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The Daily Chop: NLCS opponent, Defensive shifts, Bullpen heroes, and more

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The Braves await the advancement of their next opponent in the NLCS. Do they have a rooting interest in the Dodgers-Giants finale?

Division Series - Milwaukee Brewers v Atlanta Braves - Game Four Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Braves eliminated the Brewers in four games, which leaves them waiting for the advancement of their NLCS opponent. The Dodgers and Giants will play a decisive Game 5 tonight in San Francisco to determine who will advance. The question for Atlanta: which team should they prefer to play?

Most fans would immediately pick the Giants, given the general sense of doom that accompanies every matchup against the Dodgers. They overcame a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS last season and are widely considered the most talented team in baseball. However, David Adler of MLB.com released an article on Wednesday that lists out several reasons that Los Angeles may actually be the preferred matchup. The issue of home field advantage is certainly worth considering, but the talent is undeniable for the Dodgers. Either way, the Braves will know late tonight who will be their next opponent.

Braves News

The secret to Atlanta’s defensive turnaround

Atlanta transformed their shift tendencies mid-season. Their success in the NLDS may have been more related to this change than many realize.

The formerly shift-averse Braves are moving their infielders around out of nowhere, and largely without notice. If you watched the NLDS, you could see it. You saw it when Avisaíl García smoked a line drive directly to Austin Riley. You saw it when Omar Narváez hit a grounder right at Ozzie Albies, who started a double play. You saw it when Willy Adames, who had been shifted against by Atlanta 19% of the time in the regular season, saw shifts more than 80% of the time in October.

The Braves bullpen came up as huge as anybody did in the NLDS

Demetrius is absolutely correct. The entire Braves bullpen was incredible against the Brewers and deserve their due credit for Atlanta advancing to the NLCS.

MLB Trade Rumors releases annual arbitration projections for 2022

One quick note about offseason arbitration projections then back to NLCS talk. In all seriousness, MLBTR does an outstanding job every year with these projections and they are always worth a read. This year is especially interesting for Braves fans. Okay, back to the playoffs.

This isn’t the Braves’ best team, but it might be the right team

Mark Bradley nails this one. The Braves have been an underdog for much of the season thanks to injuries and mishaps, but are still just eight wins from a championship. They may not have the best team, but they could certainly hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy later this month if they continue their recent level of play.

MLB News

Dodgers-Giants Game 5 FAQ (9 ET, TBS)

The most consequential non-Braves game of the season for Atlanta and their fans is just a few short hours away.

Roundtable: NLDS G5 shaping up as classic

A true classic would last 25 innings. I think all Braves fans would appreciate that.

Will Mad Max emerge from ‘pen in Game 5?

The Dodgers may send Max back to the mound in Game 5, this time in relief. Not a bad option.