Braves Preview: Spencer Strider goes to the mound in the 1st game against the Dodgers

In maybe the most highly anticipated series of the season, the Braves head to Los Angeles to take on the streaking Dodgers. Atlanta will be relying on t

Atlanta Braves v Colorado Rockies
Atlanta Braves v Colorado Rockies / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves will head to Los Angeles for a four-game series vs. the streaking L.A. Dodgers. In what looks to be a clash of the Titans, the teams hold the first and second-best records in all of the MLB. Outside of being two excellent ball clubs, we will have a chance to watch four potential MVP candidates in Acuña, Olson, Betts, and Freeman.

The two teams have formed a respectable rivalry in recent years, sharing jabs in playoffs. Both have won a world series in the past three years going through each other. That being said, 2023 could be the most even we have seen in this matchup. Atlanta leads the league in on-base percentage, runs, home runs, and slugging percentage.

On the other hand, the Dodgers are second in each category. Where the teams separate is the back-end lineup. Atlanta's 7-8-9 hitters have provided complete stability through the order, leading the league's back end in slugging, average, and OPS. The whole lineup contributes to feeding Ronald Acuña Jr., Austin Riley, and Matt Olson for game-changing rallies.

Pitching will be interesting in this series. After a fantastic debut from Darius Vines, Atlanta will have their 1-4 pitchers going, simulating a potential playoff order. In game one, Braves ace Spencer Strider will lead the team on the mound in game one. He will go up against a lineup that has won the most games in August.

Pitching Matchup for Braves vs. Dodgers

Atlanta will be looking toward Spencer Strider to start the series. Strider has been excellent this year, leading the MLB in wins and strikeouts. In his last three games, Strider has only allowed one run in 21 innings pitched. He has recorded 25 strikeouts in that span, giving teams almost no leverage to work with. On the year, the righty owns a 15-4 record, with a 3.46 ERA and 236 K's.

When watching Strider, you can expect three pitches generating extremely high swing-and-miss opportunities. His fourseam fastball stays around the upper 90s, but will rely on speed more than any late movement. He pairs his fastball with an 86-mph slider that looks like a fastball before sharply breaking. Lastly, his changeup generates many groundballs with a late break to the right.

The Dodgers will send twelve-year vet Lance Lynn to the mound for game one. The righty has had an up-and-down year, with a 10-9 record and a 5.56 ERA. His last outing was a win in Boston, giving up ten hits and three runs through six complete innings. It will be crucial for the Braves to get on top early, as they have a top-ten bullpen with many heavy throwers. When watching Lynn, expect a low 90s fourseamer and upper 80s cutter primarily. The two pitches will be paired with a 91-mph sinker, a low 80s slider, an 85-mph changeup, and a 12-6 low 80s curveball.

Hitters to Watch

Marcell Ozuna keeps raking in August, showing consistency in his plate approach and hitting for both power and contact. While he always had power, it is incredible seeing him adjust to using all of the field. Ozuna has hit fifteen RBIs in his last ten games and performed along with Mookie Betts for the best player in August.

Ronald Acuña Jr. will be interesting throughout the series as he interchanges for MVP favorite with Mookie. While Ronald has sacrificed some power for contact, he stays just as dangerous on the basepath, now on pace to steal 75 bases this season. His .334 average is third in the MLB, behind Luis Arraez and Freddie Freeman.

Where to watch:

Date/Time/Location: 8/31/2023 at 10:10 PM EST at Dodgers Stadium

TV: Bally Sports Southeast, MLB Network (Out of market)

Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan