Dodgers Dugout: This is why the Braves are favored over the Dodgers

Mookie Betts
(Ryan Sun / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell. Maybe the Dodgers should save some of these wins for October?

The Dodgers have a gigantic lead in the NL West, which means most of the games remaining lack a sense of urgency. That is not the case this weekend though.

Starting tonight, the Dodgers play four games against the Atlanta Braves, who have the best record in baseball. If the Dodgers want to have home-field advantage throughout the postseason, they are going to need to surpass Atlanta. Let’s take a look at the best record in baseball:

Atlanta, 86-45
Dodgers, 82-49, 4 GB
Baltimore, 83-50, 4 GB
Tampa Bay, 81-52, 6 GB

All other teams are more than 10 games behind the Braves. The team with the best record gets home-field advantage throughout the postseason, including the World Series.


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Now, before we go any further, let me warn you that this will be a stat-heavy newsletter, and I know some of you hate that. But, baseball is built on stats, and we need to look at them occasionally. But if you hate stats, skip to the next item.

For those of you still with me, let’s take a look at how the Dodgers and Braves match up, through Tuesday’s games:

Runs per game
Atlanta, 5.82 (1st in the majors)
Dodgers, 5.65 (2nd)

Batting average
Atlanta, .276 (1st)
Dodgers, .256 (10th)

On-base percentage
Atlanta, .345 (1st)
Dodgers, .341 (2nd)

Slugging percentage
Atlanta, .500 (1st)
Dodgers, .460 (2nd)

Dodgers, 535 (2nd)
Atlanta, 445 (12th)

Dodgers, 1,100 (19th most)
Atlanta, 1,056 (25th)

Dodgers, 256 (3rd)
Atlanta, 231 (13th)

Atlanta, 18 (T15th)
Dodgers, 15 (T18th)

Home runs
Atlanta, 247 (1st)
Dodgers, 206 (2nd)

Stolen bases
Atlanta, 110 (8th)
Dodgers, 82 (20th)

Batting with runners in scoring position
Dodgers, .279 (5th)
Atlanta, .270 (8th)

Batting with two outs and runners in scoring position
Dodgers, .256 (6th)
Atlanta, .226 (21st)


Atlanta, 3.80 (3rd)
Dodgers, 4.17 (16th)

Rotation ERA
Atlanta, 4.06 (7th)
Dodgers, 4.47 (17th)

Bullpen ERA
Atlanta, 3.40 (2nd)
Dodgers, 3.79 (10th)

Hits per 9 IP
Atlanta, 8.13 (8th)
Dodgers, 8.15 (9th)

Walks per 9 IP
Dodgers, 2.91 (5th)
Atlanta, 3.21 (15th)

Homers per 9 IP
Atlanta, 1.05 (1st)
Dodgers, 1.19 (13th)

Atlanta, 41 (5th)
Dodgers, 38 (T11th)

Blown saves
Atlanta, 20 (16th most)
Dodgers, 14 (27th)

Percentage of inherited runners who scored
Dodgers, 27.8% (4th best)
Atlanta, 31.4% (12th)

Days in first place
Atlanta, 152
Dodgers, 101

Longest winning streak
Dodgers, 11
Atlanta, 9

Longest losing streak
Dodgers, 4
Atlanta, 4

Atlanta, 15
Dodgers, 12

Times shut out
Dodgers, 4
Atlanta, 2

Comeback wins
Dodgers, 35
Atlanta, 34

Walk-off wins
Dodgers, 5
Atlanta, 5

Walk-off losses
Dodgers, 5
Atlanta, 4

Before All-Star game
Atlanta, 60-29
Dodgers, 51-38

After All-Star game
Dodgers, 31-11
Atlanta, 26-16

Extra-innings games
Atlanta, 4-2
Dodgers, 4-4

One-run games
Atlanta, 19-15
Dodgers, 14-12

Blowout record
(win or lose by five or more)
Atlanta, 30-8
Dodgers, 36-16

Dodgers, 25-15
Atlanta, 26-20

It’s easy to see why Atlanta has the best record in baseball. The Dodgers’ numbers, especially their pitching, were dragged down by a mediocre first couple of months.

Don’t put too much stock in the results of the next four games (well, unless some team dominates and sweeps with wins by big margins). For example, we’ll probably see Austin Barnes start a game, and he probably won’t start a postseason game. The Dodgers are without J.D. Martinez, instead playing Michael Busch, which likely won’t happen in the postseason. And Atlanta will do things it wouldn’t normally do in the postseason. So, if the Dodgers lose three of four, don’t walk around thinking they have no chance in the postseason. Just take these games for what they are: interesting, fun games that give a bit of insight into October.

The postseason

Just a reminder on the format. We will focus on the NL, but the AL format is the same. The three division winners qualify for the postseason along with three non-division winners with the best record. They are seeded from 1-6, with the division winners getting the first three seeds even if a wild-card team has a better record. If the postseason stated today, these would be your top six teams:

1. Atlanta
2. Dodgers
3. Milwaukee
4. Philadelphia
5. Chicago
6. San Francisco

The Braves and Dodgers would get a first-round bye. In the best-of-three first round, the No. 3 seed plays No. 6 and No. 4 plays No. 5. The higher seed hosts all three games. So:


No. 6 San Francisco at No. 3 Milwaukee
No. 5 Chicago at No. 4 Philadelphia

The winners of those series advance to the next round, which is best-of-five, in a 2-2-1 format. The No. 3 vs. No. 6 winner plays the No. 2 seed, the No. 4 vs. No. 5 winner plays the No. 1 seed.

The winners of those series would play each other in the best-of-seven NLCS.

Home-field advantage tiebreakers if teams have the same record:

1. Head-to-head record
2. Best record within own division
3. Best record against other divisions in league
4. Best record in league games in second half of season

The current wild-card standings:

Philadelphia, 74-59
Chicago, 71-62
San Francisco, 69-64

Arizona, 69-65, 0.5 GB
Cincinnati, 69-66, 1 GB
Miami, 66-67, 3 GB
San Diego, 62-72, 7.5 GB
Washington, 62-72, 7.5 GB

25 greatest Dodgers

The 25 greatest Dodgers, No. 22: MOOKIE BETTS (3,901 points)
2018 rank: not ranked

10 things you might not know about Mookie Betts:

1. Born Oct. 7, 1992 in Smyrna, Tenn.

2. Named league MVP in high school ... in basketball.

3. Named Tennessee boys’ bowler of the year in 2010.

4. Drafted out of high school by Boston as a second baseman in 2011.

5. Was selected in the fifth round.

6. Moved to the outfield in 2014 after Boston signed second baseman Dustin Pedroia to an eight-year deal.

7. Has the most three-homer games in Red Sox history. Ted Williams is second.

8. One of only four Boston players to hit 100 homers before turning 26. The others: Williams, Tony Conigliaro and Jim Rice.

9. His name is Markus Lynn Betts, because his parents wanted his initials to be MLB.

10. Nicknamed Mookie because dad was a fan of NBA player Mookie Blaylock.

There may be some recency bias here, as I’m not sure Betts has done enough yet to merit a top-25 ranking. However, with the way he has played since coming to the Dodgers, he easily could be a top-10 Dodger when his career is over. No matter where you rank him, he’s a great player.


No. 23 Dazzy Vance

No. 24: Kirk Gibson


No. 25: Eric Gagne

Kershaw ties Drysdale

With the win Tuesday night, Clayton Kershaw tied Don Drysdale for second in Dodgers history with 209 wins. A look:

1. Don Sutton, 233
2. Kershaw, 209
2. Drysdale, 209
4. Dazzy Vance, 190
5. Brickyard Kennedy, 177
6. Sandy Koufax, 165
7. Burleigh Grimes, 158
8. Claude Osteen, 147
9. Fernando Valenzuela, 141
10. Johnny Podres, 136

Up next

Thursday: Atlanta (Spencer Strider, 15-4, 3.46 ERA) at Dodgers (Lance Lynn, 10-9, 5.56 ERA), 7:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Friday: Atlanta (*Max Fried, 5-1, 2.85 ERA) at Dodgers (*Julio Urías, 11-7, 4.41 ERA), 7:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Saturday: Atlanta (Bryce Elder, 11-4, 3.50 ERA) at Dodgers (TBD), 6:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020

Sunday: Atlanta (Charlie Morton, 14-10, 3.29 ERA) at Dodgers (Bobby Miller, 8-3, 4.00 ERA), 1:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020


In case you missed it

His Lahaina restaurant was a Dodgers paradise. He lost it but says ‘I feel blessed’


Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman chases the all-time doubles records of obscure names

And finally

Ross Porter remembers Jerry Doggett. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.