The Atlanta Braves haven't always had the best time at Dodger Stadium or on the West Coast in general. That certainly changed during their most recent road trip which saw them go 8-2. During that trip, they faced the Giants, Rockies, and Dodgers.
Not to disrespect the Giants and Rockies but that Dodgers series was circled on my calendar. A four-game series with one of the best teams in baseball late in the season is very important. Fans were certainly treated to a great series and potential NLCS preview.
Coming away with a series split would have been enough but Atlanta was able to win 3 out of the 4 games and win the season series against LA. That helped Atlanta solidify home-field advantage over the Dodgers for the postseason.
Braves manager Brian Snitker had a lot of good things following Sunday's 3-1 loss in LA. This team is showing everyone in baseball that they are a team that is not to be taken lightly.
What did we learn during this series? Well... a good bit actually. Let's explore some takeaways from this most recent series between the two juggernauts.
Braves and Dodgers Takeaways
1. The mutual respect between both sides
The Braves and Dodgers have played one another enough over the past few years to know how good both teams are. This is why no matter the time of year, each team comes into a series with an understanding that it will be a grind.
Ronald Acuna Jr. and Mookie Betts are frontrunners for the NL MVP Award and both have a lot of respect for one another. Apparently, the two are good friends and have an appreciation for the talent each of them possesses.
Ronald has talked about how much he admires the way Mookie plays the game and that they always enjoy competing against one another. Mookie Betts even mentioned after this series that he doesn't view it as a rivalry and they "enjoy seeing each other's success."
Game one certainly showed that as both players seemed to feed off of one another. Acuna had a big grand slam in that game to help him reach the 30 HR/60 SB milestone. Ronald finished the day 3-for-4 with 4 RBI and Betts answered with a 2-for-4 day including 2 solo home runs and 4 RBI.
Ronald definitely has turned into a bit of a villain for Dodgers fans as he showed off during the series but he didn't do anything that led to "bulletin board material."
Charlie Morton talked about this after yesterday's game about how they know every time they play the Dodgers, he doesn't expect Atlanta to "dirt roll" them. That shows you how much respect he and other players on this team have for LA.
After all, the Braves have faced LA enough over the last 5 years to know that nothing is a given in the playoffs and the Dodgers' potent offense can rally off a plethora of runs in a heartbeat. That doesn't mean you should come into the series thinking you're just going to steamroll them. Both sides respecting one another is a great thing to see and makes for some great baseball.