The NL West Champion Los Angeles Dodgers will be taking on the NL East Champion Atlanta Braves in the NLDS beginning Thursday.
We are going to take a look at the little things that could make a difference in the series.
The Braves come into postseason play with a 96-66 record, while the Dodgers come in at 92-70.
The NL East champions had the best home record in baseball at 56-25, but came in one game under .500 on the road. The Braves scored the fourth most runs in the NL and had a run differential of +140. They were fifth in the majors in home runs with 181, but 20th in batting average. The Braves had a overall 3.18 team ERA, which was lowest in the majors, led by their bullpen and their 2.46 ERA.
The NL West champions are owners of the best road record in the majors at 45-36, but had a similar home record of 47-34. They only had a +67 run differential on the season and ranked 24th in home runs. However, they ranked sixth in baseball in team batting average and ninth in on-base percentage. The Dodgers were second in overall team ERA at 3.25 and led in starters’ ERA at 3.13.
The Dodgers and Braves aren’t known for their base stealing, as both teams rank in the lower half in stolen bases. On the season, the Dodgers ranked 17th with 78 stolen bases and the Braves ranked 24th with 64 stolen bases.
The Braves were led in stolen bases by outfielder Jordan Schafer, who is expected to be a backup in the playoffs. In the lineup, outfielders Jason Heyward and B.J. Upton have enough speed to steal a base if needed. On the bench, infielder Elliot Johnson could be used as a pinch runner as he stole eight of 10 bases this season in a limited role.
For the Dodgers, outfielders Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig led the team in stolen bases and are more than capable of stealing bases if necessary. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez also stole 10 bases in 12 attempts. Off the bench, the Dodgers have average speed in Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker, unless they decide to add infielder Dee Gordon to the playoff roster. The speedy Gordon could be used as a difference maker on the basepaths in key situations.
In terms of advanced numbers, the Dodgers and Braves are very close. The Dodgers rank fifth in MLB in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) with 44, while the Braves ranked sixth with 43. However, the Braves were significantly better in normal defensive stats. The Dodgers ranked 25th in the majors with 109 errors and a .982 fielding percentage while the Braves had just 85 errors on the season, ranking 13th in baseball and had a .986 fielding percentage.
Next Page: How do the managers stack up?