Well, the playoffs were fun while they lasted. The Reds won there final five series, and 12 of the last 16 games, to finish the regular season 31-29 and earn a National League Wild Card spot in the expanded 2020 playoffs.
After completing 60 games as the second worst offense in Major League Baseball history with a .212 team batting average, the Reds lived up to their reputation in the post season. Cincinnati was shutout seven times in the regular season, tied for the most in the big leagues, and then were shutout in both Wild Card Series games by the Atlanta Braves.
The Reds lost 1-0 last afternoon in 13 innings before being sent home today with a 5-0 shut out to finish with nine scoreless games in just 62 tries.
Cincinnati managed just two hits today against Rookie Ian Anderson and the Braves bullpen.
The 22 scoreless innings to begin a playoff series are the most ever in Major League Baseball history. It was also the first time a team had ever been held scoreless in a playoff series.
The Atlanta Braves pushed across a run off of Luis Castillo in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to a two-out double by Ronald Acuna Jr. to take a 1-0 lead. That offense would be all they would need, but they did add to it in the 8th.
— MLB (@MLB) October 1, 2020
After allowing just one Home Run all season long, way back in the first game of the season, Raisel Iglesias gave up two-run Home Runs to Marcell Ozuna and former Red Adam Duvall in the bottom of the eighth as the Braves set the final score of 5-0.
The victory gave Atlanta a two games to zero Wild Card Series victory as they will advance to play the winner of the Chicago Cubs vs. Miami Marlins series in the NLDS. It was the Braves first playoff series victory after losing their last 10. After the loss, the Reds have fallen in six straight postseason games.
More Outstanding Starting Pitching
This by no means puts the blame on the bullpen because it is the offense that earns essentially all of the “blame” for this disappointing series, but the Reds starting pitching was absolutely dominate once again.
Luis Castillo completed 5 1/3 innings of work allowing just one run while striking out seven batters. This is just one day removed from Trevor Bauer’s absolute gem of a game yesterday that also didn’t come with a win.
Before Raisel Iglesias allowed four runs in the 8th inning of today’s game, the Reds pitching staff had given up just two runs in 20 innings against the best offense in all of baseball.
I’ll have more to say about the pitching staff, and the Reds as a whole, in the next couple of days when I can more coherently put together non-emotional thoughts, but suffice it to say the Reds brought it on the mound this series.
Historically Bad Offense Gets Worse
As I’ve already touched on, the 2020 Cincinnati Reds team batting average of .212 was the second worst in the history of Major League Baseball. The offense kept on setting unfortunate records this postseason.
Yesterday, the Reds collected the most hits (11) while being shutout in a postseason game. Today, their scoreless streak reached 22 consecutive innings which broke the previous mark of 20 shoutout innings to begin a postseason series.
Over the course of the two games against the Atlanta Braves the Reds offense left 17 runners on base and went 1-14 with runners in scoring position. That simply won’t get it done.
Tip of the Hat to the Atlanta Braves
Much will be made of the poor performance at the plate by the Cincinnati Reds offense. However, the Braves pitching staff deserves a ton of credit. 22 year old Rookie Ian Anderson pitched an absolute gem, giving up just two hits while striking out nine in six innings of shutout baseball.
Will Smith, Chris Martin, and Mark Melancon combined to throw three perfect innings to close out the game.
In yesterday’s 13 inning marathon, the Braves scattered 11 hits over the course of the game, but didn’t allow a run while striking out 16 batters. Max Fried through seven innings in his first postseason start before turning things over to one of the best bullpens in baseball. Martin, Smith, and Melancon took care of the first 3 1/3 innings, not allowing a hit once again.
The Reds would threaten a bit off the next handful of Braves relievers, but as a unit for the series the Atlanta Bullpen pitched 9 innings of scoreless baseball.