Late Sunday evening, the Atlanta Braves 2020 postseason run ended in 4-3 fashion in Game 7 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers were Major League Baseball’s best team in 2020. They had the best regular season record, they scored the most runs in MLB, & had the lowest ERA in MLB. Their payroll dwarfs that of the Atlanta Braves, eclipsing the $100 million mark.
The Dodgers employed the reigning National League MVP, the 2018 American League MVP, a 3-time Cy Young winner, a 2-time National League Reliever of the Year, & the 2018 American League batting champion.
The Braves employed 3 starting position players under the age of 23, started 3 rookies on the mound in the postseason, had to conduct “bullpen games” every 3-4 games, and was without: Mike Soroka (Rotation Ace), Cole Hamels, Felix Hernandez, Mike Foltynewicz, Adam Duvall (starting left fielder), & Sean Newcomb.
The Braves did in fact have a 2 games to 0 lead & then a 3 games to 1 lead. A lot of fans will surely classify that as a choke, but there was no choke in the National League Championship Series. In fact, it was a national warning to MLB of what’s to come.
Baserunning mistakes cost the Braves in two of the seven games. The first was Marcell Ozuna leaving third base early without properly tagging up on a fly ball caught in right field by Mookie Betts in a 2-0 game, ending the inning & also the scoring for the Braves. The second big baserunning blunder occurred in Game 7 when Austin Riley tried to take third base during a lackluster attempt by Dansby Swanson to escape a rundown, which is where I think manager Brian Snitker’s biggest error in the series also happened. He had challenges to use but chose not to use one to review the tag put on Austin Riley as he slid into third. On the slow motion replay Riley looked to have avoided the tag, at least enough to warrant a review, but no such review took place. That blunder also ended Atlanta’s offensive momentum. Later in the 7th inning, reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger sent a Chris Martin fastball into the stands beyond right field for the go-ahead run, which ended up being the series winner.
The Dodgers will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series.