The Atlanta Braves will be looking to extend their lead in the NLCS Wednesday night with Game 3 against the Dodgers. Atlanta is sporting a 2-0 series lead and will have Kyle Wright on the mound for Game 3. The Dodgers will counter with left-hander Julio Urias.
The Braves built a 7-0 lead in Game 2 on Tuesday but had to hold on at the end for an 8-7 win. Both Chris Martin and Mark Melancon were needed to close the game out so we may see a situation where one or both aren’t available for Game 3. One of the biggest challenges of this series is that there are no off days. Atlanta is likely looking at some sort of bullpen game for Game 4 and possibly Game 5. With that in mind, they will need a good start from Wright to lesson the load on the relief staff.
Wright was up to the task in his playoff debut as he helped close out the Marlins in Game 3 of the NLDS with six scoreless innings in which he allowed three hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts. Wright has looked like a much different pitcher since returning from the alternate site but Wednesday’s Game 3 will be the biggest game of his professional career. He was able to weather some early trouble in his start against the Marlins but the Dodgers lineup will pose a much more formidable matchup. The Braves will need him to show poise and to give them as many innings as he can.
It was expected that Urias would start Game 3 but Dave Roberts didn’t make it official until Tuesday. Los Angeles came into the series with questions in regards to the back end of their bullpen but that extended to the rotation after Clayton Kershaw was scratched from his scheduled start on Tuesday due to back spasms. The Dodgers currently have Kershaw penciled in for a possible start in Game 4 but Roberts stressed Tuesday that they will be taking things day by day.
Urias produced good numbers in the regular season making 11 appearances and 10 starts while posting a 3.27 ERA and a 3.72 FIP over 55 innings. He went away from his slider in 2020 and relied mostly on his four-seamer, curveball and change up. Urias saw his strikeout rate dip slightly but he otherwise did a good job of limiting hard contact and keeping hitters off balance. Urias has made two postseason appearances during the Dodgers run this season both in relief and has allowed four hits and one unearned runs over eight innings. He has struck out 11 and walked just one.
It remains to be seen how Brian Snitker will approach his lineup for Game 3. During the regular season, Atlanta often used Travis d’Arnaud as the DH with Tyler Flowers at catcher and Marcell Ozuna in left field against left-handed starters. They may be more reluctant to go that route in the postseason due to the injury to Adam Duvall. Nick Markakis recorded two hits in Game 2 after struggling down the stretch and through the postseason but he still isn’t a good option against a left-handed starter. Snitker mentioned after Game 1 that he might consider giving Austin Riley a start in left field which would press either Pablo Sandoval or Johan Camargo into duty at third base. Cristian Pache started in centerfield in Game 2 and drove in the first run of his career with a double. His defensive ability in center alone should warrant his inclusion in the lineup but we will have to wait and see how Snitker decides to play it.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, October 14, 6:05 p.m. ET
Location: Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network