ATLANTA -- The Dodgers are in Atlanta looking to sweep the National League Division Series after Friday's 3-0 win over the Braves, who have not scored during either of the first two games of this best-of-five set.
When the series shifts to SunTrust Park tonight, the Braves will be challenged by confident rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, who may now be the Dodgers' best starting pitcher. But it will be hard for Buehler to top the starts made by Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw, who had little trouble against an Atlanta lineup that had much success against southpaws during the regular season.
:: NLDS schedule and results ::
Braves manager Brian Snitker made a switch Saturday, deciding to start left-hander Sean Newcomb instead of Kevin Gausman. Newcomb will make his first career postseason start after throwing two scoreless relief innings in Game 1. The lefty was one strike shy of no-hitting the Dodgers on July 29 in Atlanta.
Snitker confirmed he will tweak his batting order by placing Ender Inciarte in the two-hole and moving Johan Camargo down to the fifth spot. Inciarte's speed could provide more run-producing opportunities for Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis.
Dodgers: Although the Braves are starting a left-hander, manager Dave Roberts said he would tweak his typical right-handed-hitting platoon because of the potential of a short start for Newcomb (who pitched relief in Game 1) and the likelihood of seeing right-handers Julio Teheran and Gausman out of the bullpen.
1. Chris Taylor, LF
2. Justin Turner, 3B
3. David Freese, 1B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Matt Kemp, RF
6. Cody Bellinger, CF
7. Enrique Hernandez, 2B
8. Yasmani Grandal, C
9. Walker Buehler, P
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Braves: Snitker is shaking things up, both because of the right-hander on the mound and because his team is in need of a spark.
1. Ronald Acuna Jr., LF
2. Ender Inciarte, CF
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Johan Camargo, 3B
6. Kurt Suzuki, C
7. Ozzie Albies, 2B
8. Charlie Culberson, SS
9. Sean Newcomb, P
• Braves miss chance for 'release' as 1st fizzles
Who are the starting pitchers?
Dodgers: Buehler (8-5, 2.62 ERA) pitched 6 2/3 brilliant innings in the tiebreaker game against the Rockies on Monday. Down the stretch, the rookie right-hander has been the Dodgers' best pitcher. Buehler posted a 2.03 ERA during the second half, coming through with his best performances when they've meant the most. It's unlikely the 24-year-old will be fazed by his first playoff start.
"Obviously this will be my first playoff game," Buehler said. "But [Game] 163 has got to be somewhere between a regular game and a playoff game. I'm just going with the same game plan and try and stay under control."
Braves: Newcomb (12-9, 3.90 ERA) bumps Gausman in a late switch. Newcomb nearly no-hit the Dodgers in July and tossed two scoreless innings of relief in Game 1.
"You know, the situation is kind of dire right now," Snitker said. "I told [Newcomb] that we need you to get this thing off the ground. You don't need to take a no-hitter into the ninth inning with a strike left or whatever. We just want to get this thing flying and be all hands on deck."
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Dodgers:Kenley Jansen worked a crisp ninth on Friday night for his first save of the postseason. Scott Alexander and Kenta Maeda have yet to pitch. They're both expected to fill critical late-inning roles as well.
Braves: With Saturday's off-day, the Braves should have their full assortment of relievers available tonight. Max Fried, Chad Sobotka and Touki Toussaint have each made their postseason debuts within this series. The experience could prove beneficial if any of these rookies needs to pitch in a high-leverage situation. Also, Gausman will be in the bullpen.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Dodgers: Los Angeles got eight innings from starter Kershaw on Friday, after getting seven from Ryu on Thursday. Throw in an off-day on Saturday, and everyone is going to be fresh.
Braves: Fried has appeared in both of the first two games. But his appearance in Game 2 consisted of the one pitch he threw to induce a Muncy groundout. So with the off-day, he should be fine. Mike Foltynewicz will not be used, because he would start Game 4 if the Braves extend the series.
Any injuries of note?
Braves:Dansby Swanson's absence because of a torn ligament in his left hand has forced Culberson to play short and consequently weakened what is a very thin bench. The top two pinch-hit options are the left-handed-hitting Lucas Duda and whichever of the two right-handed-hitting primary catchers -- Tyler Flowers or Suzuki -- is not in the lineup. Lane Adams got a sixth-inning pinch-hit appearance on Friday. Adams was added to the expanded roster in September to primarily be a pinch-runner. He's now drawing at-bats that were envisioned for Adam Duvall before he struggled mightily over the season's final two months.
Who is hot and who is not?
Dodgers: Taylor will probably replace Joc Pederson leading off and playing left field. Taylor's two-out, two-strike single in the ninth inning broke up Newcomb's no-hitter on July 29. He did not bat in either of the first two games of this series. Since joining the Dodgers, Freese is 13-for-28 (.464) with a 1.331 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Although Grandal homered in Game 2, if Austin Barnes starts any game in this series it will be this one against the left-hander.
Braves: Acuna had two of the three hits the Braves totaled in Game 2. Freeman has gone hitless in the seven at-bats that have followed his first-inning single in Game 1. But he might get back on track against Buehler's high-octane four-seamer, which averaged 96.2 mph during the regular season.
Against pitches clocked at 95+ mph, Freeman hit .351 (26-for-74) and produced a .514 slugging percentage. Camargo hit .310 (9-for-29) and slugged .552 against such pitches.
Anything else fans might want to know?
Before the Braves changed starting pitchers, the Dodgers scheduled a simulated game this afternoon at SunTrust Park.