As the baseball gods feel generous in the MLB 2020 playoffs, this weekend we get a second game 7 as the Dodgers and Braves play a game to win or host a National League flag and travel to the World Series against AL Tampa Bay Reyes champion.
With so many bets, we asked MLB senior writers Alden Gonzalez, David Schoenfield and Jeff Passan about key questions about the Dodgers, Braves and the game that comes into play 7 on Sunday.
The main issues of LA
Who started for the Dodgers?
This has not been announced, but it boils down to three choices: Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urias and Brusdar Graterol. The latter, of course, will be used as an opener and makes sense for several reasons. The Dodgers deployed Graterol as a opener during training at the end of the regular season. In addition, it would be helpful to ensure that their best relieving agent ̵
Does Clayton Kershaw show up?
That is the fascinating question. Kershaw hung in the bull for Game 6, only in case of an emergency. In all likelihood, he will also be in Game Arena 7, awaiting a potential conversation. The Dodgers would like to avoid using it for three reasons: First, they can save it to start Game 1 of the World Series; second, he was scratched from his planned start earlier this week due to back cramps; and finally, it wasn’t great when used outside the front room for a short break, the latest example coming in Game 5 of last year’s NL Division Series. But if the game is near and Dave Roberts needs an inning or two before reaching his high-leverage relievers, the thought of Kershaw standing in that bull can be tempting. Again. – Gonzalez
Can Cody Bellinger find it on the plate?
Bellinger struggles to find consistency with his mechanics in the regular season, has four hits and nine shots in 23 bats in this series and beats .238 / .333 / .476 during the season. He hit a lot of balls hard, but he didn’t have much to show for it. The Dodgers had several major initial passes in this series, most notably their 11 Game 3 results, but failed to carry it. In their victory in Game 5, they scored three first innings against Max Fried, but did nothing else after that, putting strong pressure on their battle and defense. Both areas have passed, but the Dodgers can’t count on it again. They need more consistent production than their crime. They need Bellinger to be a catalyst again. – Gonzalez
Key Atlanta Issues
How long have the Braves clung to Ian Anderson?
The 22-year-old has only nine career starts – including three out-of-season appearances – but is clearly impressive, with a 1.31 ERA, a home run of 48 assists and a permitted average of .154. His replacement is his big weapon, as the tests only hit 0.76 against him and he is not afraid to throw it at the right-wingers.
Still, this is a great time for a rookie. This is the 19th game 7 in the LCS or World Series since 2000, and the rookies have only started three times: Walker Buhler in Game 7 of the 2018 NLCS, Daisuke Matsuzaka for the Red Sox in the 2007 ALCS (and he had a lot of gaming experience in Japan) and John Lakey for the Angels in the 2002 World Series. (And if Tony Gonsolin starts for the Dodgers, he’ll win number 4!)
The Dodgers are known for their very patient approach, and they worked with Anderson for five walks in four assists at the start of Game 2. However, he escaped without any damage, as he allowed only one hit and got out of a busy base. a traffic jam in the third inning when Will Smith came to the ground. Still, even if he floats together, don’t look for him to go deep into the game. Braves manager Brian Snitker still has a strong bull, and the way the game is run these days is likely to be a quick hook, no matter who starts.
Of Saturday’s six games 7, including Astros-Rays on Saturday, the longest starter was Zack Greinke’s 6⅓ inning in Game 7 of last year’s World Series. Only three times the starter even managed to go through five innings – Max Scherzer faced Greinke and Charlie Morton twice, in 2017 ALCS for Astros and then on Saturday against Astros. So, even if Anderson throws more zeros – 15⅔ innings so far in the post-season – don’t be surprised if he comes out after four or five innings.
Snicker said there was no special message for Anderson or his team. “They know what we’re doing. They’re very aware that this is Game 7 and we’re shooting, we’re going to go out there and let it fly. Game 7 is another baseball game. It’s not fourth and 1 and let me take down the first one. This is a baseball game and you have to treat it like that. It’s game 7, it’s going to be fun, we like how we’re arranged, we like who’s up. “- Schoenfield
How did the Braves navigate through Corey Sieger and the heart of the Dodgers lineup?
Sieger was the big bat for the Dodgers, hitting 0.375 with five households and 11 RBIs in the series. Once Anderson gets out of there, you might think the solution would be to make sure the left will face Seeger … except for four of the five households that came out of the left, including one from AJ Minter in Game 2 and one against Tyler Matzek in Game 5. So maybe it’s not the leftists who face Sieger – remember, the facilitator has to face three beatings unless it’s the end of the inning – and worry more about Mookie Betts in the lead spot and Justin Turner hits third, so the right ones are the ones facing the top of the lineup.
One thing is for sure: Everyone is available. Without relieving the Braves in both games 5 and 6. Chris Martin threw 30 pitches in game 6, so he is the only one who can be slightly compromised. Minter threw 42 pitches in Game 5 as a starter, but was so dominant with seven shots in three innings that he is certainly in the selection. The only person who exposes situations with high leverage, who could no see Will Smith. He gave up seven home runs in 16 assists in the regular season, then the Dodgers’ big one for Will Smith in Game 5, and also passed two tests in Game 4. So it’s probably some combination of Matzek, Minter , Shane Greene, Martin, maybe a side military Darren O’Day, if that’s a double situation, then closer to Mark Melancon. That’s enough depth to go through nine innings. – Schoenfield
Will Ronald Acuna Jr. do anything?
The Braves hit .263 / .333 / .450 in the series, but Acuna did not do much damage, hitting .190 without households and two pairs. He hit 34% of the time in the post-season period, so swinging and skipping was a problem throughout the season. Needless to say, being a base ahead of Freddie Freeman and Marcel Ozuna is a big factor. These two have grabbed. The Braves were the best team for quick shots in major – in fact, they were the best team for fast balls in major for 13 years – but the Dodgers beat Akuna with very fast balls in the area and then punched balls away. – Schoenfield
Wild card match
What match is it worth setting up to see?
Freddie Freeman vs. Brusdard Graterol. There are only two regular players that Graterol has not encountered in NLCS: Acuña and Freeman. This can happen in the first inning. This can happen on the seventh or eighth or ninth. Freeman has seen 28 fast balls this season at over 98 miles per hour. He took 16 for balls, fouled four, flew three times, swung and missed twice, separated, doubled and grounded
In other words, if Graterol puts a heater in the area, Freeman probably won’t look at it. And given his propensity to do harm, this is the kind of person who can shake up an entire series. – Pasan
Who is the meanest, unlikely hero?
No one in the NLCS hits the ball as hard as the Dodgers’ Jock Pederson – and the longer Anderson goes, the more likely he is to stay in the game. Pederson has played the ball 14 times in the NLCS. Ten of them were at speeds above 100 mph – and the other four were at speeds of 99 mph, 89.7 mph, 88.3 mph and 83.5 mph. Pederson was so pedestrian during the regular season, keeping him on the bench, as a pinch seemed like an option. Roberts clings to him against right-handers and he pays off not only by breaking the ball, but making contact. Pederson, who has been something of a striking artist throughout his career, has only hit NLCS twice. – Pasan
What is a strategic element that can come into play?
Work around the rule of a minimum of three pitcher tests, aiming for tough platoon matches, which can be the third inning. Remember: The minimum does not apply when the inning is over, but for a Braves team that has worn 15 pitchers (!) On its list of 28 people after the season, it can use this to its advantage.
The Dodgers will almost certainly not want to play games in the early innings – not if he has to leave them inclined in later, potentially more important situations – so what if AJ Pollock ever has two outs? Burned Darren O’Day. If Cody Bellinger is in the same situation? Burn Grant Dayton or, if important enough, Will Smith. Managers must treat every outcome in Game 7 as if the season depends on it, and with as many pitfalls as Braves, every inning gives them the opportunity to use the final outcome to gain an advantage. – Pasan