The Dodgers and Braves were first and second in MLB in runs scored during the season, so it’s no surprise they also finished atop baseball in crooked-number innings — innings with more than one run — as well. Atlanta got theirs on Monday night and the Dodgers didn’t, which was the difference in Game 1 of the NLCS.
Both the Braves and Dodgers had 90 innings in which they scored more than one run during the regular season, tied for first in the majors. That’s a little over 17 percent of innings. Atlanta led baseball with 25 innings of four or more runs, while the Dodgers were sixth with 18 such frames.
A four-run inning was the difference on Monday, though even a single run might have been enough.
The Dodgers got crooked numbers in each of their five postseason wins, one in each of the first three games, and two each in the final two games against San Diego. The Braves have six crooked innings this postseason, though they’ve also gone two games without. It just didn’t matter much because their pitching has been so great this postseason.
Atlanta pitchers have a minuscule 0.93 ERA through six games, having allowed six runs in 58 innings, with 70 strikeouts and 11 walks. The Dodgers already faced Max Fried, who shut them down through six innings in Game 1, but he’s allowed five of the Braves’ six runs this postseason.
Ian Anderson, who starts Game 2 for Atlanta, has 17 strikeouts and three walks in 11⅔ innings in his first two postseason starts, with no runs allowed. The 22-year-old right-hander was called up at the end of August, and Tuesday will be making just his ninth major league start.
The first eight starts have been pretty great, with Anderson allowing 11 total runs (seven earned) with 58 strikeouts and 17 walks in 44 innings to go with a stellar 1.43 ERA.
So the Dodgers will have their work cut out for them in Game 2, needing a crooked number or two to even up the series.
“We came up short because we didn’t put at-bats together and pass the baton like we did in the last series,” said Kiké Hernández, who homered for the Dodgers’ only run in Game 1.
It wasn’t for lack of trying. The Dodgers made Fried throw 45 pitches in the first two innings, drawing their only two walks against him. That helped get Fried out of the game after six innings, though they managed just the one run.
Fried got 24 called strikes on Monday, which is a huge number. Dodgers hitters averaged 25 called strikes per game during the regular season, and Fried nearly matched that in two-thirds of a game. Only two pitchers had as many called strikes against the Dodgers during the season, both during a Mariners series in August. Marco Gonzales got 26 called strikes and Taijuan Walker got 24 on consecutive days, both pitchers lasting seven innings.
After the fifth-inning home run by Hernández on Monday, the Dodgers were 1-for-16, and Braves hitters retired the final 13 batters of the game. Not only were multiple runs in an inning hard to come by in Game 1, but multiple hits as well. The Dodgers have their work cut out for them, beginning in Game 2.
“Whoever wins four first is the one that wins the series, so we’ll throw this one away and come back tomorrow with a fresh mind, and do what we do,” Hernández said.
While Anderson is making only his ninth major league start, Tony Gonsolin is making his 15th start, and first in the postseason.
That difference was going to be much more dramatic, but Clayton Kershaw won’t yet make his 382nd start, including his 28th start in the postseason, because he was scratched with back spasms.
Gonsolin was excellent this season, posting a 2.31 ERA with 46 strikeouts and seven walks in 46⅔ innings.
This season, Gonsolin started 47 different innings in nine games, including eight starts. He allowed a crooked number in three of them.
Game 2 info
Time: 3:05 p.m. PT
Streaming: Fox Sports, fuboTV