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Dodgers Defeat Braves and Head to the NLCS in Milwaukee

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Oct 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) celebrates with teammate Matt Kemp (27) after hitting a three run home run in the seventh inning in game four of the 2018 NLDS playoff baseball series at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers and Braves squared off for game four of the NLDS on Monday afternoon in Atlanta. Rich Hill got the start in this one facing off against Mike Foltynewicz, who had just pitched at Dodger Stadium in game one on Thursday. What started off with so much promise ended being a roller coaster of emotions for Los Angeles.

All told, Rich Hill pitched okay. Not great, but he got through a pretty tough Braves lineup while working around an extremely questionable and confusing strike zone. Hill tossed 4.1 innings of work and allowed two earned runs. He struck out three but walked five in the process. That’s really what came back to bite him. Both runs scored in the fourth after he walked the first two batters of the game. Hill got into more trouble in the fifth, but Ryan Madson bailed him out with back-to-back soft contact. Regardless, the Dodgers were down a run at this point.

The offense was silent for much of the game, despite scoring in the first on a Manny Machado double. Folty tossed four innings and gave up just two hits in the process. He struck out five and walked four, but was mowing down Dodger hitters. Certainly not what was expected from a guy who started just four days ago.

The offense got some back in the 6th though. After a single and a fielder’ choice, Yasiel Puig looped a base hit into short right field that no one could get to. That set the stage for David Freese and gave him a chance to make things interesting. He did not disappoint.

 

The real dagger came in the 7th though, courtesy of another mid-season acquisition. Manny Machado took a Chad Sobotka pitch on the inner half of the plate and parked a three-run shot into the bleachers in left. That put the Dodgers up 6-2 and absolutely silenced the Atlanta crowd. It was Machado’s second big homerun of the playoffs.

The Bullpen Locks It Down

Ryan Madson was the start of the clutch bullpen performance, and Pedro Baez would follow suit. He came in and tossed a perfect sixth inning by inducing two pop-outs and a fly ball to left, as well as a groundball in the seventh. Baez has not allowed a run since September 9th and has not allowed a hit in his two playoff appearances. Caleb Ferguson followed up Baez in the line of bullpen appearances. He pitched the remainder of the 7th inning and got both of the hitters he faced.

Kenta Maeda came on to pitch the 8th and made things VERY interesting. He got the first two outs with ease but then allowed back-to-back singles to bring up the dangerous Lucas Duda. Duda hit one about a mile, but it landed wide of the foul pole in right, The very next pitch he popped up to center to end the threat. Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth and retired the Braves in order to send the boys in blue onward.

Looking Ahead

The Dodgers will get a break until Friday night when they head to Milwaukee for the Championship Series. It looks like Clayton Kershaw will be getting the nod for game one against a Brewers team that he last faced in August. He threw six innings and gave up two earned runs in a game where Los Angeles routed Milwaukee 21-5.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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