Thu, 22 Oct 2020

Braves ask Fried to knock out Dodgers in Game 6

Field Level Media
17 Oct 2020, 16:40 GMT+10

The Atlanta Braves will regroup for another attempt to advance to their first World Series since 1999.

With a chance to move on Friday, the Braves were upended 7-3 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who cut their deficit in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series to 3-2.

Atlanta will hope a repeat of the series opener during Game 6 on Saturday at Arlington, Texas.

The Braves can find some comfort in the fact that left-hander Max Fried will get the start on Saturday. Fried gave up one run and struck out nine in six innings during Game 1 as Atlanta earned a 5-1 victory. He allowed four hits and two walks.

"Anytime you get the opportunity to get out there with the chance to go to the World Series, you want to take it," Fried said after the Braves' defeat Friday. "Would we have wanted to get the win (Friday)? Yeah, but it didn't happen. I'm excited to get out there (Saturday)."

The Dodgers will counter with their Game 1 starter, Walker Buehler. The right-hander was solid in his lone NLCS appearance, going five-plus innings while allowing one run. He fanned seven and walked five.

As good as Buehler was in Game 1, the Dodgers actually are looking for more of a repeat of Game 5. Sure, their massive first-inning avalanche of offense in Game 3 was nice, but certainly unexpected. In Game 5, the Dodgers resembled the team that had the best regular-season record in baseball.

Los Angeles hit three home runs against the Braves on Friday, two of them from Corey Seager. Will Smith hit one, too, a three-run shot in the sixth inning that gave Los Angeles its first lead of the game.

While all the home runs were familiar, so was the stingy bullpen, as six relievers handled seven innings behind starter Dustin May. Blake Treinen dominated over two innings to earn the victory, Brusdar Graterol rebounded after a rough outing in Game 4 to retire all three batters he faced, and Kenley Jansen appeared to exorcise his demons in the ninth.

Jansen, the Dodgers' longtime closer, had struggled of late, but he struck out the side to end the game on 12 pitches in a non-save situation. Suddenly the Dodgers look to have late-inning options again, where a day earlier it seemed as if they had none.

"We've talked about it all year, the strength of the bullpen, and to a man, those guys stepped up," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Dustin stepped up many times over, so it was good to see everyone hold their own tonight. ... They'll all be ready to go (Saturday)."

The Braves' bullpen has delivered all series, but after six relievers covered all of Game 5, starting with an impressive outing from left-hander A.J. Minter, Atlanta will have to regroup before Game 6 to see which arms it has left.

"The bullpen is going to have to be good enough now; we have two games left," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Guys have to play, they have to pitch. We have to win one of two."

Somebody will have to step up against Seager, who has four home runs and 10 RBIs in the series.

"I didn't know much before I came over, I just knew he was a good shortstop who could swing it a little bit," Dodgers leadoff hitter Mookie Betts said of Seager. "Getting to see him day in and day out is definitely a blessing. I have really one job that is to really get on base and stay there until he hits me in, which doesn't take too long."

--Field Level Media

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