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Dodgers offense in the spotlight: ‘We know who we are’

Game 4 of the NLCS: Dodgers vs. Braves, 5:08 p.m. PT

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MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The big story of Game 4 of the NLCS will be Clayton Kershaw starting, two days after he was scratched from his start with back spams. But how the game goes might depend on the Dodgers offense.

The Dodgers are the road team on both Thursday and Friday, so they get to bat first in Game 4 and Game 5. That proved to be a great advantage in Game 3, when they set an MLB postseason record for most runs in an inning, before the Braves even got to bat.

That provided this amazing, and unprecedented scoreboard moment:

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

“We kind of lost our footing with the first two games,” said first baseman Max Muncy, whose grand slam on Wednesday gave the Dodgers an 11-0 lead. “We know who we are. We weren’t worried about anything. It’s how we went out and showed what we can do.”

The Dodgers have only played two games as the road team this postseason, which hasn’t been any different than their home games at Globe Life Field, with the same dugout and clubhouse as when they bat in the bottom of the inning instead of the top.

But those two road games produced the Dodgers’ best and fourth-best scoring games in postseason history, providing a fun fact about the Dodgers offense heading into Game 4 of the NLCS:

  • 6 “home” games: 26 runs scored
  • 2 “road” games: 27 runs scored

In Game 4 and Game 5 the Dodgers will be the road team again, at a critical point in the series. The Braves are starting a rookie, Bryse Wilson, in Game 4, and will either have to scramble to fill innings in Game 5, or could be relying on starter Max Fried on short rest for the first real time in his career.*

*Fried made a two-inning start on two days rest after a one-inning relief appearance in 2018, and made a six-inning start on three days rest after recording two outs in relief in 2019. Technically both starts were on short rest, but not in the spirit of the term.

When the Dodgers have had success this year and this postseason, they have made the other pitchers work, and not just by running up the pitch count but also punishing mistakes.

“It’s winning the pitches you should win,” said Corey Seager, who also homered on Wednesday, “not trying to swing at the borderline pitches, trying to win early in the count to set up later in the count to get it back in your favor.”

NLCS Game 4 info

  • Time: 5:08 p.m. PT
  • Location: Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas
  • TV: Fox and FS1 (Joe Buck, John Smoltz, Ken Rosenthal)
  • Streaming: Fox Sports, fuboTV