The Atlanta Braves made sure history did not repeat itself Saturday night as they defeated the defending World Series champion, Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 for the National League pennant. These two teams faced each other last year in the NLCS, where the Braves blew a 3-1 lead.
However, the Braves did not show signs of doing that this season as they dominated Los Angeles in all phases for their first NL pennant since 1999. Atlanta will now get ready to play the Houston Astros in the World Series. Below we’ll take a look back at how the Braves go to this point starting from the regular season.
Regular season recap
The Atlanta Braves entered the regular season with the best odds to win the NL East +120 and were listed at +500 to win the National League. The Braves started off the season rough losing their first four games, which all came against division opponents.
However, they would start to pick up some steam, thanks to the play of outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who positioned himself as a candidate to win the NL MVP. Acuna hit .341 with eight home runs and 18 RBI in April and May and then hit eight home runs again the next month.
By time we got closer to the All-Star break, the star outfielder had 24 home runs and was hitting .283 at the plate. But Acuna’s season would sadly come to an end as he suffered a season-ending knee injury in early July. Losing the two-time All-Star was a major blow to the Braves’ offense. However, Atlanta made quality moves at the deadline in the outfield, which helped propel them to a division title. The Braves won the NL East for the fourth straight year by 6.5 games over the Philadelphia Phillies, who finished in second place.
After winning the NL East, the Braves’ first playoff test would be the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS. The Braves lost Game 1 in a pitchers duel with Charlie Morton on the mound, but they would bounce back winning the next three games to move on to the NLCS. Max Fried and Ian Anderson, along with Austin Riley and Joc Pederson played major roles in that series.
After defeating the Brew Crew in four games, the Braves took on the Dodgers in the NLCS, a rematch from last postseason. The Braves took the first two games of the series in Atlanta, both in walkoff fashion. However, Atlanta lost Game 3 in Los Angeles at Dodgers Stadium, thanks to a game-tying three-run home run from Cody Bellinger.
But the Braves would win two out of the last three games in NLCS to capture their first pennant in two decades. Eddie Rosario, who was one of the four outfielders that Atlanta acquired in July, was named the MVP of the NLCS. Rosario hit .560 with three home runs and nine RBI in 25 at-bats.