The pitching matchup
The Braves will start right-hander Charlie Morton (14-6 with a 3.34 ERA during the regular season) against Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler (16-4, 2.47) in Game 3. Morton, 37, has been one of baseball’s best postseason pitchers in recent years with Houston and Tampa Bay, although he stumbled against the Dodgers in his one start in last year’s World Series (five runs in 4-1/3 innings). Buehler, 27, allowed one run in 11 innings against the Braves in last year’s NLCS.
Dodger Stadium is one of baseball’s most picturesque and iconic ballparks, but the Braves rarely have enjoyed their visits. They have lost nine consecutive games there – seven regular-season and two postseason, dating to June 2018 – and 20 of their past 24.
The Braves are on a five-game postseason winning streak, having not lost since the first game of the Division Series. Their past three wins have been by one run, all decided in their final at-bat. The Braves have won 13 of their past 15 games, including regular season and playoffs. Since July 31, the day after the trade deadline, they are 42-20, compared with 51-54 before that date. The Dodgers are 48-17 since July 31.
NLCS-defining statistic: The Dodgers are 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position through the first two games, with both hits by Chris Taylor. The Braves are 3-for-8 in that situation.
The Braves won NLCS Game 1 despite their batters striking out 14 times. Then they won Game 2 despite their pitchers issuing nine walks.
- Eddie Rosario is 9-for-22 (.409) in the playoffs after going 4-for-4, including the game-winning walk-off hit, in NLCS Game 2 on Sunday night.
- Joc Pederson is 5-for-14 (.357) with three home runs, seven RBIs and a 1.357 OPS in 14 at-bats this postseason. His 12 career postseason homers are tied with Hall of Famer Yogi Berra for 24th-most all-time.
- Extending his success from the regular season and Division Series, Austin Riley has three hits and three RBIs in the first two NLCS games, including the game-winning single in the ninth inning of Game 1 and a game-tying double in the eighth inning of Game 2.
- Closer Will Smith hasn’t allowed a run in five playoff outings, recording two wins and three saves, and the Braves’ bullpen has a collective 1.52 postseason ERA.
- Freddie Freeman is 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts since hitting the home run that won the Division Series. He’s 4-for-21 (.190) for the postseason.
- Adam Duvall, who led the NL with 113 regular-season RBIs, hasn’t driven in a run in the playoffs.
- Travis d’Arnaud has three singles in 18 postseason at-bats.
- Dansby Swanson is 4-for-22.