The Dodgers had the best record of the 2020 season at 43-17 and were easily the best team in baseball. However, they found themselves down 2-0 to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS and eventually down, 3-1. Only 13 times had a team come back from down 3-1 in MLB history, but the Dodgers were able to rally and win games 5 & 6 to force a game 7. Even though they were carrying momentum, the Dodgers had to face Ian Anderson, who they struggled against in game 2 and who had yet to give up a run in the postseason. The Braves jumped early to a 2-0 lead against pitchers Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin. C, Will Smith, knocked in a 2-run single to tie the game at 2 a few innings later, but the Braves scored again to take a 3-2 lead. Down 3-2, 2017 NLCS MVP, Enrique Hernandez, crushed a pinch-hit home run to tie the game at 3 in the 6th inning against Braves reliever, Chris Martin, and in the bottom of the 7th inning tied at 3, 2018 NLCS MVP Cody Bellinger crushed a towering home run also off of Martin into the right-field seats to take the 4-3 lead. The Dodgers held on to win 4-3 and return to the World Series for the 3rd time in 4 years.
The MVP of the NLCS was SS, Corey Seager. Seager hit a record-setting 5 home runs and 11 RBIs, both of which are NLCS records. Another key player in the series was Mookie Betts, but more on the defensive side. He made 3 outstanding defensive plays all of which prevented the Braves from scoring runs that would’ve significantly changed the outcome of each game including this game when he robbed Freddie Freeman of a home run, which would have left the game tied at 4.
As for the Atlanta Braves, this series loss will haunt them for some time. What the biggest blow will be are the chances they had to score that they failed to do so. The biggest blunder was in the 3rd inning when they had runners of 2nd and 3rd with 0 outs and the runners were thrown out at home and 3rd for a double play to end the rally dead in its tracks at just 1 run. At the same time, they are at the beginning of their competitive window, and many of their young players like Christian Pache, Ian Anderson, Max Fried, and Bryse Wilson all shined during the series at different points. To make matters worse, not just for the Braves, but the city of Atlanta. Entering 2020, teams that went up 2-0 in the NLCS had a record of 28-3. That record is now 28-4. The Braves now have a 25-year world series drought, having last won in 1995.
The Dodgers will face the Rays in the World Series beginning Tuesday, October 20 at 8:09 pm EST.