The 2020 Major League Baseball postseason rolls on with a five-game schedule on Thursday in the best-of-three Wild Card Series. Heading into the playoffs, it was possible to have eight games for a second-straight day, but the Rays, Yankees and Astros needed just two games to extinguish their foes and advance to the divisional round. There are four NL Game 2s on Thursday along with the deciding Game 3 in Oakland.
Below are the results from Thursday and key takeaways from the day.
Wild Card Series schedule/scores
First things first, yes, we have to give the Braves’ pitchers credit. In a two-game series against the Reds, basically the entire Braves pitching staff dominated. Sure, the Reds got 11 hits in Game 1, but it was 10 singles and one double. They also scored zero times in 13 innings while striking out 16 times. Max Fried and the relief corps deserve credit. In Game 2, we have to credit rookie Ian Anderson being nails in his postseason debut, striking out nine in his six innings of scoreless work. He allowed only two hits, both singles.
Let’s also credit Marcell Ozuna for his two-run shot in the eighth to give the Braves some breathing room …
… and then Adam Duvall for putting it out of reach.
There, we’ve gotten all the credit for the Braves in their sweep out of the way.
Now, onto the Reds. The 22-inning scoreless streak in the playoffs is a Major League record to begin a postseason. The Reds offense was 8 for 73 (.110) in the two-game series. Their five walks and one hit batsman run them up to a .177 on-base percentage. The slugging was .181. It’s only a two-game sample, obviously, and if this was simply the first two games of the regular season we could just call it a slow start. Instead, the Reds came in having won 11 of their last 14 and got stellar pitching for 20 innings before the bottom of the eighth on Thursday. And they are headed home for the winter having been swept in two games.
Back on the Braves’ end, though, let’s conclude on a positive note. The Braves have finally advanced a playoff round. Not since 2001 have they done so. Since then, there had been eight NLDS losses (four of them in five games) along with one loss in a wild-card game.
A’s snap elimination game skid
The Oakland Athletics rallied in Wednesday’s win-or-go-home game to defeat the Chicago White Sox, 6-4, to advance to the AL Division Series. With the win in the best-of-three Wild Card Series, Oakland snapped its MLB record streak of nine consecutive losses in winner-take-all games. This was the A’s first since elimination game win since Game 7 of the 1973 World Series.
It’s also the first time Oakland advanced past the first round of the postseason since 2006. The No. 2 seed A’s will face the division rival and No. 6 seed Houston Astros in the ALDS. The A’s dominated the Astros in the regular season, finishing 7-3 with the AL West title.
After the White Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third, the A’s answered with four runs in the fourth inning. Chicago tied the game back up in the fifth inning, but Chad Pinder…