Jennifer Stewart/Getty ImagesRelief pitcher Brad Ziegler has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball after 11 seasons.The 39-year-old made his intentions known with a message on Twitter about his journey from the minors to the big leagues:Brad Ziegler BradZieglerThank you to all my family http://www.rockiesfanproshop.com/authentic-pat-valaika-jersey , friends, and fans. It鈥檚 time to move on... tsuTGHM9DhZiegler split the 2018 season with the Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks. He posted a 3.91 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 10 saves in 82 games.After being a 20th-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in June 2003, Ziegler was released by the team in spring training the following year. He joined the Oakland Athletics' farm system in 2004, spent four full seasons in the minors before making his MLB debut in 2008.During his professional career, Ziegler pitched for the A's, Diamondbacks, Marlins and Boston Red Sox. His unique submarine delivery that kept opposing hitters off balance helped the right-hander post a 2.75 ERA and 105 saves in 739 games. Rob Carr/Getty ImagesThe Los Angeles Dodgers advanced to the National League Championship Series for the third straight season after defeating the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Monday at SunTrust Park in the 2018 MLB playoffs.Rich Hill got the start for Los Angeles and allowed two runs in 4.1 innings of work.With the Braves leading 2-1 Daniel Castro Jersey , David Freese put the Dodgers ahead with a two-run single in the top of the sixth. An inning later, Manny Machado tacked three more runs on the board with a homer off Braves relieverChad Sobotka.Manny Machado the Key to Ending Dodgers' World Series DroughtMachado went 1-for-12 in the first three games of the NLDS.The four-time All-Star helped set the tone for Los Angeles with an RBI double in the first inning. Then came the three-run homer to provide the Dodgers with much-needed breathing room.MLB MLBOh my, Manny. 馃槼馃槺 GJV2sjneDMAs good as Justin Turner and Corey Seager played for the Dodgers over the past two years, they don't match up with Machado when he's performing at his peak. He brings a different dimension to Los Angeles' offense, which is why the teamgave up five prospectsfor a player who may only be a half-season rental.According to FanGraphs, the Dodgers ranked20thin weighted on-base average (.314) and14thin weighted runs created plus (97) in 2016. They climbed toseventh(.330) andtied for fourth(104) in those two categories in 2017 and continued improving in 2018. Los Angeles isthirdin wOBA (.333) andtied for firstin wRC+ (111).Machado doesn't deserve sole credit for the team's offensive success since he only appeared in 66 games during the regular season. But he helped take what was already a good lineup鈥攁nd one that had to replace Seager鈥攁nd raised it to a new level.If the Dodgers go on to win their first World Series since 1988, Machado will almost certainly be a big reason why.Overachieving Braves Have Bright Future in 2019Nothing can take the sting away from a playoff defeat ttp://www.rockiesfanproshop.com/authentic-tony-wolters-jersey , but Braves fans should be heartened by the fact that the best is yet to come for the franchise.Joe Sheehan joe_sheehanThe #Braves will be back here, and damned soon.Grant McAuley grantmcauleyThey provided the fan base with a spark after years of frustration. They had far more ups than downs and showed the rest of baseball that Atlanta is knocking on the door of greatness again. Heres to the 2018 #Braves. They earned their respect. Thank you for a great season, guys.Woody Cain WYcainDodgers have better roster than Braves this yr. 6-8 guys who have been there-done that. Snitker took bunch of kids amp;amp; few veterans sprinkled in amp;amp; won division when NOBODY thought they could-Fun to watch for 1st time in years. Plus, guy who built LA roster is now doing same in ATLSuccess is never guaranteed, something to which one of Atlanta's division rivals can attest. The Washington Nationals could have nothing more than four NLDS appearances from the Bryce Harper era.But the Braves are clearly a team on the rise and they might even be ahead of schedule by pushing the Dodgers to four games in the NLDS. Atlanta built a winning team in the short term while maintaining its massive potential for the future.The core of the Braves' roster will be back in 2019, with Jonny Venters, Nick Markakis Kyle Freeland Jersey , Kurt Suzuki, Brad Brach and Anibal Sanchez their most notable free agents. More importantly, fans have seenOzzie Albies and Ronald Acuna only scratch the surface of what they can do in the majors.Improving the starting rotation will be critical for Atlanta after its starters combined to finish 12th in FIP (3.99), perFanGraphs. Especially if they opt against re-signing Sanchez, the Braves will be looking to one of Kyle Wright orMike Soroka, who are 23 and 21 respectively, to take a bigger role on the pitching staff.With better starting pitching Chris Iannetta Jersey , the Braves won't need to push their bullpen so hard in the postseason, which was a problem in the NLDS.Playoff Experience Gives Dodgers Edge in NLCSThe Milwaukee Brewers tied afranchise recordby winning 96 games in the regular season.They have an offense anchored by MVP candidate Christian Yelich, who can almost single-handedly swing a postseason series.In the NLDS, Milwaukee pitchers not named Jeremy Jeffress held the Colorado Rockies scoreless and limited Rockies hitters to eight hits over 24.2 innings.The NLCS promises to be a close series in which the slimmest of margins will separate advancing to the World Series from a playoff exit.Because of that, one can't help but think the Dodgers' collective experience in October will put them over the top.Freese is a perfect example.He was the NLCS and World Series MVP in 2011 and a career .280 hitter in the playoffs entering Monday. The 35-year-old is great to bring off the bench in pinch-hit situations.Dan Buffa buffa82David Freese is worth signing just for what he can do in October. Dude is the epitome of clutch.Bob Nightengale BNightengaleDavid Freese loves this time of year, delivers once again with 2-run single, for #Dodgers. Mr. ClutchThen you include the veterans who have been around for all or some of the Dodgers' previous five playoff appearances. That's one of the benefits of being a big-market franchise that can consistently maintain one of MLB's highest payrolls.Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals http://www.rockiesfanproshop.com/authentic-ryan-mcmahon-jersey , and the Brewers will be calling upon those two to help navigate the franchise back to the Fall Classic.From top to bottom, though, the Dodgers are the stronger team and have been battled-tested together in the playoffs.Like the Braves, the Brewers might be headed for a year of heartbreak but have a good shot at making a World Series run over the next few seasons.What's Next?The Dodgers head to Miller Park for Game 1 of the NLCS against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday. The Brewers earned a series sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a 6-0 win Sunday.