The Atlanta Braves have jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series. The Braves defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 10-2, in Game 4 Thursday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington. Behind a stellar outing from rookie starter Bryse Wilson and a six-run sixth inning, the Braves took the series advantage.
The Dodgers blew the Braves out in Game 3 after being shut down in Game 1 and having a late rally fall short in Game 2. Now, their Game 4 loss puts their 2020 season on the line. It's win-or-go home for the Dodgers on Friday night. The Braves, meanwhile, are now one win away from their first NL pennant since 1999.
Game 4 of the NLCS on Thursday night also featured players dealing with extreme high winds throughout the game. Here's why Major League Baseball officials decided to keep Globe Life's retractable roof open during the windy conditions.
Now for some takeaways from NLCS Game 4.
Wilson gives the Braves a much-needed outing
The Braves sent out righty Bryse Wilson to the mound for Thursday's Game 4. With Atlanta's bullpen reeling from the Game 3 blowout, the club was in desperate need of Wilson to eat up some innings. Wilson did more than just eat up innings, he dominated a potent Dodgers lineup. In his start, the rookie threw six solid innings on 74 pitches with 50 of them called strikes. He only gave up one run on one hit (a solo homer from Edwin Rios) and struck out five. He walked one.
Wilson relied on his fastball, and with good reason. It's nasty:
He recorded a 31 percent called strike plus whiff (CSW) rate on his four-seamer.
The 22-year-old found himself as the odd man out to the Braves 1-2-3 punch of Max Fried, Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright in their playoff rotation to this point. But with this start -- his first career postseason start -- he certainly figures to be a factor if the Braves are to advance.
Ozuna goes off
Braves DH/OF Marcell Ozuna was huge during the regular season, as he led the NL in home runs and total bases and also put up a sky-scraping OPS+ of 175. He was similarly big in Game 4, as he went 4 for 5 with a double and two homers. With that effort Ozuna became the first Brave to have a multi-homer postseason since Hall of Famer Chipper Jones back in 2003. As well, Ozuna's 11 total bases in Game 4 is a franchise record for a playoff game. Ozuna in all had four batted balls that registered an exit velocity of 100 mph or greater. That's just the second time in the Statcast era -- i.e., from 2015 onward -- that a player has pulled that off in a postseason game.
Dodgers offense goes silent
What a difference a day makes, huh? After seeming like they were never going to stop scoring runs in their Game 3 victory, the Dodgers lineup managed just two runs on three hits in their Game 4 loss. For a Dodgers lineup that was consistently good during the regular season, they've been incredibly hot and cold in this year's NLCS. In their Game 4 loss, third baseman Justin Turner was the only Dodgers batter to get it going in the top of the lineup. Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Max Muncy and Joc Pederson all finished the game without earning a hit. They threatened in the top of the seventh inning, but ultimately came up short of closing the gap.
Kershaw picks up first career loss vs. Braves
It seems as if each time the Dodgers send out Clayton Kershaw to start a postseason game, the collective baseball world holds their breath. Kershaw's playoff history is inconsistent. In his delayed start (he was scratched in Game 2 due to back spasms), Kershaw looked relatively good. With the game tied 1-1 thanks to a pair of homers from Rios and Marcell Ozuna, things began to unravel in the sixth inning. Two runs were given up by Kershaw, and Brusdar Graterol, who came in to inherit two runners with no outs, gave up three more. By the time things wrapped up, the bottom of the sixth inning -- which lasted 35 minutes -- resulted in the Braves scoring six runs. In a quick summary, this just about sums it up:
Clayton Kershaw postseason agony checklist— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) October 16, 2020
✅ Offense gives him little help
✅ Manager leaves him in too long
✅ Bullpen allows inherited runner(s) to score
✅ Final line that looks bad
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts probably should have taken Kershaw out before he faced Marcell Ozuna (who hit an RBI double off Kershaw before adding another homer later in the game), and the Dodgers offense needed to give Kershaw more run support. Kershaw picked up his first career loss to the Braves; he had never lost to Atlanta in either the regular season or playoffs before.
Here's a stat Kershaw is now unfortunately associated with: he's given up three go-ahead hits in the sixth inning or later since the 2013 postseason. That ties him with Justin Verlander for the second-most ever over that span. Only closer Aroldis Chapman has given up more, with five go-ahead playoff hits credited to his name.
CBS Sports was with you throughout the entirety of Game 4, providing live updates and analysis throughout the game. You can relive the action below.