The Braves dominated the Reds and are moving on to the NLDS.
The Cincinnati Reds finally made it back to the postseason for the first time since 2013. All the initial excitement was wiped out Thursday after another shutout loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are now back in the NLDS for the third straight season. The pitching against the Reds was lights out and leaves the Cincinnati front office with plenty of questions after the two bad losses. Some clear winners and losers stand out after the series-ending game.
Winner: Ian Anderson’s confidence
Ian Anderson is only 22-years-old and made his MLB debut at the end of August. The top prospect got the call in Game 2 and responded with six shutout innings. He had nine strikeouts as well and only allowed two hits. This is huge for both Anderson and the Braves moving forward. The young pitcher was already rolling in the regular season with a 1.95 ERA. But this was his first test under pressure and he looked like he belonged.
Loser: Reds’ chances of keeping Trevor Bauer
Trevor Bauer had an amazing Game 1 performance. The problem was his offense going cold at the worst possible time. The ace went 7.2 innings of shutout baseball and had 12 strikeouts. All he got was a no-decision in his best outing of the year. Bauer is now a free agent and has made it clear in the past he prefers one-year deals on teams that will pay him well and also have a shot to win a World Series. Seeing the Reds offense turn into ghosts may have Bauer leaning toward joining a better team in 2021.
Winner: Atlanta’s shot at postseason redemption
The Braves won yet another NL East crown in 2020. However, the team is looking to make it to the NLCS for the first time since 2001. Atlanta has fallen in either the NLDS or NL Wild Card Game a total of nine times since then and gets another shot at redemption in 2020. The talent is there, led by Freddie Freeman. Yet at some point, the team needs to compete for a World Series if the organization is going to keep spending.
Loser: Joey Votto’s value
Joey Votto is 37 years old and will earn $25 million each of the next four seasons. 2020 saw him slash .226/.354/.446 in the regular season and go 0-4 with two strikeouts in this Game 2 defeat. The former slugger’s high in home runs since 2018 was the mark of 15 he hit in 2019. He is clearly on a downward trajectory and puts the team in a similar situation to what the Detroit Tigers have with Miguel Cabrera.
Votto is getting paid so much the Reds will just have to hope he turns it around and plays like his old self.