The 2020 season is over for the Atlanta Braves after an excruciating 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the NLCS. It certainly was not the result anyone was hoping for especially after going up 3-1 in the series after Game 4. Here are three quick thoughts from Game 7 and an improbable and strange 2020 season.
Ian Anderson showed he belonged despite short outing in Game 7
Ian Anderson wasn’t sharp and was only able to give the Braves three innings while allowing five hits, two walks and two runs. Those runs snapped his scoreless inning streak in the postseason in his third start. While it was not the result he was hoping for, it was not bad for a guy that did not make his major league debut until August. Anderson’s arrival helped solidify what was a shaky rotation from the outset for the Braves and no one could have expected him to have the impact that he did down the stretch. That Atlanta had to turn to a rookie starter in Game 7 is as good a symbol for the shape of their rotation throughout the 2020 season.
Second guessing in Game 7
Game 7 overall was a pretty clean game but there was one particular move by Brian Snitker that could have been second guessed. Chris Martin needed 30 pitches to get through his lone inning in Game 6 and the Braves called on him again with two outs in the sixth inning with the game tied. Martin retired Justin Turner and then came back out for the seventh. The inning started well enough with back-to-back strikeouts to Max Muncy and Will Smith. Martin got the count to 2-2 against Cody Bellinger but was unable to put him away. Bellinger fouled away three straight pitches before clobbering a 94 mph sinker that Martin left up and on the inner half for the go ahead home run. Will Smith was warming in the bullpen but Snitker elected to stick with Martin who arguably was the team’s best reliever all season. Smith’s struggles in the NLCS no doubt factored into the decision.
If you are looking for something to blame then look no further than Atlanta’s offense which mustered just three hits in Game 7. A base running mistake in the fourth will haunt this team for the remainder of the offseason. Still, they simply didn’t do enough at the plate over the final three games to earn a win.
A bittersweet season comes to an end
On one hand you can look at the 2020 season and feel fortunate that there was a season and that it was completed. This 60-game jaunt was like nothing we have seen before and had to be a grueling experience for everyone. When you sit down and count how many different things the Braves had to overcome it is pretty amazing that they were in this position at all.
Still, that they were in position and needed just one win, with three chances to grab it mind you, that will make it so painful and hard to forget.