Braves will try for better luck this time in Los Angeles

Austin Riley smiles during a workout ahead of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, in Los Angeles.

Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

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Austin Riley smiles during a workout ahead of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, in Los Angeles.

Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

LOS ANGELES — If the Braves are going to snap their skid of terrible play in Southern California, this would be an opportune time as the National League Championship Series shifts to Los Angeles. The Braves are 11-26 at Dodger Stadium since 2010. The Dodgers have eliminated them from the postseason three times in that span (though last season the series was played in Texas).

The Braves haven’t won in L.A. since June 2018. They’ve lost 12 of 13 at Dodger Stadium. But thanks to their consecutive home victories, even if they manage only one win in the coming three games, they’d carry a 3-2 series lead back to Atlanta for Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7.

“They’re just really good here, really good,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I mean, it’s fun to come out here. Dodger Stadium is an electric place and the weather’s nice. But they’re just a really tough team to beat here for us, obviously, in this ballpark.”

Charlie Morton will start Game 3 Tuesday for the Braves against Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler.

Braves notes:

- Lefty Tyler Matzek has pitched in each of the Braves’ six postseason games. Snitker wouldn’t rule out using his high-leverage lefty in every game during the Braves’ run.

“As much as we’ve used him, he is never needing a day off,” Snitker said. “Every time we tell him he’s down, he comes, Kranny (pitching coach Rick Kranitz) will go, we’ll talk about it in the morning over a cup of coffee, and it’s like, ‘you’re down.’ And then at some point of the day, (Matzek) sticks his head in my office and says, ‘Snit, I can pitch. I’m good. I can throw every day.’ He’s amazing, that kid. That’s just a great story. He’s a wonderful guy. I mean, no situation. It’s really good what he’s got going on.

- Veteran reliever Chris Martin, who’s had a disappointing season, logged a scoreless inning in Game 2. Snitker was optimistic, suggesting he thinks Martin could help the Braves as the series continues.

“That was really, really good to see,” Snitker said. “I loved getting him in in that situation because I was curious. But he threw the ball extremely well tonight and that could be really big for us.”

- Outfielder Joc Pederson cranked a two-run homer off Max Scherzer in Game 2, doing damage against his former team for the first time in the postseason. Pederson, who was emphatically celebrating and screaming expletives following his game-tying shot, wasn’t interested in any storylines about him facing the Dodgers, with whom he played his first seven seasons.

“I think that this is a lot bigger than me, this is 26 of us pulling and having one common goal,” he said. “Obviously I’ve been a part of the Dodgers for a long time and they’re a really good team and organization, but right now they’re in the way of our common goal.”

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

- Second baseman Ozzie Albies on having teammate Ronald Acuna, who’s out with a torn ACL, in the dugout cheering: “He’s a huge part of our team. His energy and his motivation and everything, obviously we enjoy having him around.”

Acuna spoke with reporters for the first time since July before Game 2. More on that here.

- All eyes will be on Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman in the coming games. He’s off to a surprisingly bad start in the NLCS, going 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts. In Freeman’s most recent series at Dodger Stadium last month, he went 2-for-12 with a home run.

“I think that we still have so much respect for him and he can get hot at any moment,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think we’ve done a great job of containing him, but some other guys we have to sort of figure out.”

- While Dodgers lefty Julio Urias appeared in Game 2, he’s still set to start Game 4. Roberts acknowledged Sunday it’s “certainly a possibility” that Urias could feel some fatigue in the outing. He indicated Monday that the Dodgers could push Urias back to Game 5 depending on how the southpaw is feeling.

The Braves haven’t announced their starter for Game 4, but it will almost certainly be a bullpen game. Huascar Ynoa would be one candidate to open the contest. If the Dodgers bump Urias to a (potential) Game 5, they’d likely use their bullpen for Game 4, as they did for the series opener.

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