The Los Angeles Dodgers have won eight division titles in a row, surfacing the ire of every other of every other NL West fan. But it's the Dodgers NLCS opponent, the Atlanta Braves, who hold the record for most division titles in a row. The Braves won the NL East for 14 years from 1991-2005. To put that in perspective, the New England Patriots have won the AFC East 11 times in a row dating back to 2009. That record is on the line this year with the exit of Tom Brady and the emergence of the Buffalo Bills.
Back to baseball. The Dodgers with all of that divisional success have little to show for that dominance. The playoffs have been unkind to them, to say the least. They've exited the playoffs three times in the NLDS, including last year against the eventual champion Washington Nationals. They've won the NLCS twice in that time but have never translated that into a World Series ring losing to the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox in back-to-back years. Cheating scandals be damned.
The Dodgers pursuit of another NLCS title didn't start off as anticipated. While Walker Buhler only gave up one run off a homer in the first, he only lasted five innings, much shorter than was ever anticipated. This forced the Dodgers into their bullpen early and it proved detrimental in the final inning. It doesn't help that closer Kenley Jansen doesn't feel like Kenley Jansen this season.
His fastball velocity is considerably down. Even in a sweep against the Padres in the NLDS, he struggled and manager Dave Roberts declined to define his role moving forward. It showed in Game 1 of this series. Instead of Jansen coming into a tied 1-1 game in the 9th, Blake Treinen came in and immediately gave up three runs putting the game out of reach for the Dodgers in the bottom of the frame. Jansen never made an apperance. The Dodgers need to figure out their bullpen quickly if they are going to finally figure out their playoff futility.
What TV Channel is Braves-Dodgers on?
Braves-Dodgers will be shown on FS1 at 6:05 p.m. ET. You can live stream MLB Playoff Games on fuboTV.
How to Watch Braves-Dodgers
When: Tuesday, October 13
Where: Globe Life Field - Arlington, TX
Time: 6:05 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch MLB Playoffs free with fuboTV)
The news didn't get any better before Game 2 for the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw, who was scheduled to start tonight, was scratched due to back spasms. This happened to start the season when Kershaw was scheduled to pitch Opening Day. Rookie Tony Gosolin will take Kershaw's place. He has been impressive since his debut last year with a cumulative 2.60 ERA. But he wasn't even listed as a starter for these playoffs. That has changed literally overnight and he has the monumental task of helping out this Dodgers bullpen by going deep into the game and avoid this club going down 0-2.
The Braves are sitting pretty as their bats are coming alive against the best pitching staff in baseball. Max Fried outlasted Buhler and the Braves bullpen didn't give up a hit afterward. They will put up righty Ian Anderson in Game 2 so the Braves will have a distinct matchup advantage in this one. Anderson has not given up a single run in either of his two playoff starts against the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins. He's only given up five hits in the playoffs. In that game against the Reds, he became the youngest pitcher in MLB Postseason history to allow fewer than three hits, strikeout nine and go for six innings.
The Dodgers will present an infinitely better lineup than those two squads, but Anderson's mid 90s fastball combined with a great changeup will miss a lot of bats. It doesn't hurt that his family will be in the stands for the first time to see him pitch in the majors. Anderson was the first pitcher taken above many other higher-ranked high school pitchers in 2016 when the Braves drafted him third. That decision is looking like a no brainer now. The Dodgers were the clear favorites heading into this series. The outlook is starting to become a little foggier.
Braves-Dodgers Betting Odds
Braves Odds: +1.5
Dodgers Odds: -1.5
Money Line: Braves +155 - Dodgers -170