After a slight rain delay to begin the evening in Atlanta, the Dodgers were able to stay locked in and top the 6 runs put up by the Braves. Gavin Stone took the mound for Los Angeles in what was only his second start of the season. He would quickly allow the Braves to grab a 4-0 lead courtesy of a Sean Murphy single and an Eddie Rosario three-run home run. However, J.D Martinez, Max Muncy, David Peralta, and Freddie Freeman (a 3-run blast) would propel the Dodgers to a 6-4 lead and have them up 2 in the top of the fifth. Despite the 4 runs allowed by Stone in the first, he settled down nicely and only allowed one more run before being removed from the game after 4 IP. Mookie Betts would add on a run with a single and J.D. Martinez would blast his second home run of the game in the 7th to help Los Angeles put away the Braves 8-6 in game 1 of the three-game set.
Here are three takeaways from the bounce-back victory:
Freddie Freeman’s trip back to Atlanta starts with a boom
Atlanta Braves fans must deal with a whole lot of conflict any occasion when their long-time first baseman returns to Atlanta and suits up for the Dodgers in the road dugout. He continues to perform well against his old ball club, including a go-ahead 3 run homer that snuck by the foul pole in right field to put the Dodgers up 6-4. His impressive night (3-5, 2 runs) comes as the latest display of talent for Freeman, who boosted his average up to .328 on the season.
After the game it was all love between Freeman and the Atlanta faithful, who continue to appreciate his contributions throughout his 11-year tenure with the team. Freedman had this to say today following his standing ovation after the game:
Gavin Stone is forced to step up, has rocky start
It’s no secret that the Dodger’s pitching staff has been put through the ringer to start the season. Key arms on the IL include Julio Urías, Dustin May, and the dominant Walker Buehler, who is currently recovering from the second Tommy John surgery of his career. The injuries to the starting unit have not only forced extra stress upon the bullpen but have also caused minor-leaguers such as Gavin Stone to be called up and pitch on the big stage. Stone, in only his second start, showed his inexperience against one of the most electric lineups in baseball. The 5 walks and 5 runs allowed prove that his discipline and control aren’t quite at the major league level, but he did show a sense of poise by settling down after a 4-run first. Should he be called upon once again going forward, he’s going to need to dig deeper in order to give the dominant Los Angeles offense a chance to consistently string together series wins until their aces are back in business.
Dodger bullpen goes 5 impressive innings
While the Dodger offense was doing their thing, the bullpen came up with a nice bounce back performance. After Stone’s 5 earned runs allowed, the team was able to go the rest of the way and allow only 1 more run. Solid outings from Evan Phillips, Caleb Furguson, Yency Almonte, Phil Bickford, and Brusdar Graterol shut down any chance that the Braves had of getting back into the game in the later innings.
For a bullpen that has been pushed to their limits early on, this performance has to feel encouraging for Dodgers fans who have anxiety over their current lack of pitching health. They’ll try to keep the momentum rolling tomorrow and could potentially be called upon for a larger role again depending on the results of top prospect Bobby Miller’s first big league start. Miller has made quite a bit of noise at the minor league level, and fans are right to gear up for his highly anticipated debut. He will look to provide length against the Braves lineup as he faces off against 24-year-old Spencer Strider.
Strider possesses a very respectable 2.96 ERA along with a 4-1 record. The Dodgers will try their luck against him in the second game of three in the series. First pitch will be at 4:20 PST, barring a weather delay for the second consecutive evening.