The postseason quest for the Atlanta Braves will get underway Wednesday afternoon at Truist Park with Game 1 of the National League Wild Card round against the Cincinnati Reds. Atlanta captured a third straight NL East division title and secured the No. 2 seed in the National League with a 35-25 record. The Reds came into the season hoping to contend in the NL Central but struggled and were six games under .500 as late as September 13. They rebounded winning 11 of their last 14 games to secure the No. 7 seed finishing with a 31-29 record.
The Braves’ rotation struggles are well documented but they stabilized somewhat down the stretch. Their offense and bullpen carried them to another division title and they will be hoping that will carry into the postseason.
There were a number of question marks for Atlanta’s rotation in 2020 but Max Fried was not one of them. Fried put together a superb campaign posting a 2.25 ERA and a 3.10 FIP while producing 1.5 fWAR. If there is a concern for Fried then it is that he made just three starts in September and left the last one after just one inning due to a tweaked ankle. While his removal was largely precautionary, Fried completed a simulated game over the weekend and was pronounced healthy and ready to go.
The Reds will counter with right-hander Trevor Bauer who is the frontrunner for the Cy Young Award in the National League. Bauer put together a dominant season posting a 1.73 ERA and a 2.88 FIP over 11 starts. He increased his strikeout rate to a career-best 36% while lowering his walk rate to 6.1%. As the Reds heated up so did Bauer. He compiled a 1.29 ERA while striking out 46 batters in 35 innings through five September starts.
Bauer hasn’t faced an offense the caliber of Atlanta as the Braves finished second in the majors in runs scored and homers. Brian Snitker confirmed Tuesday that he expects to have his normal lineup available for Game 1.
First pitch is scheduled for 12:08 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, September 30, 12:08 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network