So Close Yet So Far: Braves Baseball

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Nick Markakis walking back to the dugout

Michael Porter, Jr., Staff Writer

The Atlanta Braves had established themselves as one of the best teams in Major League Baseball and were poised to make a deep run in the postseason. Their success had been just what Georgia sports fans needed, as it seems that they have been plagued with sub-par and mediocre performances from their sports teams as of late. However, with an influx of young talent and some MVP caliber play from a veteran, the Braves changed the recent trend of failure amongst major Georgia sports teams and
are looking to win their first World Series title since 1995.
Their postseason run began in the wild card, where they faced off against the Cincinnati Reds. In-game one, the Braces struggled to put points on the board, but thanks to a strong pitching staff and clutch hitting from veteran Freddie Freeman, they could squeak out a win with a 1-0 score. The offense exploded in game two; however, they could sweep the Reds with a 5-0 victory.
In the division series, the Braves faced off against the Miami Marlins. At that point in time, the Marlins had never lost a playoff series, so the odds were against the Braves. However, they proved they were up to the challenge in game one as the offense absolutely exploded, and they were able to defeat the Marlins 9-5. Game two was more of a struggle for the offense, but once again, their dominant pitching was able to seal the game, and the Braves won with a 2-0 score. The final match of the series
was a blowout. The offense put up seven runs, and the pitching staff shut down the Reds in a 7-0 victory. At this point, the Braves were on a 5-game winning streak in the playoffs, and they were red hot entering the National League Championship Series.
The Braves faced off against the Dodgers in the championship series. Defeating the Dodgers would be no easy task as the Dodgers have reached the world series in three of the past four years, and the odds were again against the Braves. They took the first game easily with a 5-1 win; in the second game, however, the Braves didn’t have it so easy as the Dodgers almost made a comeback. Thankfully, they were able to survive with an 8-7 victory. The first two games were smooth sailing, but game 3 was the exact opposite, as The Braves were blown out 15-3. They seemed to regroup in the next game as they then returned the favor to the Dodgers by defeating them 10-2 to go up 3-1 in the series. However, the Braves’ bid for the world series all fell apart in the next three games. They lost game five 7-3, game six 3-1, and game seven 4-3. They became the 15th team ever to blow a 3-1 series lead. The loss broke the hearts of Braves fans. When asked how it felt knowing the Braves were so close but couldn’t get a
win, Mauri Durand, junior at Wheeler High School, replied, “It hurts. Bad.” Wheeler Baseball coach Parker Madden said, “Knowing the Braves were three wins away for 3 consecutive games and couldn’t win one was disheartening. It seems like it’s becoming a common theme in Atlanta for teams to make it in the playoffs but are never able to get over the hill and win it all.”
Other fans seem to be trying to keep a level head. Wheeler Baseball coach Mark Collins said, “Best team won. Braves played well and represented Atlanta well.” While the shortcoming is heartbreaking, one thing for sure is that the Braves have the talent to compete for a championship for years to come. Better luck next year.