3 reasons the Braves aren’t destined to repeat NLCS collapse against Dodgers in 2021
This feels eerily familiar, doesnt it?
In both the 2020 NLCS and the 2021 NLCS, the Braves grabbed a surprising 2-0 series lead against the favored Dodgers, and then Los Angeles responded with an emphatic momentum-shifting Game 3 victory.
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Its not that the Dodgers lineup lacks power or has glaring weak spots. Far from it, in fact. Its just not as good this year as it was last year, because last years Dodgers lineup was pretty incredible. This years group offers at least a sliver of hope for pitchers. Part of that, of course, has to do with Max Muncys absence. The Dodgers first baseman had a .452 on-base percentage in the 2020 NLCS, with two homers and six RBIs. Hes out with an injury. Joc Pederson hit .389 in that NLCS for the Dodgers, and hes playing for the Braves now. Corey Seager hit five home runs and had 11 RBIs in that NLCS, and its doubtful he repeats that total and I say that even with two homers already through three games.
And heres the truth: In the wild-card game, the Dodgers were held to a single run heading into the ninth inning. In the NLDS against the Giants, they were shut out twice and scored as many runs in Game 2 (nine) as they did in the other four games combined. The Dodgers scored two runs in Game 1 of the NLCS and had just four hits in Game 2. Even in Game 3, when the Dodgers scored six runs on 10 hits, four of those runs and six of those hits were in the eighth inning, and the first two hits were not exactly line drives off the bat (Bellingers certainly was, though).
Again, its not to say the Los Angeles offense is weak or vulnerable, just that its not the dominating force it was last October. The Dodgers have walked a tightrope in both the wild-card game and the NLDS, and they came out on top in tense, down-to-the-wire competitions both times. But thats a tough way to survive the month of October.
So, yes, Atlanta can still win this series, and its more than one-in-a-million talk.