ATL sets scoreless IP record to open playoffs

October 1st, 2020

The Reds got outstanding performances from their pitchers this week, but unfortunately for Cincinnati, what the Braves' pitchers did in response was historic.

Braves pitchers held the Reds scoreless through all 22 innings of their National League Wild Card Series victory, meaning Cincinnati surpassed the 1921 Giants (20 innings) for the most consecutive scoreless innings to begin a postseason series. The Braves are also the first team to win a multigame postseason series (excluding the Wild Card Game) without surrendering a run. The Yankees previously held the low mark after allowing just one total run to the Rangers in back-to-back three-game sweeps of the 1998 and ’99 ALDS.

Both teams failed to score a run through the first 12 innings of Game 1 on Wednesday before Atlanta broke through for a walk-off run in the bottom of the 13th, then the Braves shut out the Reds, 5-0, in Game 2 on Thursday.

Those 1921 Giants rallied to win the World Series over Babe Ruth and the Yankees, despite being shut out by identical 3-0 scores by New York pitchers Carl Mays and Waite Hoyt. That Fall Classic went eight games, but the 2020 Reds did not have the same time luxury after they were eliminated in two games in the best-of-three set.

"Through [20] innings, they scored two runs and we scored zero. Runs were at a premium," first baseman Joey Votto said. "We most certainly did not score enough runs to be competitive over the series. It’s a short series, of course. We weren’t good enough offensively."

Braves starter Max Fried went toe to toe with Reds NL Cy Young Award candidate Trevor Bauer in Game 1, tossing seven shutout innings before seven more Atlanta pitchers combined to keep Cincinnati off the board for the last six innings. And while Reds starter Luis Castillo finished with 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball in Game 2, he was saddled with a loss thanks to Braves rookie Ian Anderson, who threw six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and only two hits and two walks allowed.

“This kid competes just like [Tom Glavine and Steve Avery] did,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Those guys were about as fierce of competitors as I’ve ever been around. This kid is the same way.”

Cincinnati’s 22-inning postseason scoreless streak is the longest in the franchise’s history, but it still fell far shy of the all-time longest streak by any team in a single postseason series. The Dodgers failed to score across the last 33 innings of their World Series defeat to the Orioles in 1966, getting shut out by Baltimore pitchers in Games 2, 3 and 4.