Brian Snitker’s Atlanta Braves dropped four of six games against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the regular season, and now the NL East champs (in each of the last four seasons) and Dave Roberts’ Dodgers meet up in the NLCS, so there is some familiarity going into the matchup, which starts this afternoon at 8:08 PM ET in Atlanta, Georgia’s Truist Park.
“I think we’re very familiar with this team and understand how deep they are,” Snitker said in his pre-NLCS press conference with reporters yesterday. “How strong they are. They’re relentless. They’re just so — I know offensively these guys just, the at-bats they put up are something else. They just keep coming after you. Their pitching is so deep and it’s a really good club, obviously. So are we.
“But like I say, when we’re doing advancing and all, I think there’s probably things that our people will dig up, but I think the guys, they know pretty much going in what they’re in for and have faced all these guys numerous times, and so it should be good.”
In 2020’s NLCS, the Braves jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but ended up losing the matchup to the eventual World Series champions, so does Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts think they’ll have some motivation to redeem themselves against his club this time around?
“I don’t think that — I mean, they might not say it,” Roberts said, “... but truth of the matter is that they get another opportunity to get to the World Series and they got to go through us.
“So I think that it is another, whether you want to call it opportunity, redemption, certainly it’s on their minds. A lot of the same guys that we saw last year on the same club, but certainly when you don’t have [Ronald] Acuña, [Jr.], [Marcell] Ozuna, it’s a different — big pieces that they don’t have this year, but they have — [Austin] Riley’s had a huge year and obviously Joc [Pederson is] in the mix and they potentially could get [Jorge] Soler back later in the series. So it’s a different club but it’s still a lot of the same pieces.”
Who will represent the National League in the World Series this season? And what about the American League? Houston’s Astros took the first game of the ALCS matchup with Boston’s Red Sox last night, by a final score of 5-4.
José Altuve and Carlos Correa both homered in the win, with Altuve’s sixth inning shot tying things up at 3-3 before Correa’s solo homer in the seventh put them up for good, 4-3, with Altuve adding a sac fly in the eighth that ended up being a big run when the Red Sox got a home run from Kiké Hernández in the ninth inning, 5-4.
Astros’ skipper Dusty Baker was not surprised to see Altuve and Correa come up big again.
“Well, I was hoping it would be them,” he said. “You know, when you have a good lineup, you don’t know which guy it’s going to be, but those two guys have been — I’ve been watching them for years, and it’s a pleasure to be watching them up close and personal, and, boy, they are some clutch guys. That was a great game. That was a great game to manage, great game to watch, and I’m just glad that we came out on top.”
“Good baseball game,” Red Sox’ manager Alex Cora said in his own post game presser with reporters.
“Two swings changed the course of the game. First, slider to Altuve, and then the two-strike changeup to Correa. But I think overall we put good at-bats from the beginning to the end.
“I think we didn’t cash in early on, but I think, yeah, they beat us, and we need to execute better, but overall a good baseball game.”
They’ll do it all again at 4:20 PM ET in Minute Maid Park. Enjoy your Championship Series Saturday...