1. Ian Anderson
The Dodgers must hit Ian Anderson in the NLCS.
The biggest edge the Dodgers have in this series is facing a very inexperienced Braves starting rotation, which consists of Max Fried, Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright. Fried is an NL Cy Young candidate, so you can’t ask LA to cream him when they likely face him twice, but the lineup will absolutely have to take care of rookie Ian Anderson.
The right-hander has been a revelation for the Braves in 2020 and has yet to give up a run after two postseason starts against the Reds and Marlins (11.2 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 17 K). His regular season? A 1.95 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in his first six career starts. Mind blowing.
Anderson, the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, has burst onto the scene and quite literally saved the Braves. Where would this team be without this kind of backing behind Fried, especially with Cole Hamels only appearing in one game?
The Dodgers have the upper hand with Buehler and Clayton Kershaw going up against Fried and Anderson. LA needs to win the battles where they clearly possess the advantage, and this is one of them. A veteran, high-powered offense against a young, inexperienced (though very filthy) starter?
This isn’t Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. If LA’s pitchers can keep Atlanta’s lineup at bay, the offense has no excuse but to knock these young arms out of the game.