Yesterday, we took a look at the intangibles between the Braves and Dodgers and in the second part of our preview, we tackled both teams offenses and benches ahead of Game 1 on Thursday.
The Atlanta Braves ranked 13th in MLB in runs scored this season with 688. They’re more of a power-hitting team, as they ranked fifth in the majors in home runs and 11th in slugging percentage. However, the Braves ranked 20th in batting average and ranked third in strikeouts.
The Braves have five players with over 20 home runs, but only two players with a batting average over .300. Atlanta is led offensively by 2013 All-Star Final Vote winner Freddie Freeman, who finished the season with a .319 batting average with 23 home runs and 109 RBI. Freeman went on a tear in September hitting .380 with 21 RBI.
The Braves potentially most dangerous hitter may not be Freeman. Outfielder Justin Upton began the season on a tear before cooling off, but has the ability to begin a hot streak at any time. Upton struggled against Dodgers pitching this season with 11 strikeouts in 26 at-bats and just one home run. One of the most consistent bats for the Braves that past few years has been catcher Brian McCann.
He began the year on the disabled list but came back and hit 20 home runs with 57 RBI. Another player that has come back from injury is outfielder Jason Heyward. The left-handed hitter came back from a broken jaw and will assume his role in the leadoff spot where he thrived in the second half of the season. A pleasant surprise for the NL East Champions has been at third base with Chris Johnson. Johnson took the task of replacing longtime Brave Chipper Jones and filled in respectably, hitting .321 and driving in 68 runs.
Rounding out the infield, Andrelton Simmons is known more for his glove than his bat, but finished the season with 17 home runs, 27 doubles and six triples. At second base, manager Fredi Gonzalez is said to have decided in favor of Elliot Johnson over the primary starter Dan Uggla. Johnson is a defensive specialist with some speed; however, he did hit a modest .261 on the season. The last choice Gonzalez will have to make is in the outfield. Gonzalez can go with B.J. Upton, who struggled all season or rookie sensation Evan Gattis. Upton provides much better defense and speed, but couldn’t find his stroke this season as he hit .184 with 151 strikeouts. Gattis, a catcher that can play the outfield, had 21 home runs and 65 RBI, despite fighting for playing time after the return of McCann.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers ranked 17th in runs scored and 24th in home runs, despite being sixth in batting average and ninth in on-base percentage. The NL West Champions rank 22nd in strikeouts and are in the top half in drawing walks.
The Dodgers offense is led by the duo of Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez. Gonzalez provides consistency in the lineup, hitting .293 with 22 home runs and 100 RBI. Ramirez provided the sizzle hitting .345 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI despite playing in only 86 games. Those two provide the Dodgers with a right-handed/left-handed combination in the middle of their lineup.
Next Page: Who has the better bench?