Zylbert: Will the Braves’ Bats Wake Up in Game 3?

Zylbert: Will the Braves’ Bats Wake Up in Game 3? article feature image

Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Atlanta Braves third baseman Johan Camargo (17) looks on against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game two of the 2018 NLDS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium.

Betting odds: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves (NLDS Game 3) 

  • First Pitch: 8:07 p.m. ET (TBS)
  • Probable Pitchers: Walker Buehler (8-5, 2.62 ERA) vs. Sean Newcomb (12-9, 3.90 ERA)

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record
Regular Season: 102-73-4, +21.35 units
Postseason: 3-2, +0.50 units
Yesterday’s Result: Indians-Astros Under 7.5, Carrasco vs. Cole (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

In Sunday night’s NLDS Game 3, the Braves will be trying to avoid getting swept out of the playoffs at the hands of the Dodgers. Is switching starters, from Kevin Gausman to Sean Newcomb for Game 3, going to be enough to get the job done?

It remains to be seen if they can stay alive but in general, I like this decision from potential National League Manager of the Year candidate Brian Snitker.

One, the Dodgers have beaten Atlanta pretty handily in the first two games of this series while facing two right-handed starters in each bout. Thus, it makes sense to throw a different look at them, which the southpaw Newcomb provides.

That can make a difference, as the Dodgers have typically fared better opposite right-handers in the past few years. This season, their lineup churned out a .255/.337/.458 slash line against righties, a far better result than the .240/.324/.409 mark they’ve logged versus left-handed pitching.

Newcomb has the ability to hold down the Dodgers, something he already did very significantly in 2018. In his lone start against LA at home this season in late July, the former first-round draft pick came within one out of a no-hitter, ultimately settling on 8.2 terrific innings of one-run ball, giving up only one hit and striking out eight.

Though Newcomb’s numbers in the second half pale in comparison to his performance prior to the All-Star break, I think he can still be trusted in this spot.

Meanwhile, we certainly should be able to trust the other starter in this Game 3 matchup, Walker Buehler, who has been simply awesome in his first full year in the majors.

Unlike his counterpart tonight, the 24-year-old looked stronger as the season wore on. While his 3.45 ERA and 1.08 WHIP from the season’s first half were certainly really good, Buehler was actually even better following the Midsummer Classic. In 13 starts, Buehler posted an outstanding 2.03 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, while holding opposing batting orders to a microscopic .165 batting average.

That includes his most recent outing — his first taste of postseason baseball — when he stifled the rival Rockies in six-plus shutout innings of one-hit baseball to win the Dodgers the NL West.

Perhaps above all, let’s remember the Braves have been dreadful at the plate thus far in October. In fact, they still haven’t even scored in this series after being kept off the scoreboard by Hyun-jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw.

It goes without being said that Buehler won’t be any easier to deal with, especially while they’ll be pressing for offense.

Play: UNDER 8 (-115)