The Braves will have to play another NLCS game today. It would have been nice to have this article to celebrate the newly crowned National League Champions, but instead we need to look back at one game in this series while looking forward to another. It would have been an absolute dream to see the Braves just finish the Dodgers right there and there, but it ended up being at least not in the cards for Game 5. Since this lineup is not used to, LA broke out over a period of time at two innings and ended with a four-run victory over Atlanta.
The bullpen held strong for five innings on an Opener strategy, but the sixth and seventh innings ended up being a bridge too far for Will Smith and Jacob Webb. The sixth inning Gemini Involvement involving Will Smith, who took over Will Smith, ended up being too much for Atlanta̵
So while it’s absolutely buzzing to see the Braves end up losing a game they led 2-0 (and should have been 3-0 if Marcell Ozuna had correctly rated a circus catch from Mookie Betts), there’s still something positive to take away from the game. Of course, I’m talking about AJ Minter’s performance as an opener for Game 5. In a game that ended in disappointment, it will still be hard to forget the effort that Minter showed in the first three innings of that game. It would have been nice if he put in a pointless inning. Two would have been good. Three were completely unthinkable to go into this game, so it was really amazing to see Minter pull off what he did Friday night in Arlington.
For AJ Minter, those three innings were the culmination of what has been a quick redemption after a terrible 2019 season and confirmation that he is finally ready to become one of the best relievers the Braves currently have. While Minter had been one of the more reliable relief options for the Braves throughout this current season, it was very hard to imagine that he would pull out the type of performance he would deliver in Game 5. Minter has had a couple stints in his career where he has gone 1.2 innings at most, and the last time he went three innings at any level of baseball, it ended um, not good for him.
So there was no real reason to expect that he would throw the three absolutely sparkling innings that he did. The Braves were unable to really set foot on the gas when it came to crime at some point in Game 5, and that’s really a shame – it would have been a history book way to end the series and win the Pennant for Braves this year. . AJ Minter had the “start” of his life in the NLCS against a dangerously potent Dodgers lineup would have been a huge point of reference for future discussions about Atlanta’s post-season race in 2020. AJ Minter’s three opening innings could end up being another footnote. It’s baseball for you – sometimes spectacular performances get dust in the wind.
Instead of AJ Minter becoming the Braves’ subsequent season hero, the title is now ready for use again as the Braves get ready for Game 6. The obvious good news for the Braves is that they are still just a win away from getting to spend one more week in Arlington by playing in the World Series. It’s especially nice to know that they want Max Fried back for Game 6. The rise in the post season has turned up eerily in the same way that Fried pitched when he was best in the normal season – his post season ERA and FIP at 2.65 respectively and 3.13 is very similar to his last regular season ERA and FIP of 2.25 and 3.10.
The same goes for his ERA- and FIP-, as in the case of ERA- he is currently eight points (58) out of where he was in the regular season (50), while his post season FIP- (71) is identical with his regular season FIP-. I’m saying all this to say he’s been very consistent, and that’s exactly what the Braves need from him this afternoon – consistency. If the same Max Fried, who appears in the regular season and three previous postseason starts here in 2020, shows up at the ballpark today, then the Braves will have a solid chance of leaving the ballpark today as NL Champs.
It will still require a massive effort from not only Fried, but the rest of the pitching staff available, and the lineup also to finally beat the Dodgers off and get to the Fall Classic. Los Angeles has shown that they do not just want to overthrow and let the Braves do what they want on the road to the World Series. Fortunately, we already know that this team is really good at jumping back from big losses. They just finished proving it the other day. Now they have to do it again and this time the reward will be massive if they can pull it off tonight at Globe Life Field.