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Dodgers Down Braves, Advance To World Series

The great Vin Scully once said, “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.” 2020 has definitely been the most improbable year, and its peculiarity has continued deep into this postseason.

As the number one team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the greatest expectations of any team to win it all. However, the Atlanta Braves had other plans as they managed to go up 3-1 on the Dodgers, which really put the NL West division champs’ backs against the wall. The Dodgers responded with two consecutive wins, making the series even again, regaining confidence and momentum en rout to a 4-3 Game 7 victory. The Dodgers will appear in their third World Series in the past four years.

Game 7

(From left to right) Braves SS Dansby Swanson (#7) and Dodgers 3B Justin Turner (#10) — Eric Gay/AP Photo

Both Atlanta and LA demanded a lot out of their pitching staff and offensive stars to get to this win-or-go-home event. Speculation about who would start for the Dodgers was a significant factor going into Game 7 because they had a few available starters for the game.

To start game seven, rookie SP Dustin May got the nod for the Dodgers. The Braves got going early in the first inning after a walk and stolen base by their young star OF Ronald Acuña Jr. After 1B Freddie Freeman walked, OF Marcell Ozuna drove in Acuña Jr. with a single. May was pulled after the first inning, giving up two walks and one earned run in the process. However, he got out of the first inning with minimal damage.

In the second inning, SP Tony Gonsolin, the suspected starter for Game 7, came in and gave up a home run to Braves SS Dansby Swanson to put the Braves up 2-0.

Atlanta’s SP Ian Anderson looked comfortable and dependable early, as he went through the Dodger lineup once without giving up a run in the first two innings. He faced some trouble in the second inning but worked out of it by striking out 2B Chris Taylor to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third inning, the Dodgers had another signature two-out rally starting with a walk by 3B Justin Turner. The young C Will Smith, a great offensive contributor as of late, drove in Turner and 1B Max Muncy to tie the game at 2-2. 

Much like a heavyweight fight, blows were delivered one after another. The Braves answered right back in the fourth inning to take the lead again 3-2. There were ample opportunities for the Braves to capitalize and extend their lead, as they chased Gonsolin in the fourth with runners on first and second and no outs. The opportunity was squandered, as the Braves committed two costly baserunning errors with runners on second and third base after a groundball hit by OF Nick Markakis. It was a big break for RP Blake Treinen and the Dodgers, who trailed by only one run.

In the top of the fifth inning, another stellar defensive play by Dodgers OF Mookie Betts was made to rob Freeman of a home run. It was one of three game-changing defensive plays that Betts has made in the same amount of games. Still, the Braves led 3-2 going into the sixth. The bottom of the sixth inning is when the game changed in favor of the Dodgers. OF Kiké Hernández crushed a pinch-hit, lead-off home run to left field to tie the ball game, 3-3.

Next was OF Cody Bellinger with a right hook. I mean, a no-doubt solo home run to right field that put the Dodgers up by a run, 4-3. The home run was given up yet again with two outs by RP Chris Martin in the seventh inning, who was otherwise sharp in his outing. 

Dodgers LHP Julio Uriás had a very impressive outing by pitching the final 3 innings and retiring nine batters in order. His effort secured the Dodgers’ win and advanced them to the 2020 World Series to face the Tampa Bay Rays. Los Angeles climbed out of a 3-1 series deficit and made the impossible happen.

Notable Performances

Mookie Betts (#50) — Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo

Swanson: 1-3, HR, RBI, R, BB

Hernández: 1-2, HR, RBI, R

Bellinger: 1-2, HR, RBI, R, 2 BB

Uriás (W): 3 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K

What To Expect

The Rays, who last appeared in the 2008 World Series, will now face the Dodgers in the World Series starting Tuesday. The Rays play a very efficient and smart brand of baseball, which will be tough to beat. However, the Dodgers can have clutch moments and explosive offensive onslaughts that make them difficult opponents as well. The series will be one for the history books in an already incredible postseason.

Jordan Durrell View All

I'm Jordan Durrell and I'm a contributor to The Bullpen. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and I'm a lifelong Dodger fan. I've been watching and playing baseball my whole life and currently play at West LA College. I've always had a passion for writing and sports.

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