Found October 07, 2013 on Fox Sports South:
ATLANTA The Atlanta Braves' positive momentum in the National League Division Series came to a screeching halt in Los Angeles following the franchise's most lopsided postseason loss in nine years. The Dodgers' offense stole the show in a rookie pitching matchup, winning 13-4, and now own the pivotal 2-1 series lead. All of a sudden, a Braves team that challenged for the league's No. 1 overall seed finds its back against the wall, needing a Game 4 win to bring the series back to Atlanta in order to keep their World Series hopes alive. Here are three observations from the lopsided loss: 1. The Braves are now officially in a must-win situation Following the team's timely Game 2 win, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez expressed that he approached that game with a must-win mindset. Well, now he has no choice, as for the seventh-consecutive postseason the Braves face elimination in their opening series. In the past six attempts, as has been covered non-stop with this team the premier "prove it in October" example in baseball they fell short. Over that span, they've faced eight win-or-go-home games, going 2-6 in those games. Those two wins, of course, came in Game 4s during the 2003 and 2004 playoffs. History is not on their side, but Gonzalez was grasping for the positives following the team's ugly loss at Dodgers Stadium. "It's one of those games where you forget about it," Gonzalez said. "I think if you look at the positive: In a nine-run game in the ninth inning they had to bring the closer in. And so you always think that's a good thing. We didn't roll over we'll build on that for tomorrow." They'll need to. The Dodgers have outplayed them through three games thus far, limiting mistakes and outscoring the Braves 22-9. The Dodgers still hold the ultimate trump card with Clayton Kershaw potentially waiting in a Game 5 situation and their offense Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig are each performing up to their potential at the best-possible time is clicking on all cylinders. Every single Dodgers position player reached base Sunday night. "It's a club where you can't make mistakes and you can't have baserunners, because they've got some guys in the middle of the lineup that can really, really hurt you," Gonzalez said. "I think that what's hurting us right now, you walk a guy, you make a fielding error, give 'em extra outs actually is what I'm trying to say, you get put in a tough position. And they'll put a big number up, which they did in those two you take those two innings away and it's a decent ballgame." On the flip side, the Braves offense is performing rather well, but it will need more from the likes of Brian McCann (0-for-9 with two walks in the series) or Elliot Johnson (0-for-10, one walk). Consider: While the highly-compensated Dodgers roster pays off, the three highest-paid Braves hitters are either hitless (McCann), absent (Dan Uggla) or detrimental (B.J. Upton). McCann, who is due to become a free agent at the end of the season and could be playing his final game in a Braves uniform on Monday, was adamant that the team is comfortable with Game 4 starter Freddy Garcia ensuring a fifth game. Garcia came to Atlanta in an August trade with Baltimore and has pitched well (1.65 ERA in 27 13 innings). The 15-year veteran has made 10 previous postseason starts with the Mariners, White Sox and Yankees, boasting a 3.28 ERA. "We've got a lot of faith in him," said McCann, who is 0-for-9 with two walks during the postseason. "Like you said, he's been there, he's done that. He's pitched in every situation you could possibly pitch in. We know what we have to do." 2. It was not a night made for rookie pitchers The Dodgers and Braves were two of the most rookie-reliant teams in baseball this season, featuring the likes of Ryu, Teheran, Yasiel Puig, Evan Gattis, Luis Avilan and Paco Rodriguez. One way or another, first-year MLB players were going to have a substantial effect on the outcome of this NLDS, and on Sunday night the negatives were on display from both teams' young pitchers. The Braves jumped all over Ryu the 27-year-old Korean product who catcher A.J. Ellis called the Clayton Kershaw of Korean baseball in the first inning, grabbing an early 2-0 lead before handing the ball to 22-year-old standout Teheran. After a rocky but scoreless first frame, the Dodgers eventually hung six runs in the second and third innings and chasing Teheran from the game quicker than any other team this season. The Braves' replacement for Teheran was another 22-year-old standout, Wood, who promptly allowed four more runs in the fourth inning. By the time the offensive melee slowed to a halt as the bullpen's finally found a rhythm, the Dodgers held a sizable lead they would never relinquish. Video: Upton: 'We've got to win a ballgame' For Ryu, Wood and Teheran three rookies that combined to win 31 games with a 3.10 ERA and a 7.1 WAR this season totaled just eight innings allowing 14 runs on 17 hits. That's a 15.75 ERA, for those counting at home. It's certainly not the type of performance either manager expected entering the night. "I think (Teheran) just left some balls out over the plate and made some mistakes," Gonzalez said. "And with this (Dogders) club, when you do that, you're gonna look down at the gas tank with a lighted match." Added Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on his starting pitcher: "It seemed like he had trouble getting settled in, and tonight was just one of those nights usually with him, there's more swing and miss and there was really no swing and miss tonight. He just didn't seem to have that same finish and be able to locate. It just seemed he that was a little out of sorts tonight." Following the trend, Avilan entered in the eighth inning to allow two more runs (officially charged to Jordan Walden) while Rodriguez continued his struggles against Jason Heyward by allowing a two-run homer in garbage time. Final rookie tally: 9 13 innings pitched, 21 hits allowed, 16 earned runs. Just an ugly night all around for the young arms. It's a one-game sample size and not every rookie pitcher can come out like Madison Bumgarner in 2010, but it's clear that after compiling stellar rookie campaigns, Ryu, Teheran, Wood, Avilan and Rodriguez were expected to perform a little better in October. As Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell said during the game about Teheran, "It's going to be a great learning point for him going forward." Both coaching staffs will probably apply that philosophy to all five young players. 3. Hanley Ramirez tops the charts If the Braves can somehow post back-to-back wins to make it out of this NLDS, they'll have to overcome not only baseball's premier pitcher (Kershaw) but also the most dynamic hitter of the postseason. Plenty of stock was put into the health concerns of Detroit's Miguel Cabrera the reigning AL MVP coming off a ridiculous 2013 regular season despite battling nagging injures coming into the postseason, but it's Ramirez's good bill of health that turned the Dodgers season around and has sparked the team's 2-1 series lead. (Not to mention that the Dodgers shortstop nearly single-handedly beat the Braves in Game 2.) With a banged-up Cabrera merely playing well, as opposed to extraordinaryotherwordly, it's clear by now that that distinction should be passed to Ramirez, who is in a league all by himself through his first three postseason games. "He's in one of those zones," Braves outfielder Justin Upton said. "You can't make a mistake, every time you make a mistake he hits it." Overall, Ramirez is hitting .538.5711.231 with seven RBI and a Dodgers record-tying six extra-base hits. This coming off a season where, in an 86-game sample, he matched Cabrera widely recognized as the game's best hitter stride for stride, finishing with 20 home runs and a .442 weighted on-base average for a 5.1 WAR. When the entire Dodgers lineup is hitting well, they're good enough to overcome the absence of Matt Kemp. When Hanley Ramirez is providing top-of-the-line production in the No. 3 hole, Los Angeles looks like a bona fide World Series contender. The Braves are guaranteed just one more opportunity to shut him down, which they've been unable to do thus far. "He's locked in. He's covering both sides of the plate," McCann said. "I've played against him for a long, long time now and, you know, when he's hot he's as good as it gets."

Did the Braves boycott Chipper Jones' first pitch ceremony?

There is little doubt that Chipper Jones is Hall of Fame bound and that he is one of the greatest players ever to wear an Atlanta Braves uniform. He retired after last season, and was teammates with many that are…Read more →

Not looking good for Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves ran away with the NL East at 96-66 during the regular season and finished one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in the National League and also a game behind the Redbirds and Boston Red Sox for best record in all of baseball, yet that means nothing at this point. Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran pauses on the mound after giving...

Braves exit early again, lose to Dodgers in NLDS

The Atlanta Braves came achingly close to forcing the National League division series back to Turner Field, where they had the best home record in the majors this season. Needing a win to avoid elimination, pinch-hitter Jose Constanza's RBI single gave the Braves a 3-2 lead and plenty of hope in the seventh inning. It didn't hold up, though, and they went on to lose 4-3...

Braves close to NLDS elimination after 13-6 loss

On the brink of elimination, manager Fredi Gonzalez found something for his Atlanta Braves to build on. The Los Angeles Dodgers led by nine runs in the ninth inning before bringing in closer Kenley Jansen to get the final out. ''You always think that's a good thing,'' Gonzalez said. ''We didn't roll over. We went out there and scored some runs.&...

Justin Upton with words of wisdom on the game of baseball

Justin Upton summed up baseball while consoling David Carpenter after the Game 4 loss in the 2013 NLDS. Reading his lips, I get: “That’s baseball … that’s ********* baseball.” Basically, yeah. And that’s what makes it so great.

Braves boycotted Chipper Jones’ ceremonial first pitch

There is little doubt that Chipper Jones is Hall of Fame bound and that he is one of the greatest players ever to wear an Atlanta Braves uniform. He retired after last season, and was teammates with many that are…Read more →

TBS is so obviously, totally biased against the Braves... and the Dodgers

One of the most routine claims you'll always hear from sports fans is how a certain announcer is biased against their favorite team.  This is usually laughable and speaks to the tribal paranoia that is so often what we most cherish about sports.  Living in Columbus, I can attest to the fact that 98% of Ohio State football fans believe the national media is against their team...

GIF: Juan Uribe buries Atlanta Braves with 2-run homer

Down 2-3 in the eighth inning, with a runner on second, and facing an 0-2 count, Uribe launched a moonshot home run off David Carpenter into left field.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.