MLB Picks: Braves vs. Dodgers Game 4

David Lawrence

Monday, October 7, 2013 3:01 PM GMT

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 3:01 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Dodgers pounded the Atlanta Braves 13-6 on Sunday and are now one win away from advancing to the NLCS. They wrestled with the idea of when to start ace Clayton Kershaw and instead of holding out for a potential Game 5, they have decided to go for the jugular in Game 4 at home.

The Dodgers had tossed around the idea of bringing in Clayton Kershaw on short rest to start Game 4 but that was likely with the possibility of it being a must-win situation (had they lost Game 3). Now that they took back momentum on Sunday, they’ll put Ricky Nolasco on the hill and save Kershaw in case there is a potential Game 5.

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The Atlanta Braves can win because…

Freddy Garcia isn’t as bad as people think. Sure, he’s not a staff ace and even in his best times, bettors who make their sports picks have always thought of him as hit or miss. However, the numbers don’t lie. He has a 1.65 ERA in three starts with the Braves so far and he’s 6-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 10 career playoff starts. He also sports a 2.89 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers. Those numbers suggest that he’ll give his team a chance to win.

The Dodgers have shown some uncertainty in their decision-making regarding their Game 4 starter. First, they thought about using Kershaw on short rest, then they were expected to start Ricky Nolasco, and now they’ve opted for Kershaw. It doesn’t sound like they have complete confidence in their decision. Kershaw is making his first career start on three-day rest. While he was untouchable in Game 1, sending him out on short rest could impact his effectiveness. That might just be the opening the Braves need.

The Los Angeles Dodgers can win because…

They are going to tee off on Freddy Garcia. Really? This guy is starting a playoff game? The Braves will turn to the veteran pitcher one day after he turned 37 years old. He’ll try to slow down an offense that has scored 19 runs in three games. In fairness, he has produced three quality outings for the Braves since being acquired on August 23rd and has just a 1.65 ERA with them. Garcia…on the road…starting a must-win game…after the Dodgers have already pummeled Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran…this simply isn’t ideal.

People making their MLB picks know that Hanley Ramirez is cooking right now. He went three-for-four on Sunday and is now batting .538 with six RBI’s in this series. Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Juan Uribe and Carl Crawford are all batting .286 or better so far this series. They’ll be hard to stop.

Although Nolasco is on short rest, the reality is that this move will spark the team. It sends the message that they are being aggressive and going for the jugular tonight. They aren’t playing the “what-if” scenarios. Kershaw is their stud and they are going to ride him to victory tonight.
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Outlook & Pick

Let’s face it: had Don Mattingly not had a brain cramp in Game 2, this series would already be over. It’s not the ideal situation to send out Kershaw on short rest but him at 80% is still probably better than Ricky Nolasco at 100%. Nolasco was a train wreck in his final three starts of the season.

The Dodgers are being aggressive by making this move and they’ll be rewarded tonight as they finish the job and send the Braves packing.

Pick: Dodgers at Bookmaker
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