The time has finally come, October baseball is here. The month started off with an exciting 13-inning wild card game between the Cubs and the Rockies, which lead to the shocking early elimination of the Chicago Cubs. October is known for bringing out the best of the best in baseball, where anything — and everything — is possible. The New York Yankees will face the Oakland A's in order to determine the last slot of the playoffs, while the rest of the bracket is set. Now, let's take a look at one of the most exciting first round series of this year's playoffs: the Braves and the Dodgers.
This series begins on Thursday, October 4, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. It has been a long few years since we have seen the Braves in a position to make a solid run towards a World Series bid, but there is no time like the present. However, in order to make a serious run towards the Series, there are three major components that the Braves must capitalize on this postseason.
1. Freeman, Acuna Jr., Markakis... oh, and the rest of the lineup producing solid offense at the plate.
In the past, the Atlanta Braves have often relied on star hitters to carry the weight, but if they really want to be successful this postseason the entire lineup must be consistent. Players such as Culberson (who will most likely be in for an injured Dansby Swanson), Camargo, and Inciarte must be able to produce base hits and RBIs.
2. Play for the win, not for the stats.
Something this Atlanta team has adjusted greatly this season is playing each game one play at a time, as a team. Base hits, solid outs and aggressive base running have to lead this team to where they are now and keeping this a consistent theme will open the door for great success.
3. Relief Pitching
Atlanta starting pitching has been relatively stable throughout the season, but relievers have been hit or miss. When starters such as Folty or Gausman lead the team into the fifth or sixth inning, it is imperative for the relievers to maintain the pace of the starters set. The defense behind these pitchers is more than solid, so relief pitchers need to trust their defense and pitch for outs.
This series against the Dodgers will be exciting to watch, but in order for the Braves to come out on top they must play one out as a time and as a team. The Braves have a new motto, #ForEachOther, which perfectly embodies all that the Braves need to do to win this first series: play as a team for each other.