Braves Sweep Marlins, Head Back to NLCS

Braves Marlins

Atlanta Braves 7, Miami Marlins 0

Following several pitching duels, the Atlanta Braves broke out the bats in a big way Thursday, taking down the Miami Marlins in Game Three of the NLDS. It was history in the making as the Braves found their way back to the NLCS for the first time in 19 years. Make no mistake, it was just as much of a pitching win as it was an offensive victory for the Braves. As first noted by Jayson Stark, the Braves became the first team in history to toss back-to-back shutouts twice in the same postseason. Defensively, they tied the 1983 Baltimore Orioles for second-fewest runs allowed through five postseason games. The team as a whole also handed the Marlins their first-ever postseason series loss.

Offensive Power

Through five games, the Braves have scored 24 total runs. There was no surprise about what Atlanta would bring to the table. They were an offense that thrived during regular-season action, leading MLB with a .832 team OPS. They also ranked second in home runs (103).

It may have taken a little bit for the Braves offense to take flight, as they stranded the bases loaded in the second inning. That came after five 100 mph pitches with the bases juiced to thwart a single Atlanta run. However, that would be the last of their offensive struggles for the afternoon as they went on to blast ten hits and force seven walks. It was an outing that was even more impressive given the fact that Marlins rookie phenom Sixto Sanchez started the game. Atlanta forced the potential Rookie of the Year candidate off the mound in his shortest outing of the season — just three innings pitched. They also touched up four hits and four earned runs against the flame thrower.

The Scoring Efforts

The first offensive strike for Atlanta came in the third inning as Marcell Ozuna knocked a first-pitch single to kick off the four-run inning for the Braves.

Travis d’Arnaud picked up his seventh RBI of the season to keep the scoring action going, plating two on a double to right field. Dansby Swanson capped off the third inning with a sacrifice fly for his first of two RBI for the contest.

As if a four-run lead with yet more strong pitching wasn’t enough, Atlanta picked up one more run in the fourth inning. After being relatively silent through the first few games, Freddie Freeman‘s bat got hot and his first of two hits on the day helped score Ronald Acuna for a 5-0 advantage.

That mark only grew just one inning later as Swanson wrapped up his two-RBI day with a single off of Miami’s Trevor Rogers. Adam Duvall then rounded out the Atlanta scoring efforts by capturing the first postseason double of his career, bringing Swanson back to home plate for the 7-0 lead.

Another Pitching Gem 

Back-to-back shutouts in the postseason are nothing short of impressive, but when it is done by a rather youthful staff, it’s even more so.

Atlanta had nearly everything going for them on the mound, and as noted by Grant McAuley, through six innings on Thursday, Atlanta starting pitchers made quite the impact. Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, and Max Fried combined for a 1.26 ERA, 20 hits allowed, four earned runs, and 33 strikeouts.

Throughout this postseason, it’s been nothing but solid pitching from the Braves who have four shutouts. That’s against a Cincinnati Reds team, and a Marlins team ranked eighth and 11th respectively in weighted runs created plus.

In Game Three against Miami, Atlanta pitching stranded eight runners on base and held the Marlins 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. That was even more impressive given the fact that Miami was eighth-best in baseball scoring with two outs (109 RBI). On Thursday, Atlanta allowed just four runners in scoring position with two outs.

For Wright, who started game three, he totaled seven strikeouts with just three hits and two walks allowed through his six innings of action.

What’s Next

While the Braves now hold a 5-4 postseason record against the Marlins, they will have to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. Atlanta holds a slim 5-4 advantage over Los Angeles in postseason play. They will take on the Dodgers beginning Monday, Oct. 12, at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

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