The Los Angeles Dodgers went through all the

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The Los Angeles Dodgers went through all the

PostAuthor: zhangzk » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:10 am

They broke out T-shirts and caps. They posed for pictures in the middle of SunTrust Park. They doused each other with beer in the clubhouse.Then Mark Trumbo Jersey , just like that, their focus turned to bigger goals ahead.For a power-packed team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1988, nothing less will do.“We all know that there’s a lot more work to be done,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after his team finished off the Atlanta Braves with a 6-2 victory Monday in the NL Division Series. “We have eight more wins to go.” Manny Machado hit a three-run homer and David Freese came through again in the postseason to lead the Dodgers into the NL Championship Series for the third year in a row. Los Angeles moved on to face the Brewers after taking out the Baby Braves 3-1 in the best-of-five series.Game 1 is Friday night in Milwaukee, the Dodgers’ fourth championship series in six seasons.“We prepared ourselves to get here,” Machado said, “and we’re not going to stop till we get what we want.”Of course, this is just what the Dodgers had in mind when they bolstered their already power-packed lineup by acquiring the slugging shortstop — and free agent-to-be — from lowly Baltimore back in July.Machado had only three hits in the series, but two of them were homers to go along with six RBIs. He got the Dodgers going in Game 4 with a run-scoring double in the first , and effectively wrapped up the series with his seventh-inning shot off rookie Chad Sobotka that cleared the Dodgers’ bullpen in left.“There are so many expectations put on him,” Roberts said. “We have a lot of good players, but I can’t say enough about his focus and preparedness.”Coming off a tense victory in Game 3, the Baby Braves grabbed the lead on pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki’s two-run single in the fourth.But Freese, the 2011 World Series MVP with St. Louis, countered with a pinch-hit single of his own in the sixth off Brad Brach , driving home Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig for a 3-2 lead.“You just gotta be ready,” Freese said. “Whether you’re in high school, college, whatever Chris Tillman Jersey , just be ready. You don’t have to be the best player in the world, you don’t have to make the most money, but you’re going to have a shot to do something cool. I learned that early in my career. I just try and stick with it.”Ryan Madson earned the win by getting the final two outs in the fifth to escape a bases-loaded jam. The Braves’ final gasp came in the eighth, when Lucas Duda’s drive into the second deck in right drifted foul with two on against Kenta Maeda. Duda flied out to end the inning, and Atlanta went down quietly in the ninth.The Braves’ return to the postseason for the first time since 2013 yielded a familiar result.Atlanta has lost nine straight playoff appearances, their last victory coming 17 long years ago against a team that is no longer in the National League. Since a sweep of Houston Astros in the 2001 NL Division Series, October has been a month of misery for the Braves.Getting back to the playoffs ahead of schedule after a massive rebuild, Atlanta simply didn’t have the experience, depth or power to stick with the power-packed Dodgers. Los Angeles had a franchise-record 235 homers during the regular season and eight more against the Braves, accounting for 14 of its 20 runs.Tinseltown has become Boomtown.“They’re a very powerful team,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s what they’ve done all year is hit home runs. We’re not built like that yet.”Los Angeles also benefited from some shaky Atlanta defense during its go-ahead inning. Puig kept the sixth going with a popup down the line off loser Jonny Venters that fell between second baseman Ozzie Albies and right fielder Nick Markakis .Puig stole second without drawing a throw and came home when backup shortstop Charlie Culberson failed to knock down Freese’s sharp grounder up the middle. A super sub during the regular season, Culberson had to start in the playoffs because of an injury to regular Dansby Swanson.“They played better baseball than we did,” Culberson said.WILD STARTERSRich Hill of the Dodgers walked five in 4 1/3 innings, including a pair leading off the fifth that set up Suzuki’s two-run single. Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz walked four (one intentional) in four innings before he was lifted.TOUGH OUTHill isn’t much of a hitter, but he sure made Foltynewicz work for an inning-ending strikeout in the fourth.After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Hill fouled out five straight pitches.Finally, Foltynewicz blew a 97 mph fastball by the .107 career hitter.FIRST PITCHThe Braves brought out another Hall of Famer to deliver the ceremonial first pitch.Former Atlanta manager Bobby Cox one-hopped his toss to the plate but still received a big ovation from the Atlanta crowd.Chipper Jones threw out the first pitch before Game 3.SMALLER CROWDThe announced crowd of 39,586 was nearly 3,000 smaller than the previous night’s record SunTrust Park turnout , perhaps because of a 4:30 p.m. start time that coincided with Atlanta’s notorious rush hour.UP NEXTThe Dodgers beat Milwaukee 4-3 in the season series. Both teams won division titles with one-game playoff victories the day after the regular season.Atlanta opens the 2019 season at Philadelphia on March 28. MESA, Ariz. (AP) — When he was 4 years old, Miguel Amaya remembers going to a baseball field for the first time. The Chicago Cubs prospect never thought what happened that day would lead to a career in the game.“The coach said I was fat and that the fat guy has to play catcher,” Amaya said Thursday on one of the back fields at the Cubs’ spring training complex. “Since that day, I loved catcher.”Amaya, who turns 20 on Saturday, signed with the Cubs in 2015 and has a bright future. He’s not fat anymore but an athletic 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and still growing.“I think he has certain intangibles that you look for behind the plate,” said Alex Suarez, the Cubs’ director of international pro scouting and player development. “He’s a great teammate and he’s taught himself English. He’s pushed himself to be able to communicate with the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking players.“When it’s all said and done, the tools behind the plate and at the plate have proven that he belongs in pro ball and he’s somebody who we should definitely keep our eyes on.”When Amaya, who is from La Villa de los Santos, Panama, reported to the Cubs’ academy in the Dominican Republic in 2016, he insisted the coaches speak English to him. He’s slowly making his way up, playing last season at Class A South Bend, where he batted .256 with 12 home runs and 52 RBIs in 116 games.What does he need to do to get to the big leagues?“I’ve been working more on my hitting,” Amaya said. “I’ve been catching since I was 4 years old and I don’t know everything about catching, but that’s my job. I know a lot about catching. Hitting is really hard. I’ve been working on that and learning a lot to hit the ball in the strike zone. I think I just need to play more games to get to the big leagues , to be mature.”He might be young, but Amaya knows how important his role is on any club.“The catcher is the brain of the team,” he said. “He’s the brain of the game. We’re the only player who is in front of everything. We’re always watching everything. We have to be heads up — we have to pass the signs to the whole team. If runners are taking a big lead, we have to throw to the bases. We have to do everything.”Suarez has seen that maturity in Amaya.“He’s the type of guy who has played beyond his years and showed the poise we’re looking for behind the plate,” Suarez said. “They have to be even-keeled and handle a staff, and having that type of poise to become that calming presence behind the plate is something that attracted us to Amaya right from the beginning.” lists 62 players from Panama who have made it to the major leagues, including new Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera.“I’ve never met him but watching him play in the big leagues, that’s a good role model for all Panamanians because we want to follow him,” Amaya said. “He’s going to be in the Hall of Fame. That’s a good thing for all Panamanian guys.”Suarez said “Panama seems to be an emerging secondary market on the international market and there’s a lot of good players coming out of there. It’s definitely being scouted a lot more than it has been.”Amaya is just trying to reach the majors.“There are like 1,000 players and only five or 10 will make it to the big leagues,” he said. “It’s hard. Our job is to keep working hard every day and do what we need to do.”One thing’s for sure, though: He’s not the fat kid on the field anymore.“No, I’m strong now,” Amaya said, laughing.

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