How to explain Braves' success vs. sizzling Dodgers?

How to explain the Braves beating the Dodgers, the best and hottest team in baseball, three times in the past two weeks, but getting swept in four games last week by the Phillies, who have the worst record in baseball?

Tyler Flowers' two-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning gave the Braves a 5-3 win over the red-hot Dodgers on Wednesday. (AP photo)

How to explain the Dodgers being 3-3 against the Braves and 17-0 against everyone else since July 4?

How to explain the Braves losing nine out of their past 10 games before Wednesday, when they twice trailed before coming back to beat the Dodgers, a team that had gone longer than any team in history without losing a game in which it led at any point in said game?

How to explain the Braves winning Wednesday, 5-3 on a two-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning from Tyler Flowers, who in his career previously was 1-for-17 with 10 strikeouts as a pinch-hitter?

How to explain the Braves beating the Dodgers at SunTrust Park in a game started by Julio Teheran, when the Braves had lost eight of the previous nine home games he had started?

How to explain the Braves beating the Dodgers with Teheran starting, period? The Braves had lost all seven games Teheran started against the Dodgers before Wednesday, and Teheran himself remains winless (0-6) with a 5.33 ERA in his career against the Dodgers after getting no decision Wednesday, when he gave up three runs in five innings and exited with cramping in a quadriceps muscle.

With a 5-3 win Wednesday, the Braves snapped their six-game losing streak, and the Dodgers ended a nine-game winning streak.

The Dodgers lost for just the third time in 23 games – again, all three losses were against the Braves – and for the seventh time in 47 games. That is not a typo.

The Dodgers entered Wednesday with a 75-31 record that was six games better than the majors’ next-best (Astros) and the best record by a National League team through 106 games since the 1944 Cardinals (78-28). The Dodgers were 44 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 26, 1962.

Then they lost to the Braves. Again.

The Braves won for only the second time in 11 games and fourth time in 16 games, with three of those four wins coming against Los Dodgers, a team that entered Wednesday on the hottest 46-game stretch (40-6) that any team had been on in more than three-quarters of a freakin’ century (1941 Yankees, also 40-6).

The Braves also ended the Dodgers' remarkable streak of 53 consecutive wins in games in which they led at any point. Yes, they had won 53 consecutive times in any game in which they held a lead of any size at any point in the game. The Dodgers led twice Wednesday.

How to explain any of this?

Well, don’t try. There’s no explanation. As Livan Hernandez, Brian Snitker and about million other people have said a thousand times apiece: That’s baseball.

But just for the record, for the sake of you, dear reader (and for my own edification), I had to ask. So I tried late Wednesday to get an explanation.

How in the (bleep) have the Braves beaten the Dodgers three times in two weeks when no one else has beaten them since July 4 and when the Braves couldn’t win a game in four at Philly?

I asked the big catcher whose pinch-hit homer was the decisive blow Wednesday.

“You’re not going to play great every day,” Flowers said. “It just so happens we’ve played good games against them, in particular. And we’ve played good games against a number of other teams that are in first place in their respective divisions. And we’ve played bad games against teams that are towards the bottom of their division, too. That’s just the game. Ups and downs. You just try to limit the downs, take advantage of momentum, minimize mistakes. When you do that you give yourself a good chance to win.”

So there you have it. Another Braves win against the Dodgers, a team that doesn’t lose to anyone else these days.

The Dodgers must be thankful they won’t face the Braves in the World Series.

The Braves will have to settle for a Game 7 tonight against the Dodgers, the series finale at SunTrust Park and the last of seven games between the teams this season.

That is, unless they meet in a division playoff series. Hey, crazier things have happened. Like the Braves handing the Dodgers their only three losses in their past 23 games, for instance.

Here's one of my favorite L.A. tunes, by Simone Felice

Simone Felice


If you go to LA

And meet a girl there with a curious name

You look her dead in the eye

And tell her I'm getting by

If you go to LA

Be sure to ask her if she's been sleeping ok

So many furious kinds of pills

Up in them bloody hills

Lie lie lie lie

Lie lie lie lie

If you go to LA

A terrible wave comes up

Boy to wash it away

You lead her out by the hand

Pale feet on paler sand

And if you go to LA

And meet a girl out walking

In the drizzling rain

You look her straight in the eye

And tell her I'm fine doing fine with a

Lie lie lie lie

Lie lie lie lie

Lie lie lie lie

Lie lie lie lie

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About the Author

David O'Brien
David O'Brien
David O'Brien covered the Atlanta Braves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for more than a decade.