The Los Angeles Dodgers have one of baseball’s highest payrolls. They give their best players big contracts. And their roster features lots of top-notch talent.
So it turned out to be a bit of a surprise when this high-flying first place team from Hollywood hit a few speed bumps when playing the much lower-paid Atlanta Braves.
The star-studded Dodgers have “lights-out” pitching led by superstars Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, as well as superior position players like Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez. As for the Braves, well they have a great first baseman, Freddy Freeman and a host of young players with potential.
This apparent mismatch didn’t play out as expected. Game one, Monday night, went to the home team by a final score of 7-5. Alex Wood started the game for Atlanta and was staked to a four run lead on a two-run first inning home run by outfielder Nick Markakis and a two run double by Jace Peterson in the 4th inning.
The Los Angeles squad quickly erased the Braves 4-0 lead by plating a quartet of runs in the fifth inning. Their offensive outburst was highlighted by a two run home run off the bat of 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
The 4-4 tie didn’t last long. The home team scored once in their half of the 5th inning and twice more in the seventh inning. A late Dodger run in the 9th inning made the final score 7-5.
Game two, played Tuesday night, also went badly for the team with the sky-high payroll. Los Angeles third baseman and former Met Justin Turner hit a 1st inning home run to give the visitors their first lead of the series. But the Braves quickly erased the deficit and actually took the lead by scoring two runs in their half of the opening inning.
Graphic via latimes
A Yasiel Puig home run in the second inning tied the score. Both teams scored again in the third inning making the score 3-3. That tie was broken for the last time when Atlanta scored the go-ahead and winning run in the fifth inning on a single by infielder Juan Uribe.
When play started Wednesday afternoon, the visitors from California were facing a much-dreaded sweep by the home town Braves. It never happened.
Although Julio Teheran, the Braves young ace pitched a strong game, he couldn’t keep the Dodgers from scoring three big runs. For their part, the home team could muster only enough offense to score a single run.
The 3-1 Dodgers victory enabled the team from the west to escape “the gateway to the west” city, Atlanta, with their pride intact and their position at the top of the standings in the National League Western Division still in place.
Graphic via wsbradio