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Charlie Morton, Braves look to take a commanding lead in the NLCS

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Atlanta needs another big time performance from their veteran righty.

Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves will be looking to take a commanding lead against the Los Angeles Dodgers when the NLCS resumes at Dodger Stadium Tuesday. The Braves took the first two games of the series at Truist Park thanks to walk-off hits by Austin Riley and Eddie Rosario.

The Dodgers have had opportunities in the series but Atlanta’s pitching staff has done a good job of minimizing the damage. Los Angeles had just four hits in Game 2 Sunday and just one after starter Ian Anderson exited in the third inning. While winning the first two games was a good thing for the Braves, they understand that the job isn’t finished and need look no further than last year’s NLCS as an example. Atlanta had a 2-0 lead in the NLCS in 2020 and then led 3-1 but were unable to put the Dodgers away as they won the final three games of the series to advance to the World Series.

“I think it’s probably a year’s more maturity as a club and experience in what we did,” Brian Snitker said of his team’s sense of urgency to not allow L.A. to hang around in the series. “I’ve said before we found out how hard it is to win a game and you can’t take anything for granted and you got to go into, you got to go after today. But I think with a year’s experience and in the same position, that these guys are better versed for it right now.”

The Braves will have their best going for them in Game 3 with Charlie Morton on the mound. After starting Game 4 of the NLDS on short rest, Atlanta opted to give Morton a couple of extra days of rest and push him back to Game 3. Morton has allowed seven hits and four runs over 9 1/3 innings in two starts this postseason. He was lights out for six innings in Game 1 of the NLDS before allowing a two-run home run by Rowdy Tellez. He allowed four hits and two runs over 3 1/3 on short rest in Game 4.

The Dodgers will roll out their best as well for Game 3 in Walker Buehler who will also be coming off of extra rest. Buehler allowed three hits and one run over 4 1/3 innings in his last appearance on three-days rest in the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants. He has made two starts this postseason allowing nine hits and four runs over 10 2/3 innings.

The Dodgers went with a bullpen game in Game 1 and then had to cover an early exit by Max Scherzer in Game 2. Dave Roberts said Monday that they hope having Buehler on extra rest will allow him to pitch deeper into Game 3.

“I think with Walker being on extra rest, I think to have him, to push him, go deeper is certainly a very good option,” Roberts said.

L.A. Is still undecided on how they will proceed for Game 4 and 5 and it may well depend on the outcome of Game 3. Roberts opted to use Julio Urias in the eighth inning of Game 2 in a move that backfired as the Braves rallied from a two-run deficit to tie the game. Atlanta hasn’t announced their pitching plans for Game 4 either but is looking at a likely bullpen game as well.

Justin Turner didn’t start Game 2 due to a sore neck. Roberts said that he was feeling better and the expectation was that he would be back in the starting lineup for Game 3.

The Braves have had little success against Buehler in the regular season over his career. Joc Pederson is 2-for-8 with a home run. Freddie Freeman is 1-for-8 with a homer as well. Freeman has struggled so far in the series going 0-for-8 and struck out in his first seven plate appearances in the LCS. Freeman’s last hit was the decisive home run off of Josh Hader in Game 4 of the NLDS.

There have been no further updates on the status of Jorge Soler who was placed on the COVID-19 list prior to Game 4 of the NLDS.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Tuesday, October 19, 5:08 p.m. ET

Location: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA

TV: TBS

Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network

Odds: The latest lines by Draft Kings Sportsbook can be found here