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NLCS Game 3 Preview: How The Dodgers Can Turn It Around

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - The Dodgers are in somewhat familiar territory heading into Game 3 of the NLCS today, down 0-2 to the Atlanta Braves, courtesy of back-to-back walk-off wins.

Just one year ago, the Dodgers found themselves in the exact same scenario - falling 0-2 in the NLCS to none other than the Atlanta Braves. They would go on to win Game 3 in grand fashion, 15-3, and things began to look up.

They fell again in Game 4, and down 3-1 the series appeared to be over... it wasn't.

The Dodgers went on to win three straight and eventually the 2020 World Series over the Tampa Bay Rays.

That team is one of just 14 in MLB history to come back from an 0-2 deficit to eventually win the series. As a franchise, they've also done it three other times: 1955, 1965 and 1981 - all resulting in World Series championships.

The Dodgers regain home field advantage on Tuesday after two games on the road. Walker Buehler earns the start, his third of the postseason. Buehler, an All-Star in 2021 and the ace of the Dodgers staff, is coming off his best season yet, with a record of 16-4 and a 2.47 ERA.

Thus far in the playoffs, Buehler has pitched 10.2 innings, striking out nine, walking just three and allowing four earned runs, to the tune of a 3.53 ERA. Buehler faced the Braves once this season, earning the victory, while allowing two runs over seven innings pitched with five strikeouts.

In 79 plate appearances against Buehler over their careers, the Braves lineup is hitting .270. They've managed 20 hits, while mustering just three home runs and five walks, striking out a total of 18 times. Thus far in the NLDS, 2020 National League MVP Freddie Freeman and common catalyst for the Braves offense, has gone 0-for-8, striking out seven times.

More good news came for the Dodgers in an early press conference this morning, when manager Dave Roberts announced that Justin Turner would return to the team's lineup after being reduced to a pinch-hitting role in Game 2, following a neck injury. Prior to that, he had started 77 straight playoff games for the Dodgers.

They will be facing off against Charlie Morton of the Braves. Morton finished the season 14-6 with a 3.34 ERA. He faced the Dodgers twice this season, and over 11 innings pitched he allowed five runs, striking out 13.

However, Dodgers fans should all remember the last time they faced Morton in October, when he managed just 4.1 innings in Game 3 of the World Series as a member of the Rays. He gave up five earned runs and allowed a solo homer to none other than... Justin Turner.

In his career against Morton, Turner is hitting .353 with six hits, one homer and one walk. Mookie Betts has also seen success against Morton, hitting .300 with nine hits, one homer and four walks.

A day off for travel provided the Dodgers with plenty of time to rest their lineup and bullpen, and manager Dave Roberts has already tabbed Julio Urias for the start in Game 4 on Wednesday - barring any sudden pitching changes like Game 5 of the NLDS.

Prior to game-time the Dodgers lineup (with playoff numbers) for Game 3 looks like this:

  1. Mookie Betts - RF (.387, 1 HR, 4 RBI)
  2. Corey Seager - SS (.219, 1 HR, 4 RBI)
  3. Trea Turner - 2B (.200, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
  4. Will Smith - C (.296, 3 HR, 4 RBI)
  5. Justin Turner - 3B (.107, 1 HR, 1 RBI)
  6. Gavin Lux - CF (.250, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
  7. Cody Bellinger - 1B (.286, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
  8. Chris Taylor - LF (.286, 1 HR, 6 RBI)
  9. Walker Buehler - P (0-1, 10 IP, 3.53 ERA, 9 K)

Game 3 is slated to get underway at 2:08PM on TBS.

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