MLB - US Sports: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta Braves Preview
With both LA Dodgers and Atlanta Braves in decent form coming into this three-game series, this should be a cracker of a match-up at Truist Park, Atlanta.
The Dodgers (4.20) have slipped behind the New York Yankees (5.50) as favourites for the 2022 World Series championship, but they have improved their record in recent weeks following a slight blip at the start of June.
The Braves, following a poor start, are one of the in-form teams in the National League, if not all of Major League Baseball.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves, Game 1 of 3
Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
00.20 BST Saturday 25th June, 2022
|How to watch|
MLB.TV, Sports Live Streaming
|Odds||LA Dodgers 1.76, ATL Braves 2.10|
The current World Series holders are desperate to retain their crown, while 2020 winners the Dodgers are wanting to claim it back, but all of this though is masked by Dodgers' first baseman Freddie Freeman's return to Atlanta.
Dodgers locked in Padres battle
The Dodgers are in a real battle with the San Diego Padres to regain their National League West title, having lost it for the first time in nine seasons to their rivals, the San Francisco Giants.
Los Angeles gained a one game advantage over the Padres by sweeping the Cincinnati Reds in three games during the week, scoring 26 runs and conceding 11.
Snitker talk sparks Braves revival
Atlanta started poorly this season, but a team meeting turned their fortunes into a real rally to cut the New York Mets' lead at the top of the National League East Division to four games. There were as many as 10.5 games advantage for the Mets on the 1st June.
Team Manager Brian Snitker called a team meeting after the Braves dropped the first two games of a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of May and, following the behind-closed doors session, the Braves won 14 straight games and are on the charge to claim their fifth successive NL East crown.
Freeman felt sad when it was clear that the Braves no longer wanted him. He met with club representatives at his home in California, hoping to strike a deal to remain a Brave forever, following the World Series win his side had accomplished months before.
Freeman wanted a six-year contract, but didn't see it as a deal-breaker. The Braves didn't want to go that far, however, Freeman's agents had put a deadline on the deal, the Braves passed on it and Freeman was no longer going to be an Atlanta Brave.
Two days later, Atlanta traded for Matt Olson and Freeman was confirmed as being on the move.
Later of course, the 32-year-old moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a six-year, $132million deal and Freeman's return will be emotional and he shouldn’t expect to be booed, after all, he wanted to stay.
Related MLB News
Swansby on Song
Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson was getting a little frustrated with his game on Wednesday evening as he went hitless and committed a defensive error in six innings against the San Francisco Giants.
Swanson then spoke to assistant hitting coach Bobby Magallanes for confidence, and that is exactly what he got. Swanson then hit a ninth-inning home run in a 4-3 win, followed by a decisive two homers on Thursday afternoon in 7-6 victory.
Snitker spoke to the official Braves website following the game and said: "I keep saying, (Swanson) is the strongest mental player I think I've ever been around. He's into the game with every pitch. All that kid wants to do is win."
Head to Head
The Dodgers have won six out of the past 10 match-ups between the two sides, including two at Dodger Stadium earlier this season.
Julio Urias (4-6), who takes the mound for LA on Friday evening was the winning pitcher when the Dodgers last won at Truist Park, just over a year ago.
Ian Anderson will be the Braves' pitcher for the game, he has gone 6-3 this season with a 4.35 ERA.He has 59 strikeouts over the course of just over 70 innings pitched.
The Braves defeated the Dodgers in last season's National League Division Series and Los Angeles wants revenge.
Despite missing the injured Mookie Betts, it's credit to Dave Roberts' team that they are still battling for the NL East title and a play-off spot, especially with the injuries that have hit not only their outfielders, but their pitching depth as well.
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