When thinking of the gold standard of MLB teams, the Dodgers and the Braves lead the league.
The competition is not even close as both teams hold a wider gap than the divisional leads the Dodgers and Braves currently hold.
The list of accomplishments for the Dodgers and the Braves is too big for one trophy room. Both teams have won the World Series in the last 3 years.
The Dodgers have won the National League West since 2012, except for the 2021 anomaly season, where they came in second with 106 wins.
The Braves have won the National League East since 2018 and have surpassed any pre-season expectations set on their divisional rivals, the New York Mets.
The Dodgers and the Braves will face each other in LA this coming Labor Day weekend in a four-game series that is filled with numerous storylines.
Here are two storylines to follow coming into the series between the season’s top two home run-hitting teams.
Ronald Acuna Jr.’s 2023 season is on track to be one of the most prolific seasons in MLB history. Acuna is one home run shy of becoming the first player in MLB history to have a 30-home run, 60 stolen bases season. According to Baseball References, he is hitting .335 with a slugging percentage of .570 and a WAR of 6.5.
Acuna was a lock-in for MVP until Mookie Betts turned his game on after July.
Since the summer turned to meaningful baseball, Betts has put up numbers that have overtaken Acuna as the lock-in favorite for the MVP race.
According to Baseball References, Betts owns a 7.4 WAR, a .314 batting average, and an OPS of 1.020. He broke his personal home run record by hitting his 36th home run during the Dodgers game against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.
With Betts and Acuna facing each other over the weekend, the series between the Dodgers and the Braves will surely be a spectacle. Hopefully, these two put up a show that can make up for the lack of programming Hollywood has produced because of the ongoing strikes.
Best National League Record
The last time the two teams faced each other, the Dodgers took two games out of three from the Braves in Atlanta. Regardless of the last series, the Braves hold the best record in the National League, giving Atlanta home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Braves hold a .666 winning percentage at home, slightly better than the .646 winning percentage it holds playing away from Truist Park.
In comparison, the Dodgers hold a .681 winning percentage while playing at the Ravine and a .569 winning percentage playing away.
Players feed off the crowd, as shown by Trea Turner’s offensive turnaround since getting a standing ovation from the fans in Philly. Since getting an ovation, Turner has improved his OPS by 100 points in 26 days—home-field advantage matters.
During the 4-game series in LA, the Dodgers can get closer to overtaking the Braves as the best team in the National League. Or, the Braves can widen its gap for the best record in the league. Home-field advantage is important for any playoff series. This series can be an early indicator of who might win the National League Championship Series.
With the number of implications that can be decided during the 4-game series, Dodgers Stadium will surely be vibing off the storylines.
It will set the tone of what MLB can expect in the last month of its regular season.