Bradley’s Buzz: The Braves lose a series but underscore a point

Atlanta: Braves manager Brian Snitker, right, presents former Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman his World Series Championship ring, who shows it off to the fans during his ring presentation ceremony as he returns to Atlanta with the Los Angles Dodgers at Truist Park on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta. The series marks Freeman's first games in Atlanta since the longtime Braves star signed with the Dodgers as a free agent in March. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

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Atlanta: Braves manager Brian Snitker, right, presents former Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman his World Series Championship ring, who shows it off to the fans during his ring presentation ceremony as he returns to Atlanta with the Los Angles Dodgers at Truist Park on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta. The series marks Freeman's first games in Atlanta since the longtime Braves star signed with the Dodgers as a free agent in March. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

It took four hours and 23 minutes for the Braves to lose this series – and the season series – to the Dodgers. It took a blown ninth-inning lead by Kenley Jensen, long a Dodger, to lose Sunday night’s game 5-3 in 11 innings. With two out in the ninth, the Dodgers had no runs and nobody on base. It marked the first time L.A. won after trailing by more than a one-run deficit in the ninth since Aug. 22, 2019.

“That was quite the game, quite the series,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “It was a heavyweight battle.”

These teams won the past two World Series. These teams have played for the National League title two years running. They’ll surely see each other this October. The Braves are 16-35 against the Dodgers since 2013 in regular-season play, but we’ve lately seen the gap narrow.

Counting postseason play, the Braves are 11-14 against L.A. since 2019. Had they held their ninth-inning lead, they’d be 12-13. When these teams meet, theirs is a convocation of peers.

When they faced another one another in the NLDS in 2013 and 2018, the Dodgers won 3-1 each time. When they played for the NL pennant the past two seasons, the Braves won seven of the 13 games. The Dodgers faced elimination five times; the Braves faced elimination only once.

The Mets hold the NL’s best record – by .001 – over L.A. and lead the Braves by five games in the East, but another Braves-Dodgers postseason collision seems inevitable. This series was a feel-good weekend, with Freddie Freeman getting misty-eyed on a nightly basis. The next meeting won’t be.

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About Freddie’s weekend

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062422 Atlanta: The Truist Park screen shows former Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman in Los Angles Dodgers blue while he bats against the Braves in a MLB baseball game on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

062422 Atlanta: The Truist Park screen shows former Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman in Los Angles Dodgers blue while he bats against the Braves in a MLB baseball game on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta.   “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Combined ShapeCaption
062422 Atlanta: The Truist Park screen shows former Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman in Los Angles Dodgers blue while he bats against the Braves in a MLB baseball game on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

He went 4-for-12 (.333) with one RBI (a go-ahead double in the 10th Sunday). He walked three times. He struck out six times. He didn’t hit a homer, which from a Braves’ perspective marked a massive improvement over their April series.

He drew standing ovations. He received his championship ring. He was treated royally by the overflow crowds. He’s among the greatest Braves ever, and he was received as such.

That’s the way it should be, though it isn’t always. Ask Tom Glavine.

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About the real NBA season

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Game 4 at State Farm Arena: Playoff shirts sporting the unity stained glass logo cover the seats for fans in State Farm Arena for Monday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Hawks and 76ers.

Credit: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Game 4 at State Farm Arena: Playoff shirts sporting the unity stained glass logo cover the seats for fans in State Farm Arena for Monday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Hawks and 76ers.

Credit: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

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Game 4 at State Farm Arena: Playoff shirts sporting the unity stained glass logo cover the seats for fans in State Farm Arena for Monday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Hawks and 76ers.

Credit: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Free agency begins Thursday night. This is my favorite part of the NBA calendar. This is when the wild stuff happens. LeBron James takes his talents elsewhere. Kevin Durant signs with somebody. The Nets look like the league’s best team until they get around to playing.

It will be fascinating to see what the Hawks do, though the draft came and went and they did nothing but draft two players, one of whom (AJ Griffin) could be rather good. Yet again, though, the focus will be on Brooklyn. Will Kyrie Irving stay? And if he doesn’t, will Durant leave?

The belief here is that the Hawks’ need to do something major has been a tad – perhaps more than a tad – overblown. But if Durant becomes available, mightn’t they have to ask themselves if pairing him with Trae Young would be worth trading half their roster?

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About Deshaun Watson

His hearing with the NFL is set to begin Tuesday. He stands accused of no crime. Twenty of the 24 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and abuse have been settled. The growing belief, however, is that he’ll receive a significant penalty. Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal reported that the NFL is pushing for a suspension “no shorter than one year.”

Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, citing a source, suggested this was a way for the NFL to convey its wishes. The case will be decided by arbitrator Sue Robinson, a former federal judge. This is new. Time was, commissioner Roger Goodell was his own arbitrator. Judge Robinson is under no obligation to do as the NFL wants.