If the Los Angeles Dodgers hope to continue their momentum in advance of a key series that could go a long way toward deciding the National League West, they have the right pitcher lined up for Wednesday night.
Los Angeles will send its shiny new toy in Max Scherzer to the mound in the series finale against the visiting Atlanta Braves. From there, the Dodgers will head north for a three-game series against the West-leading San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers’ 3-2 comeback victory over the Braves on Tuesday — combined with the Giants’ 6-2 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers — means Los Angeles is just a half-game behind San Francisco. The Dodgers have one month remaining to run down their ninth consecutive NL West title.
Corey Seager had the go-ahead, RBI double in the eighth inning, and Mookie Betts homered as Los Angeles finished August with a 21-6 record.
“I’m not surprised at how we’ve played, and it’s how we expect to play the same brand of baseball to finish out the season,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “There’s always ebbs and flows with a season. I’m proud of the way we continued to stay the course.”
Scherzer (12-4, 2.51 ERA) could have pitched Tuesday against the Braves on regular rest and then lined up to pitch in Sunday’s series finale at San Francisco, again on regular rest. The Dodgers, however, have been inclined to give their pitchers an extra day between starts.
It effectively puts a premium on Scherzer’s start Wednesday since he will see just one first-place team in the Braves during this short window.
Since being acquired from the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline, Scherzer is 4-0 with the Dodgers and has a 1.55 ERA. The club has won all five of his starts.
Despite his career success, Scherzer is merely 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 26 career outings (24 starts) against the Braves. It is tied for his most appearances against any one team (Miami Marlins, New York Mets).
The Braves will counter Wednesday with their own budding ace in left-hander Max Fried (11-7, 3.54), who followed a 2-3 record and a 4.66 ERA in five July starts with a 4-0 record and a 1.36 ERA in five August starts.
A Los Angeles-area native, Fried is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers. His lone start at Dodger Stadium was in 2019, and it did not go well — he gave up four runs on four hits and a walk in one-plus innings in a loss.
In two appearances against the Dodgers in last year’s National League Championship Series, Fried was 0-1 in two starts with a 2.84 ERA in 12 2/3 innings.
The Braves received a scare Tuesday when second baseman Ozzie Albies fouled a ball off his left knee and had to be carried off the field. But early indications are that the injury isn’t serious.
“X-rays were negative, and he will be day-to-day,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I’m sure he will be down a day or two, I would think — then we’ll see where he’s at. … It stung him really good, but they will treat him up and everything and he’ll just be day-to-day.
–Field Level Media