The 2018 season was a bit of a rollercoaster for the Los Angeles, but it ended with a sixth straight National League West championship and another postseason appearance.
Despite it taking 163 games to clinch the division, the Dodgers will actually have home-field advantage for the National League Division Series as they welcome the champions of the NL East, the Atlanta Braves, to town beginning on Thursday evening.
The Braves were one of the biggest surprises of the league in 2018. Everyone knew they had a ton of young talent, but most also thought that they were still a year away from competing for a playoff spot.
They developed quicker than most young teams though, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is looking forward to playing them and certainly is not taking the Braves lightly, via Chad Thornburg of MLB.com:
“It’s going to be a good matchup; it’s going to be fun,” manager Dave Roberts said. “The Braves are a young club with a couple veterans. They’ve got some good arms starting for them. They’ve had a tremendous year, they won the East, so we’ve got to be ready to play our best baseball.”
Outside of Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis, the Braves consist on many young players, including the likely NL Rookie of the Year Award winner, Ronald Acuña Jr.
The Braves announced 2018 All-Star Mike Foltynewicz will be their Game 1 starter, taking on Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu. Much like many of his Braves teammates, Foltynewicz does not have any previous postseason experience.
Even though the Dodgers are the more experienced team, it is important for Roberts to emphasize not to take Atlanta lightly as they are as talented as any team in the league and should put up a good fight against the Dodgers.