LOS ANGELES - The Braves are playing their first playoff game since 2013 this week as they take on the Dodgers in the National League Division Series. One member of this year's surprise team is hometown boy Charlie Culberson.
At this time last year, Culberson was with the Dodgers, but this season he’s with the Braves earning the title of Charlie Clutch.
It's a familiar feeling at Dodger Stadium for Culberson in particular. He played for L.A. last year, and he found himself in a very similar spot. Last year, their star shortstop was injured in the playoffs and Culberson ended up starting.
This year, Danby Swanson is injured, so in steps Charlie Culberson, ready for the spotlight
“Yeah, it's kind of crazy. I didn't realize that this was going to happen, but it's good,” said Culberson.
Culberson went from a utility guy with the Dodgers to, we thought, a utility man with the Braves, a backup, a reserve, still pretty cool for a guy whose Number 6 jersey is retired at Calhoun High School.
“I was excited to come back home, be able to do that and play for a hometown team,” said Culberson.
More like home state hero. Multiple walk-off home runs this year, he's played a ton for the braves. Not your normal backup, more statistical career highs than we care to count, and he'll start at shortstop in the Braves' first playoff game in five years.
“When you reflect on the season, it's always nice to know that you have done something to help the team out, and I feel like I have done that, but I have had, you know, guys and people around me helping me out too,” said Culberson.
“He's going to get a chance. He's going to get a chance to help us out here. He's been a rock all year, and he's been big for us. Like I said, we wouldn't be in the situation that we are in today if it wasn't for him as well,” Nick Markakis, Braves outfielder.
“But we aren't done yet. It was a good season, but you're not done until the season is over, and we are definitely not done,” said Culberson.
Culberson still actually holds a really special place for a lot of Dodgers fans here. Vin Scully, their legendary radio announcer, retired last year, and in his final game, Culberson hit a walk-off home run.