It’s worth noting that Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves’ latest general manager, was an assistant GM in L.A. before coming here. We’ve seen the sort of resourcefulness in him – plucking Anibal Sanchez from the slag heap; landing Charlie Culberson in the Kemp salary dump – that has become a hallmark of the latter-day Dodgers. They have baseball’s second-biggest payroll, yes, but they’re also adept at value investing. Muncy is one example. Buehler – picked in Round 1 of the 2015 draft even though the Dodgers knew he’d need Tommy John surgery – is another. Taylor, who was acquired from Seattle in a minor trade, is a third.
The Braves lost five of seven to L.A. (They also lost five of seven to Colorado.) There’s no compelling reason to pick this up-from-oblivion club over the team that has again become an October fixture, but there are reasons to believe the Dodgers aren’t unassailable. They haven’t won a World Series since 1988. Last year’s Dodgers won 104 games, 12 more than this crew, and didn’t win it all, the Astros denying them in Game 7. Kershaw especially has had October issues.
The Braves are among the very few NL assemblages that can approximate L.A.’s everyday eight. (The Cubs are another, but they got bumped to the wild card game by the Brewers.) The Braves don’t yet possess the Dodgers’ 1-through-25 depth, but a couple of guys getting big hits or big outs can change the course of a postseason series. This is a meeting of Old Money versus New Kids On The Block, but October doesn’t always pay attention to pedigree.
This won’t be a walkover. This could well go the distance. And the Braves would absolutely have a shot to win Game 5.