The Los Angeles Dodgers’ bats showed up on Thursday night and they beat the Atlanta Braves 11-2 in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
Now, the teams will play the two remaining games (one if the Braves win Game 6) in Atlanta, at Truist Park.
While Taylor was the star of the night for Los Angeles, the bullpen also helped carry the load.
In fact, the bullpen game approach worked to perfection for the 2020 champs, while the Braves, who trusted a proven starter in his prime, had nothing to show for it.
It’s also part of the randomness of postseason baseball, but it’s certainly not all luck.
Recovering From An Inauspicious Start
His night ended with two runs conceded in 0.2 innings, and it was later revealed that he will miss the rest of the season with a biceps strain.
Dave Roberts said Joe Kelly has a biceps strain and his season is likely over.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) October 22, 2021
Far from waving the while flag after a 2-0 disadvantage, the Dodgers kept sending their best relievers to the mound with the hope of limiting the Braves offense to get back into the game.
And they did just that.
By the bottom of the third inning, the Dodgers were already up 4-2, and they wouldn’t look back.
AJ Pollock hit two homers and Taylor had three, but the relievers were brilliant.
After Kelly couldn’t complete the first inning, Evan Phillips cleaned up the mess and added another clean frame, with three strikeouts in total.
Alex Vesia, who has been huge for the Dodgers all season, handled the third inning with no issues other than a single hit.
Brusdar Graterol hurled two extremely valuable scoreless frames, in which he fanned two Braves.
The nasty Blake Treinen also handled two innings, allowing no runs and just one hit.
In total, after Kelly’s appearance, the Dodgers’ relievers shutout the Braves for 8.1 innings, which is extremely impressive.
— Dodgers Tailgate (@DodgersTailgate) October 22, 2021
A Good, Deep Unit
The Dodgers are one of the few teams in baseball that can consistently employ bullpen games even at the highest level because they have a very deep unit of solid hurlers.
Thursday’s game was a perfect example of how good bullpens can take over games and give teams a competitive edge.
And the Dodgers still didn’t use all the arms during Game 5.
In any case, they knew that, with the rest day on Friday, the overtaxed bullpen would be fresh for the weekend push in Atlanta.
The Braves are still up 3-2 in the series, but the bullpen advantage appears to go to the Dodgers.
Whereas Los Angeles’ relievers conceded only two runs during the whole game, every pitcher used by the Braves on Thursday surrendered at least a run.
It’s something to keep an eye on.