How to Watch Dodgers vs. Braves: NLDS Preview

October 5, 2018

Not too many experts picked the Braves to win the NL East this season. They are young and have a ton of talent, but most thought they were another year away. They ended up winning the division by eight games over the Nationals. They finished 90-72 and enter this series as the only NL team not to play since the regular season ended.

It wasn’t as easy of a road for the Dodgers to get here. The Dodgers are the NL West winners after taking down the Colorado Rockies in Monday’s tiebreaker game. They finished the season 92-71 as a result and will have home field in the NLDS. If the Rockies get by the Brewers in the other series, the Dodgers would have home field in the NLCS as well.

How to Watch NLDS
Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Watch the series here on fuboTV

Game 1 @ LAD: Thursday 10/4 - 8:37 p.m. ET  
Game 2 @ LAD: Friday 10/5 - 9:37 p.m. ET
Game 3 @ ATL: Sunday 10/7 - 8:07 p.m. ET
Game 4 @ ATL: Monday 10/8 - TBD (if necessary)
Game 5 @ LAD: Wednesday 10/10 - TBD (if necessary)

The Braves coasted their way to this point, but will now have to go up against a veteran team that knows the playoffs well. They will also have to do it without Dansby Swanson, who is out for at least this series with a torn ligament in his hand. The big question for this Braves team is going to be the rotation and how they will match up with a strong Dodgers lineup. Mike Foltynewicz is locked in for Game 1, but after that, it’s a mystery what Braves manager Brian Snitker is going to do. He likely will follow with some order of Anibal Sanchez, Julio Teheran, and maybe Sean Newcomb.

This team is going to rely heavily on its offense in the likes of Freddie Freeman, the likely Rookie of the Year winner, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Nick Markakis, who along with Freeman, played in all 162 games this season. That’s a very rare accomplishment in today’s game, where players are accustomed to at least getting a day off here and there. The Braves won’t hit a ton of home runs, so expect them to play some small ball and try and produce some runs against the Dodgers starters, who will likely be lefties in four of the potential five games. The Braves hit better against southpaws than righties this season, though.

Those lefties they will face are Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Rich Hill. Ryu will get the start in Game 1 and Kershaw will get Game 2 and likely Game 5, if it comes to it. The Dodgers owned the season series, winning five of the seven games. This team has the playoff experience, and at this point, knows what it takes to win in October, coming just one win from a World Series title last year. The addition of Manny Machado to the lineup could be the tipping point for them to get back to the Fall Classic. While the Braves don’t hit a ton of home runs, the Dodgers do. They had seven players finish with 20-plus homers, and Max Muncy shocked the world, finishing with 35 dingers. Their 235 homers were second in baseball, behind the Yankees.

The Braves were 19th in MLB with 175. The key for the Dodgers and what could end up being their demise is the bullpen. Outside of Kenley Jansen, they have had struggles getting to the 9th inning. Dave Roberts badly needs his starters to go deep into games and avoid the middle relief as much as possible. That might hurt them later on, but their experience and power should be enough to beat a young, unproven Braves team. But this is October...