Two of the National League’s best teams will kickoff a series here as the Atlanta Braves host the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kenta Maeda will start for the Dodgers here, while Mike Soroka takes the mound for Atlanta. The Dodgers are coming off a surprising large loss to the Marlins, while the Braves fell to the Mets.
Dodgers Lose Big
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been having another great season, and it looks like they could be headed for their third straight World Series appearance. They enter this one at 81-42, which is tied for the best record in all of baseball. They have a stacked rotation an elite lineup and are well set up for a deep postseason run. That being said, they’re coming off an ugly loss to the Marlins. They lost 13-7 to Miami on Thursday, a very disappointing result considering the Marlins are one of the worst teams in the league. The Dodgers have essentially clinched the division, so I think it’s fair to wonder whether or not they’ll be locked in and engaged over the next couple of months.
As they look to get that bad taste from Thursday’s loss out of their mouth, they’ll turn to Kenta Maeda on the mound here. Maeda has been decent but not great this year, entering this one with a 4.12 ERA. He has stark home/road splits this season, and he’s been a completely different pitcher away from home. Maeda has a 2.84 ERA at Dodger Stadium this season, but a 5.66 ERA on the road. Not surprisingly given those numbers, the Dodgers are just 3-8 in his last 11 road starts. Maeda has only pitched one inning against the Braves the past two years, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares against a lineup completely foreign to him.
Braves On Top
The Braves were one of the biggest surprises of the 2018 season, unexpectedly winning the NL East as a very young team. They started slow this year, but have been picking it up ever since. They’ve really turned it on the past few months, and now hold a solid six-game lead over the Nationals for first place in the division. Over their past 61 games they’ve gone 39-22, which is one of the best marks in the league. Their NL East rivals have been playing well recently as well, so they won’t be able to slack off down the stretch.
As they look to solidify their hold on the division in a pivotal series, they’ll turn to Mike Soroka for the opener. Soroka is still only 22, but he’s been one of the best pitchers in the majors this season. He has a 2.32 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, and he’s given up one or zero runs in three of his last four starts. In his most recent appearance, he tossed seven shutout innings while only giving up three hits. Soroka is a contender for the Rookie of the Year award, and the Braves are 19-7 in his 26 career outings. The youngster has held his own against plenty of top lineups, so he’s probably not too nervous about facing this vaunted Dodgers offense here.
- 19-7 in Soroka’s last 26 starts
- 39-22 in their last 61 overall
- 6-1 in Soroka’s last 7 home starts
- 3-8 in Maeda’s last 11 road starts
- 0-4 in Maeda’s last 4 starts during game 1 of a series
- 2-5 in their last 7 Friday games