV & streaming info
- Teams: Dodgers (92-71) vs. Braves (90-72)
- Series: Los Angeles leads, 2-0
- Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta
- Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
- TV: FS1
- Online: Fox Sports Go
Only three teams in postseason history have pitched three straight shutouts — the 1905 New York Giants and the 1966 Baltimore Orioles, both in the World Series. The Braves will try to stop that Dodgers streak in Atlanta, where the Braves averaged 4.82 runs per game in 2018.
“We just want to score,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said on Saturday. “I mean, I think if we could come out early and put something on the board, it would be a big lift for all of us.”
On the mound the Braves switched things up, turning to left-hander Sean Newcomb to start Game 3, breaking up a string of right-handed pitchers. The Dodgers scored nine runs in the first two games at Dodger Stadium, including five home runs off right-handed pitching.
Newcomb on the mound likely means playing time for David Freese, Matt Kemp, Chris Taylor and Brian Dozier, the Dodgers’ usual starters against southpaws. Newcomb came within one out of a no-hitter against the Dodgers in Atlanta on July 29, but since then has struggled with a 5.68 ERA in his last 44⅓ innings.
Newcomb pitched a pair of scoreless innings in relief in Game 1, throwing 25 pitches.
FS1 will televise Game 3 of the NLDS, with Joe Davis and John Smoltz on the call. Online streaming is available through Fox Sports Go.