The Atlanta Braves gave up an historic eleven runs in yesterday’s first inning. Just when it looked like the momentum had switched to the Dodgers, the World Series favorites who entered tonight down 2-1 in the NLCS, the Braves threw out Bryse Wilson to go against Clayton Kershaw.
Bryse Wilson, who had a 5.91 career ERA as a swingman, went up against a former MVP. A 3x Cy Young award winner who has won a triple crown, thrown a no-hitter and a guy with a lifetime 2.43 career ERA. Good news? Playoff Kershaw.
Wilson? He dazzled in his postseason debut, giving up only one hit: a homerun to Edwin Rios.
That was the only blemish on Wilson’s night, who tied a career high in innings pitched. He walked only one as compared to five Ks. Marcell Ozuna tied it off of Kershaw in the fourth.
Bryse Wilson cruised through six, while Kershaw came out to the sixth and struggled. The Braves unloaded after an Enrique Hernandez error put Ronald Acuna on second base to start the frame.
The Braves put six runs up in the sixth inning to make Wilson the pitcher of record. Doubles from Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna and Dansby Swanson as well as basehits from Austin Riley and rookie Cristian Pache drove in runs.
Will Smith came out the next inning, left with the bases loaded and Chris Martin worked the Braves out of the jam giving up only one run on an Edwin Rios sacrifice fly.
With the Braves up by six, Tyler Matzek worked a scoreless eighth inning. The Braves put two on in the bottom half of the inning on Dylan Floro, but Jake McGee came in and gave an RBI single to Freddie Freeman to make it 9-2. The run was unearned after a Matt Beatty error. Marcell Ozuna’s single made it 10-2. Shane Greene pitched the ninth inning and closed it out for the Braves. The first hitter, AJ Pollock, popped it up to catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Cody Bellinger gave the ball a ride, but Cristian Pache had just enough room to retire him at the warning track for the second out. Edwin Rios grounded out to Freddie Freeman to end the ballgame.
For the Braves, this was the absolute best case scenario. Their most inexperienced pitcher outdueled the greatest of this generation, while their offense broke out needing only one win over the next three to clinch their first World Series appearance since 1999 where they were swept by the Yankees. Tomorrow looks to be a bullpen day, but they didn’t use any of their top relievers tonight: Mark Melancon, AJ Minter, Darren O’Day or Luke Jackson, all of whom have closer experience. If they don’t win that game, they will still have two opportunities with Max Fried and Ian Anderson on the mound. The Dodgers will pitch Dustin May.
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