Smith and Seager’s Home Runs Gave the Dodgers a Victory

Friday, October 16, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

With their backs against the wall, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-to-3 to survive in the NLCS.

Although Dustin May did not perform well in his two innings where he allowed two runs, he kept the Dodgers in the game. May worked both sides of the strike zone. He used too many curveballs instead of his sinking 98+-miles-per-hour fastball, his strength. Although the Braves are a great fastball-hitting team, May must rely on his strength. For the entire 2020 season, May has had trouble throwing his breaking balls for strikes. His fastballs have so much movement, making most Major Leaguers look silly. May needed to look at scouting reports but ignore them. During the 2020 season, he has been successful with his 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs and showing his breaking balls occasionally. In the NLCS, why does he change what makes him successful during the regular season?

A spectacular catch by Mookie Betts turned the momentum to the Dodgers’ way. Marcell Ozuna of the Braves did not tag to score so that Ozuna ran his team into a double play to end the third inning. Immediately, Corey Seager hit a monstrous home run to lead off the fourth inning.

This game turned out to be a bullpen game for both sides. Whereas the Braves’ starter AJ Minter, starting the first game since 2015 when he started for Texas A&M, exceeded expectations, the rest of the Braves’ relievers finally showed they were weary. The Dodgers’ patient approach at the plate ultimately began to pay off. In the sixth, after the Braves’ left-hander Will Smith walked Max Muncy, the Dodger right-handed-hitting catcher Will Dills Smith had an 11-pitch at-bat that ended with a 3-run homer. Seager added another 2-run homer.

For the first time during the NLCS, the Dodger bullpen performed the way as the team and their fans are accustomed to in 2020. Blake Treinen, who struggled in Game 1, was magnificent retired all 6 batters that he faced. Pedro Báez, Victor Gonzalez, and Brusdar Graterol performed as they have for all year. For the first time in 2020, Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth.

To win tomorrow, the Dodgers need their starter Walker Buehler to perform the way he did in the 2018 postseason. The Dodgers must make Max Fried work and feel the pressure of the NLCS and get into the Braves’ tired bullpen.

Leave a Reply