LOS ANGELES — There are two things the Dodgers can take away from their marquee meeting with the Atlanta Braves this weekend.
They don’t outclass Atlanta’s star-studded, MLB-leading squad, one that came into Dodger Stadium this weekend and won three of four games to cement their place atop the National League standings (and in pole position for the league’s top playoff seed).
But, the Dodgers are capable of beating their cross-country, World Series-contending foes nonetheless — especially when they pitch like they did on Sunday afternoon.
In a 3-1 sweep-avoiding win, the Dodgers finally did what they couldn’t the previous three nights, keeping the Braves’ offense in check behind a dominant outing from their starting pitcher.
It wasn’t Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías or even veteran Lance Lynn that cracked the code.
Instead, rookie right-hander Bobby Miller served up seven spectacular innings, giving up just one run in his longest career start to help the Dodgers salvage something from a series that could be repeated in the NLCS come October.
On the whole this weekend, the Dodgers’ pitching wasn’t terrible. While Lance Lynn (who gave up seven runs in a Thursday start) and Urías (five runs on Friday) both struggled, the bullpen had been strong, the Braves had strung together few big rallies and entering Sunday’s matinee, the Dodgers had given up just four earned runs in their previous 14 innings.
Yet, that hadn’t been enough in a weekend the Dodgers’ high-flying offense was brought back to earth by Atlanta’s talented pitching staff.
To beat the Braves, the Dodgers needed to outpitch them.
And with Miller on the mound, they did exactly that, riding his five-strikeout, three-hit gem to avoid what would have been their first home sweep in a four-game series in more than five years.