One round, three to go for the Atlanta Braves. Oh how great it feels to enjoy postseason success and win a playoff series again. The Braves’ 2-0 series win over the Cincinnati Reds, marked the team's first postseason victory for the Braves in 19 years. It's crazy how during the team's incredible 14-year division championship run, playoff wins had become expected. Then almost two decades happened and the team's lack of postseason success had quickly become the elephant in the room when discussing the Braves' team success.
How ironic that the much maligned starting rotation that was the team's weakness during the shortened season was the difference in the team's Wild-Card Series sweep over the Cincinnati Reds. Max Fried and Ian Anderson overwhelmed a Reds team that lacked any pop at the plate. The two young aces combined for 13 innings pitched, zero runs, just eight hits, two walks and 14 strikeouts.
It was a continuation of pitching success the duo had during the regular season. It was just because of the team's lack of quality starts outside of those two during the regular season that overshadowed just how effective these two can be atop the rotation.
The Braves did not need to go deep into their starting rotation, only needed two starts to sweep away the punchless Reds. That won't be the same in the next round when the Braves play the Miami Marlins and could need four or five starts to advance to the National League Championship Series. Then we'll see how desperate the team gets.
Kyle Wright will definitely toe the rubber for one start, one would think. A bullpen game could be employed if the Braves need to get through another start. The deeper the Braves advance this postseason, the more interesting scenarios await manager Brian Snitker in how he decides who will start. No off days in between games could ultimately hurt teams that lack quality starting pitching from top to bottom. But as they say, you deal with that dilemma when the time comes.
For one week, the Braves were untouchable on the mound.
Fried and Anderson provide a devastating one-two punch that could be formidable for years to come. Imagine how good this staff could turn into when Mike Soroka returns from injury next year. This trio may not rival Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz but it's not far off. We've already seen a glimpse of how great they can be. Lets hope we can see it for another round or two or three.
—Clint Thompson is a special contributor to The Union-Recorder.