The Braves somehow found a way to win last night’s thriller of a Game 1 against the Dodgers, thanks to Austin Riley’s two key hits. It’s crazy: the Atlanta offense was out-hit by LA 10-6 and the Braves managed just two runners in scoring position the entire game (compared to eight from the Dodgers), but somehow the good guys came away with a win. This morning I did the Game 1 recap over at SportsTalkATL, and I’m still feeling pumped about that huge hit by Riley… but I’m can’t help but feel concerned about tonight’s matchup with Max Scherzer.
The 37-year-old Scherzer appears to be revived from his down 2020 campaign, and judging by his gem last week versus the Giants, there aren’t any signs of him slowing down yet. In that third game of LA’s DS matchup with the Giants, Scherzer struck out 10 in a start in which he allowed just three hits over seven innings. His only real mistake was a solo-homer by Evan Longoria in the fifth, though Buster Posey did also crush a harmless 101.8-MPH single in the first. But other than that… nothing. Given how punchless the Braves offense was last night against LA’s revolving door of relievers (save for Riley, of course), I’ll admit I’m a bit worried when it comes to facing Scherzer.
And I’m tellin’ ya… last Monday was peak Scherzer. The man was generating whiffs like he was still in his early-30s… with four different pitches. Seriously, his four-seam, slider, changeup AND cutter each finished with a swing-and-miss rate of at least 30% in that game (well, his fastball was actually at 29%… but you get the point). Somehow, though, the Giants still managed to win 1-0, even though LA outhit them 5-3, and, just like versus the Braves last night, put more runners in scoring position. Baseball can be a crazy game sometimes.
But to prevent this post from looking like a recent LA Times column, I must give some credit to Scherzer’s opposing starter tonight – Braves righty Ian Anderson. At just 23, this will already be Ian’s sixth career postseason start, and boy has he grown up before our eyes. And I know he hasn’t been as dominant as he was last year, when he posted a sub-2.00 ERA with Atlanta, but I actually like this version of him. It seems more sustainable, and believe it or not, even in his first full campaign this season, the kid has been just as durable as in 2020 in terms of innings per start, averaging 5.3 frames. Of course, we’ll probably need more than five innings from Anderson tonight… or at least it would be much more ideal. Although I’d be crazy to complain about another three-hitter (like he did vs. MIL). Regardless, Anderson will need to be a bit more efficient in tonight’s outing.
Anyways… it looks like Eddie Rosario is back at the lead-off spot tonight for Game 2…
Given the minor league season is over, these new daily columns will mostly cover the big league team and its current playoff run, but the other day I posted an update regarding the Arizona Fall League (which kicked off last Wednesday). I recommend checking out Ryan Cothran’s write-up from earlier this month for more info regarding the players participating from the Braves organization, but going forward I plan to share some notes from each game. The Peoria Javelinas, which features seven Braves participates, have had a rough go to start the AFL season, beginning the fall campaign 0-4. The team is off today but will start back on Monday, so I’ll post some notes from the game in tomorrow’s daily write-up. Spoiler: Shea Langeliers has not played in a game yet.
Let’s go get another win tonight and make it FIVE in a row this postseason! Go Braves!