The Atlanta Braves clinched a ticket to the NLDS after shutting out the Cincinnati Reds in two straight games. Game 1 featured a record-breaking scoreless 11 innings until the Braves got one across for the 1-0 victory in the bottom of the 13th inning. Game 2 saw another day of dead bats for the Reds as the Braves manufactured five runs, four of them in the bottom of the eighth, to complete the sweep.
A leading candidate for the NL Cy Young title, Trevor Bauer struck out 12 through 7.2 scoreless innings against the Braves. Atlanta came in with one of MLB’s best offensive teams this season. Bauer became the first pitcher in postseason history to have a scoreless start with his 12 Ks and zero walks. His slider was untouchable in Game 1, contributing to five of his strikeouts.
It was a pitching duel as Atlanta’s Max Fried stepped up his game on the mound, pitching out of jams and not allowing the Red’s offense to get on the board. Every player that went up to the plate struck out at least twice from the starting-nine lineups.
It was not until a Nick Markakis single in the bottom of the 13th, that led to Christian Pache replacing him at first, to represent the winning run. Pache advanced to scoring position on an Austin Riley single, and was 90 feet away from home plate after Ronald Acuaña Jr.’s fielder’s choice. A pitching change was made as the Reds brought in the lefty, Amir Garrett, to face the hungry-hitting Freddie Freeman. Freeman clutched up a single to center field for the walk-off win.
The Braves won a postseason series for the first time since the 2001 NL Division Series against the Astros. Atlanta’s right-hander, Ian Anderson, made his postseason debut throwing six innings of scoreless baseball with 9 Ks, 2 walks and allowing only 2 hits. Acuña Jr. drove in one run on a double in the bottom of the fifth, after what was looking like another low-scoring match-up. He recorded three hits on the day.
In the bottom of the eighth, Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall exploded with two-run homers off Red’s CP Raisel Iglesias, who had not allowed a home run since July 25. These insurance runs solidifed the Red’s fate in the unique Wild Card Series.
The Braves will be facing the winner of the Marlins vs. Cubs game for the NLDS, scheduled for Tuesday at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
I am a part of the writing and marketing team at The Bullpen. I am excited to be a part of a team that is just as passionate about the game of baseball as I am. Currently, I am a senior studying broadcast journalism at Biola University. Growing up as an athlete, I am thrilled to have continued my career competing in softball in college at the NCAA DII level. Seeing the positive impact that sports has made in my own life, I desire to share the stories of other athletes. I have experience doing this as a freelance sports writer for my university's newspaper, The Chimes. I am also an experienced reporter with demonstrated history working in the broadcast media industry. Having served as the anchor and executive producer for my university's television news station and as a production assistant intern with LA Channel 36, I have developed skills in growing my on-air presence and behind-the-scenes work. I plan on continuing my career as a local news reporter or sports broadcaster.