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Trailing 2-0 in the NL Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers have Atlanta right where they want it. At their house.

The Braves’ last win at Dodger Stadium was June 9, 2018. They’ve lost nine straight in Los Angeles, getting swept in a three-game series in late August and were shut out twice in the 2018 NL Division Series. Going back to the 2013 NLDS, the Braves have dropped 19 of their last 22 in LA.

The Dodgers were an MLB-best 58-23 at home, ending the regular season on a franchise-record 15-game winning streak at Chavez Ravine. But as a wild-card team, they don’t have home-field advantage in the NL playoffs despite 107 wins.

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The series resumes Tuesday with Game 3 at Dodger Stadium. Charlie Morton (0-1, 3.86 ERA in the postseason) starts for Atlanta. Walker Buehler (0-1, 3.38), a 16-game winner in the regular season, takes the mound for the Dodgers.

Atlanta's Charlie Morton will try and lead the Braves to a 3-0 series advantage Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Atlanta's Charlie Morton will try and lead the Braves to a 3-0 series advantage Tuesday in Los Angeles.Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

“If the baseball sayings are right, you’re only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher,” All-Star pitcher Max Scherzer said, “and so we got Walk going on the mound and we definitely believe we can win with him. Our mindset is just win the next game.”

Buehler will start on two extra days’ rest after opening Game 4 of the NLDS on short rest a week ago. The Cy Young Award contender has proven to be reliable in big games, with a 2.50 ERA in 13 postseason starts.

The Dodgers have been down before against Atlanta. Playing last postseason at a neutral site in Texas, they overcame a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS and went on to win the first Dodgers’ World Series championship since 1988.

Game 4 is Wednesday and a possible Game 5 the following day, cutting out any rest for the bullpen and seemingly making it harder for the Dodgers to use their starters in relief, as they did in the first two games. Scherzer, who admitted arm fatigue in relief on Sunday, has thrown 296 pitches over 16⅔ innings the last 12 days.

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The Dodgers are 1 for 18 with runners in scoring position and they had six runs and 14 hits in the first two games, but both still came down to the bottom of the ninth.

“I think in this in that particular instance it’s an approach thing,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s an approach thing and I think that certain times in scoring position we’re expanding too much.”

Giants eager to stick with cornerstone catcher Buster Posey

The Giants plan to exercise Buster Posey’s $22 million club option for the 2022 season as long as the veteran catcher wants to keep playing after a stellar year.

Posey, whose contract includes a $3 million buyout, helped lead the Giants to a franchise-record 107 wins and their first NL West title since 2012 by playing regularly down the stretch this year, as he demonstrated his health and durability during his 12th major league season. The 34-year-old Posey opted out of the coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign to care for prematurely born adopted twin girls.

It looks like Buster Posey will be sticking around San Francisco.
It looks like Buster Posey will be sticking around San Francisco.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty

“He is in our estimation the best catcher in baseball this year,” Farhan Zaidi, Giants president of baseball operations, said Monday. “... Obviously want to have conversations with Buster and continue to have internal conversations about that, but having him on this team next year is a high priority.”

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Posey caught five of the final six regular-season games and 10 of the last 13 as San Francisco clinched the division on the final day. He batted .304 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs, showing his surgically repaired right hip had finally regained full strength three years post-op.

Zaidi also stressed the importance of first baseman Brandon Belt, who fractured his left thumb Sept. 26 at Colorado after being hit on the hand with a pitch while squaring to bunt. The 33-year-old who had a career-high 29 homers was missed in the series loss to the Dodgers, and a one-year qualifying offer to him might be considered as Belt wraps up a $72.8 million, five-year contract that took him from 2017 to 2021.

New Cubs GM ready to rebuild

Carter Hawkins was part of Cleveland’s front office when the Indians lost to the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 World Series. He vividly remembers being on the team bus for the trip to the airport after Game 5, hearing a chorus of ‘Go Cubs Go’ over and over. Now he wants to sing along.

The 37-year-old Hawkins was formally introduced as the Cubs’ new general manager, stepping into a position that had been open since Jed Hoyer was promoted to president of baseball operations almost a year ago.

“As we started talking on the phone during this process and then as we moved to formal interviews, it became clear to me how he built such a sterling reputation,” Hoyer said of Hawkins. “He spoke with clarity and conviction about leadership, employee development, organizational alignment and team building.

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“The breadth of our conversation was really remarkable and really showed his preparation for all aspects of the GM job today.”

Hawkins comes to Chicago after 14 seasons with Cleveland, including the last five as an assistant general manager. He also supervised the team’s player development department. He played college baseball at Vanderbilt and started working for Cleveland in 2008 as an advance scouting intern. As he worked his way up with the Indians, general manager Mike Chernoff said Hawkins had a “huge impact” on their player development process.

New Cubs GM Carter Hawkins speaks after being introduced Monday outside Wrigley Field.
New Cubs GM Carter Hawkins speaks after being introduced Monday outside Wrigley Field.Brian Cassella/Associated Press

“That’s probably his greatest strength, is just the interpersonal relationships that he builds, the way that he can connect with a lot of different people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets and really bring people together,” Chernoff said.

Chicago went 71-91 this season, the club’s worst record since it went 66-96 in 2013. It had a string of six consecutive winning seasons before faltering this year.