As much as we all wanted the Braves to just go two-three-fo’-fo’ through the postseason on their way to an amazing victory in the World Series, I think we all knew that the Braves would eventually drop a game at some point here in October. With that being said, they sure dropped that one from last night, didn’t they? They dropped that one with quite possibly the loudest thud that you’ll ever hear, as they gave up eleven (11) runs in the top of the first inning. For the second year in a row, the Braves lineup had to take their first cuts of the game while stuck in a hole of 10 runs or more.
It’s not ideal, and honestly all I wanted to post as far as a reaction to last night’s nightmare was concerned was just this gif from the Men In Black movie series:
However, we’re here to talk about baseball and that means that we’re going to have to talk about that calamity of a game. For starters (no pun intended), Atlanta’s rotation finally got off of their hot streak. While both Max Fried and Ian Anderson may continue chugging along, the problem that stuck out like a sore thumb throughout the regular season finally reared its ugly head at an inopportune time during the postse. Atlanta’s starting pitching has been dreadful at times, and Kyle Wright was the X-Factor when it came to the rotation. If he could pitch well, then the Braves would be in the money and things would be fine and dandy going forward. We got a glimpse of that in the NLDS, as Wright tossed six shutout innings against the Marlins in the game that got the Braves into the NLCS.
Unfortunately, Kyle Wright found out first hand that the Marlins are not the Dodgers. Los Angeles proved that their desperate flurry of offense at the end of Game 2 was not just an isolated incident, as their lineup absolutely blitzed Kyle Wright and then proceeded to knock around Grant Dayton for a bit before eventually settling on 15 runs to end the day. It was an absolute horror show and one that surely has to embolden the Dodgers as a unit going forward. While Fried and Anderson have been pitching very well, there’s now an even bigger question mark when it comes to how Atlanta will be starting games when those two aren’t going. You’d like to think that this is just a blip on the radar for Wright, and he’s definitely talking the talk when it comes to his own personal reaction to how things went for him last night:
"You can either feel sorry for yourself or find a way to bounce back. I'm taking whatever I can from that one and learning and being better for the next outing is what I'm going to do."— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) October 15, 2020
— @Braves starter Kyle Wright pic.twitter.com/25xZcR9kXr
Unfortunately, the Braves as a team don’t really have time to dwell on last night’s misfortune. The good news for Bryse Wilson is that the bar is about as low as it can get right now, as all he’ll have to do is just throw around four good innings tonight and the lineup will at least be grateful for still being in the game. The bad news is that the Dodgers are still the Dodgers and they are very much alive in this series, now. It’s going to be a herculean task for every pitcher who’s tasked to start a game from here on out, and that is especially the case for anyone whose last name isn’t Fried or Anderson. Wilson absolutely has to make like Freddy Garcia did in 2013 and “just make pitch” — he’s got no other choice but to do it and the Braves need him to steady the ship during Game 4.
As far as Kyle Wright goes, I’m extremely intrigued to see where he goes from this point forward. As you saw above, he’s definitely saying the right things and he’s also chomping at the bit to get back out there. He doesn’t have to look that far for inspiration — Max Fried threw 1.2 innings in that diabolical Game 5 of the NLDS last season and gave up four runs as he was unable to stop the massacre in its tracks. Once Fried got another chance to pitch in the postseason, he threw seven shutout innings in the Wild Card round. If Wright gets another chance this October, it’s going to be very intriguing to see if he can bounce back or if the Dodgers are just too much for him right now.
When it comes to the Braves as a whole, they’re now in the position of trying to bounce back from a blowout loss during a postseason series. Fortunately, we’ve already seen some examples of how they’ve responded to getting blown out by a wide margin during the regular season. Back on July 27, the Rays bopped the Braves to the tune of 14-5. Atlanta lost the next game, but responded by splitting the four-game series in Tampa by winning the final two games. Those two wins ended up being the first of a five-game winning streak for the Braves. Then on September 14, the Orioles suplexed the Braves in a 14-1 romp. Atlanta turned around and went 6-2 over their next eight games. So there’s two examples of the Braves responding to embarrassingly lopsided defeats, only to turn the adversity into prosperity in the immediate future.
While six more wins this month would be wonderful (and would also give the Braves that piece of metal from Rob Manfred), I’m not going to sit here and tell you that that’s exactly what’s going to happen and it’s going to come easy. The Dodgers have just shown that they’re here to play, they’re wide awake, and Clayton Kershaw is going to go in Game 4 so it’s definitely not going to be easy at this point. Whoever they face in the Fall Classic if they make it that far will also be an incredibly formidable opponent.
Still, if there’s any team who I’d bet on to take 15 runs right on the chin and still come back with a haymaker on the next day, it’s these Braves. They’re going to need to get a solid effort out of Bryse Wilson and anyone else who gets the call to begin the game, but it’s definitely possible. If they’re going turn things around and get even closer to winning the Pennant, there’s at least some evidence that this is a team that knows how to turn pain on one day into joy on the next day.