Dodgers’ Wood Will Fare Better Vs. Former Braves Team Thursday

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 5:53 PM UTC

Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 5:53 PM UTC

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves close out a three-game series at SunTrust Park on Thursday night (7:35 ET) in what will be the final game of the season between the two.

MLB Season Record: 27-19

Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves (+218, 9)

It’s the finale of a three-game set in Atlanta on Thursday night (7:35 ET) and the last meeting of the season between the Dodgers and Braves.

The Dodgers were the big winners of Monday’s trade deadline in landing starting pitcher Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers as well as lefty relievers Tony Watson (Pirates) and Tony Cingrani (Reds). If Clayton Kershaw gets back 100 percent healthy next month from his back injury, this team appears to have no flaws. L.A. is the clear +200 World Series betting favorite at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Darvish, incidentally, will make his Dodgers debut on Friday at the Mets. The MLB record of 116 wins, set by the 2001 Seattle Mariners and 1906 Chicago Cubs – neither of which won the World Series – is very much in play for L.A., which had a nine-game winning streak end Wednesday. 

Atlanta hung around the wild-card race for a while but is now fading in a big way and already looking toward 2018, when this could be a pretty good team with one of the best farm systems in baseball. Arguably the jewel of that system, infielder Ozzie Albies, was called up Tuesday to make his big-league debut. Albies, just 20, hit .285 with nine home runs and 21 stolen bases in 97 games at Triple-A Gwinnett this season. He was 0-for-2 with a walk and run scored Tuesday while playing second base. Manager Brian Snitker says Albies will play every day, which squeezes out veteran Brandon Phillips, who could be a waiver trade candidate.

In addition, the Braves have ended the experiment of playing Freddie Freeman at third base as he returned to first Tuesday and will stay at his usual position. Danny Santana started Tuesday at third, while Matt Adams, who had been playing first, moved to left field but left after five innings due to dizziness.  Snitker did mention Phillips as an option at third base, but not every day.


Thursday’s Probable Pitchers

Around the 2015 trade deadline, the Braves sent lefty pitcher Alex Wood to the Dodgers in a three-team deal that included 13 players and also the Marlins. To make a long story short, the Dodgers have won that trade. Wood is a Cy Young candidate at 12-1 with a 2.38 ERA this season. He would rank third in the NL in ERA if he had enough innings to qualify (currently 98.1).

However, Wood might be regressing to the mean of late. From April 26-July 15, he allowed more than three earned runs just once. On July 21 against these Braves, Wood was blasted for nine runs and nine hits over 4.2 innings in a 12-3 loss. Wood allowed a career high in runs and a season high in hits while throwing a season-most 100 pitches. He hadn't lost at home since Sept. 22, 2015. Manager Dave Roberts speculated Wood was simply too fired up against his former club. Last time out, Wood beat the Giants but still wasn’t completely sharp in surrendering four runs and eight hits over seven.

Another big piece of Atlanta’s future is lefty Sean Newcomb, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Angels. Newcomb (1-5, 4.50) took a no-decision at the Dodgers on July 23, giving up three runs (all on a homer by Austin Barnes) over six innings. Last time out, he also took a ND at the Phillies (5 IP, 1 ER). Newcomb is striking out 9 batters per nine innings, which is good, but walking 4.69 per nine, which isn’t.

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