by Matt Wilkes

Reds season ends with a whimper in 5-0 loss to Braves

Just like that, the Reds’ postseason run is over. Another dominant starting pitching performance was marred by putrid offense, as the Reds fell 5-0 to the Braves on Thursday.

In the latest playoff disappointment, they were swept in two games by the Braves despite allowing only six runs in 20.1 innings. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the offense, which set a playoff record by going 22 straight innings without scoring a run. The Reds are the first team in playoff history to be eliminated without scoring a run in a series with multiple games.

The Pitching

You can’t say enough about the pitching performance in this series. Against one of the best offenses in baseball, the staff struck out 35 and gave up only six runs, 15 hits, and five walks in 20.1 innings.

Luis Castillo did everything he could to keep the Reds in the game in his postseason debut, surrendering only one run and six hits in 5.1 innings. He struck out seven, and his only walk was an intentional one to Freddie Freeman.

Castillo was brilliant early, allowing only three singles through the game’s first four innings. But with no run support (again), he could only hold off the Braves for so long. With a runner on first and two outs, Ronald Acuna Jr. lined an RBI double to the left-center field gap on a 3-2 to count to score the game’s first run. Acuna went 3-for-3 against Castillo, while the rest of the Atlanta lineup went 3-for-19.

Lucas Sims showed his former team what they’re missing with 1.2 innings of dominance in relief of Castillo. He struck out four of the five batters he faced, including striking out the side in the seventh inning with pinpoint command.

Sims got a called strike or whiff on five of his seven fastballs and four whiffs on the five sliders the Braves swung at.

The final blow was dealt to Raisel Iglesias in the eighth inning, as he allowed a pair of two-run home runs to Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall. Iglesias was lights out to end the season and dominated yesterday, but he just didn’t have his best command today.

Michael Lorenzen came on after the home run to Duvall, working around a single and hit batter with two strikeouts.

The Hitting

No, this isn’t a copy and paste of yesterday’s recap. But it sure feels like it.

Hitting was once again an exercise in futility for the Reds. Braves rookie Ian Anderson shut down the Cincinnati bats, which managed only two singles and two walks in six innings. The beat marched on against the Atlanta bullpen, as the Reds couldn’t even get on base over the final four innings.

The Reds’ only legitimate threat came in the second inning when they loaded the bases with two outs. And — deja vu — they couldn’t score. Eugenio Suarez singled to leadoff the inning, Mike Moustakas grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Jesse Winker walked. After Nick Senzel flew out to center field, Freddy Galvis drew a walk to load the bases. But Tucker Barnhart swung at two balls out of the strike zone to go down 0-2 and ultimately grounded out to end the inning.

After the second inning, the Reds didn’t even get a baserunner to second. They had no baserunners after a Freddy Galvis single in the fifth inning, as the final 14 batters were retired. Cincinnati managed only five hard-hit balls on the day.

Not much else to say on this one. It was just a pitiful offensive performance akin to the miserable stretches the Reds had throughout the regular season.

Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Eugenio Suarez: 101.0 mph | Lineout in 9th inning
  • Mike Moustakas: 100.5 mph | Fielder’s choice in 2nd inning
  • Joey Votto: 99.6 mph | Lineout in 6th inning

Highest Velocities By Pitcher

  • Raisel Iglesias: 98.8 mph
  • Luis Castillo: 98.7 mph
  • Michael Lorenzen: 97.9 mph
  • Lucas Sims: 95.8 mph

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Nick Senzel: 62% hit probability | Lineout in 5th inning

Expected Batting Averages

  • Reds: .156
  • Braves: .245

What’s Next?

Now, we wait for what is hopefully a full, normal season in 2021. We’ll see the Reds back on the field on Feb. 27 for their first spring training game against the Indians, and they’ll return to Great American Ball Park on April 1 against the Cardinals.

Stay tuned to RC+ in the coming weeks as we unpack what we saw in 2020 and what’s to come in the offseason.

Matt got hooked on Reds baseball after attending his first game in Cinergy Field at 6 years old, and he hasn’t looked back. As a kid, he was often found imitating his favorite players — Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns — in the backyard. When he finally went inside, he was leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 or keeping stats for whatever game was on TV. He started writing about baseball in 2014 and has become fascinated by analytics and all the new data in the game. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in Columbus. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

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4 months ago

Just wanted to say that you all the writers here put out some great material. Better luck next year.

4 months ago

Thank you once again to all the writers here for making this unique season more enjoyable than it would be otherwise. And thank you Matt for writing up this one, not such a pleasant task.

4 months ago
Reply to  pinson343

Yes, thanks to all of the writers. RC+ provides insights and information that enhances my experience as a fan.

4 months ago

It will be interesting to see what the front office has in store for us in the off season.