5 reasons why this upcoming Braves-Dodgers series is the biggest series of 2023
By Eric Cole
Key point of the 2023 season for both teams
The timing of this series couldn't come at much more of a key time for both teams in their schedules. For the Braves, this is the capstone of a brutal stretch of series that have seen them go against the Orioles, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers, and Mariners. All of those teams have winning records and some of them are among the best teams in baseball period. Things lighten up a bit after the Dodgers series, so getting out of this series strong and healthy would be ideal.
For the Dodgers, they are coming off of losing three out of four with the Cardinals who HAD been terrible, but seem to have woken up of late. After the Braves series, they then have to travel to Tampa who has the best record in baseball. They then go back home to first face a terrible Nationals team and then play host to the Yankees who have looked very strong of late. These are the sorts of stretches that can make or break a season for both teams.
Both teams are weathering injuries in their rotation
One would hope that both of these teams would be coming into this series healthy so we could see them battle at full strength, but that is decidedly not the case as both teams are dealing with injuries especially in their rotations. We already know that Max Fried and Kyle Wright are going to be out until at least July which definitely stinks. The Dodgers haven't fared much better on the injury front as both Julio Urias and Dustin May hit the injured list in recent days with a hamstring and right forearm issue respectively.
This seemingly benefits the Braves the most in this series as the Braves get to run out Charlie Morton, Spencer Strider, and Bryce Elder against LA while the Dodgers are having to turn to rookies Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller for the first two games of the series with Miller making his big league debut. That said, both of those guys can shove, so be wary as things could still be tough despite the fact that they are rookies.
October history, October preview
There is no denying that the recent history between these two National League behemoths in the playoffs is going to color the atmosphere in this series. From the heartbreak for the Braves in the National League Championship Series in 2020 and getting dominated in the first round in 2018 to the Braves finally breaking through and taking LA down in 2021 (that NLCS was the real World Series imo), there are just so many big playoff moments between these two teams that will go down in each of their histories.
Are these playoff games? No. The stakes are also not anywhere close to the same, either. However, these are two teams that know each other well and who will be drawing on their shared histories to find more and more sources of motivation in what should be a really hard fought series....especially given that its just a series in May. Don't forget, this head-to-head season series matchup could easily matter in October and if history is any indication, both teams seem destined to meet up in the playoffs again.