Atlanta Braves (2) vs Cincinnati Reds (7)
Vinnie Parise – Site Expert:
For winning a division and being the number two seed, this is a tough draw for the Atlanta Braves. The Reds went into this season with a lot of hype but failed to meet expectations for a good chunk of the season. Well, they turned it on late and got in the playoffs. Now, they went from a team that looked like they were going home to legit World Series contenders. Reds in three.
I think this is another interesting wildcard matchup we will see because the Atlanta Braves came into the regular as high favorites and now at the ending of the regular season, roles have reversed. Trevor Bauer has been an absolute flamethrower this year for the Reds and the Braves have been slightly declining in the hitting column while struggling pitch-wise most of the season. Also, to be competitive they must have Ronald Acuna play to his potential. The Reds have a pitching big three with Bauer, Castillo, and Gray. The Braves can count on Max Fried to have a solid outing for them but it’s not certain if Kyle Wright or Ian Anderson can hold up for the Braves in the postseason. I think Wright will have the most trouble containing the Reds hitters with his 5.21 ERA coming into his wildcard start.
Game 1 should feature another great pitching matchup this season. Trevor Bauer and Max Fried are both Cy-Young candidates with Bauer likely to take home the award. However, outside of game 1, the Reds don’t have much of a shot to win a game. It took a late-season surge for them to sneak into the postseason and they are facing a loaded Braves roster. Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuna Jr will all receive MVP votes while the Braves bullpen has four pitchers- Shane Green, A.J Winter, Darren O’Day, and Chris Martin- with ERAs below 1. Good luck coming back against that bullpen. Prediction: Braves in 2
Braves in 3. Cincinnati was another somewhat surprising team to be in this postseason but the Braves have been there and I think are poised for a deep run.
Jon Michael Walters:
Reds defeat Braves – this is a tough one to choose but THERE’S A DEEP DRIVE BY CASTELLANOS REDS WIN!
That is it for the Southside Showdown Wild Card Round predictions. It seems like there are a few disagreements but most of us seem to be on the same page with most of the picks. Which eight teams do you believe will make it out of this round?