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MLB playoff schedule, scores: Braves end drought, eliminate punchless Reds; A’s trying to snap skid

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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

Braves finally advance; Reds scoreless again

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 …

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… and then Adam Duvall for putting it out of reach. 

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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. 

Can the A’s win an elimination game?

The biggest storyline of the day surely comes from Oakland. Not only is this the only game where both teams have a chance to be eliminated, but there’s the whole Billy Beane-in-an-elimination game factor. No, Beane doesn’t play and he’s had so many different players over the years, it’s more a coincidence than anything else. The thing is, many people love a good narrative. During Beane’s tenure as the head of the A’s front office, his ballclubs have lost six Game 5s in the ALDS round. They won the 2006 ALDS in a sweep before being swept in the ALCS. They’ve also lost three Wild Card Games. That means they are 0-9 in winner-take-all playoff games under Beane. Thursday is a winner-take-all playoff game under Beane.  

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Padres look to bounce back

The Padres were one of the best stories in baseball all year and, frankly, beyond that they were simply one of the best teams. They went 37-23, good for the best winning percentage in franchise history. Only their sixth playoff berth, it’s their first since 2006. They came out and were roughed up early in Game 1 against the Cardinals, veterans to the playoffs. Can they shake out any nerves in front of Game 2 or will it be a far-too-early October exit for the home team? 

The biggest mismatch by far on paper heading into the playoffs was the 43-17 Dodgers hosting the 29-31 Brewers, especially with the Brewers missing their best starting pitcher and reliever due to injury. After a 3-0 lead through two innings in Game 1, the Dodgers probably had to sweat more than they wanted to, but a win is a win and they can take care of business behind a resurgent Clayton Kershaw (6-2, 2.16 ERA) in Game 2 with a quick sweep of the sub-.500 Brewers. 

Marlins-Cubs postponed due to weather

Game 2 of the best-of-three series between the Marlins and Cubs has been postponed to Friday. Full story here


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