After falling behind 3-1 in the best of seven National League championship series, the Los Angeles Dodgers won Games 5 and 6 to force the series to a Game 7 win-win Sunday against the Braves of Atlanta.
Here’s how the USA TODAY Sports baseball team sees Game 7 going:
Bob nightengale: Dodgers 6-5 – It will be the Mookie Betts Show, this time not only on the pitch, but on the set, which further infuriates Red Sox fans for trading him.
Gabe Lacques: Braves 6-5 – A seventh game in seven days has both pitching teams stretched. So we’re going with the best arm left standing – Ian Anderson, the imperturbable and dominant Braves rookie, who holds the Dodgers’ offense at bay long enough for the Atlanta relievers to survive a late Dodgers uprising.
Scott Boeck: Braves, 6-4 – The Braves’ offense erupts early behind the bats of NL MVP candidate Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna. Ian Anderson, who held the Dodgers scoreless for four innings in Game 2, does it again. The bullpen withstands a late threat from the Dodgers and the Braves return to the World Series for the first time since 1999.
Jesse yomtov: Dodgers, 5-1 – Ian Anderson hasn’t given up a run in 15 ⅔ innings this playoffs, but the Dodgers shatter his scoreless streak early in the game and see him through to complete the series return. Corey Seager wins NLCS MVP.
Steve gardner: Dodgers 7-6 – The Dodgers will find a way to crank up rookie Ian Anderson’s pitching count – with left-handed hitters Corey Seager, Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger doing the damage early. Tony Gonsolin excluded the Braves for the first three innings of Game 2, but got into trouble afterward. If he can give them three goalless in Game 7, they’ll gladly take him. However, the Braves hitters will end up munching on the Dodgers pen to make things interesting. Again, it will be a question of whether or not Kenley Jansen can close things off at the end of the ninth.