The Cincinnati Reds offense set a playoff record in futility by being shut out for a second consecutive game, breaking the record for the longest streak to begin a playoff series without scoring a run at 22 innings. Luis Castillo allowed one run in 5.1 innings, and Lucas Sims dominated his former organization – but the Braves crushed two different 2-run homers off of Raisel Iglesias in the 8th inning to put the game, and the series, out of reach. Cincinnati’s playoff showing was much like their regular season showing – one full of outstanding starting pitching and one full of an offensive performance that could accurately be describes as soul crushing.
|Cincinnati Reds (0-2)
|Atlanta Braves (2-0)
|W: Anderson L: Castillo
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
The first big situation of the game came for the Reds offense in the bottom of the 2nd inning. They loaded the bases against Ian Anderson after a single by Eugenio Suárez and walks to both Jesse Winker and Freddy Galvis. With two outs it brought up Tucker Barnhart, but in what felt like a continuance from game one, Cincinnati couldn’t come through with a hit when they needed it as Barnhart grounded into a force out to end the inning and strand the bases loaded.
Luis Castillo matched Ian Anderson inning-for-shutout-inning…. until the bottom of the 5th. Nick Markakis singled with one out, but was erased on a force out at second. Austin Riley was standing at first with two outs with Ronald Acuña Jr. coming to the plate. The young Braves superstar came through with his third hit of the day, and none were bigger as he doubled to the wall in left-center and put Atlanta ahead 1-0. That would be all that Castillo would give up in his 5.1 innings that included seven strikeouts. With one out in the 6th inning manager David Bell turned the game over the Lucas Sims and the bullpen. Sims got through the final two outs of the inning, holding the score at 1-0. Sims returned for the 7th inning and struck out the side.
Raisel Iglesias came in for the 8th inning and walked Freddie Freeman to start the inning. Marcell Ozuna, who led the National League in homers and RBI this season, did what he does – he homered and drove in runs, extending the Atlanta lead to 3-0. It was only the second homer of the year given up by Iglesias. It wouldn’t be the last as three batters later he gave up another 2-run homer, this time to former teammate Adam Duvall as the Braves took a 5-0 lead. He was pulled at that point for Michael Lorenzen. He would put two men on base, but also struck out two batters to end the inning and send the game into the 9th.
With the heart of the order coming up, the Reds needed them to do damage and do it quickly as they trailed 5-0 with just three outs remaining if they couldn’t get the game tied up. Nick Castellanos struck out looking on four pitches. Joey Votto hit a ground ball 45 feet for the second out. And in what feels fitting for the season, Eugenio Suárez got into one and lined out to the left fielder to end the game and the season.
Notes Worth Noting
The previous record for consecutive scoreless innings to begin a playoff series was 20 innings, set by the 1921 New York Giants. Cincinnati surpassed them in the 8th inning with their 21st straight inning without plating a run. They pushed the record to 22 in the 9th.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
The Winter Meetings, where they will try to address the needs for the 2021 team.