MLB Postseason: 5 key moments from Wednesday’s playoff action

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Sean Murphy #12 and Jake Diekman #35 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates after they defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-3 in Game Two of the American League Wild Card Round at RingCentral Coliseum on September 30, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Sean Murphy #12 and Jake Diekman #35 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates after they defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-3 in Game Two of the American League Wild Card Round at RingCentral Coliseum on September 30, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

2020 MLB Postseason: Joey Votto, an impatient wannabe hero.

The Cincinnati Reds’ collective failures in Atlanta Wednesday have already been noted. They failed to produce as much as a single run over 13 innings. It was hardly a new experience for a Reds offense that finished 14th in the National League in runs per game, 15th in base hits, and 15th in batting average.

For the Reds, 2020 was basically a home run-or-nothing experience. More than half the team’s 742 total bases were produced by its 90 home runs. So it’s no surprise that although the Reds got 26 men on base Wednesday, they were unable to nudge eve one of them to cross the plate.

You could tall as early as the first inning that the Reds’ one-dimensional offense was in trouble. The first batter, Nick Senzel, slapped the first-pitch four-seamer from Braves starter Max Fried into right field for a base hit. The next hitter, Nick Castellanos, lined a Fried curve into center for another hit. Senzel eased into third.

That brought up Joey Votto, the perfect Red to manipulate a first-and-third, nobody the outcome. Votto is famous for his patience and bat control. A lifetime .304 batter, he has five times led the league in bases on balls, seven times led in on-base average, and four times has posted an OPS of 1.000 or higher.

So what happened? Did Votto work Fried to a favorable count, then slap a run-producing hit? Did he work a bases-filling walk? Did he lay down a squeeze? Did he loft a fly ball deep enough to get Senzel across with what would eventually have been the game’s winning run? Did he make Fried work?

Votto did none of the above. Instead, he took a high curve for ball one, then got a fastball down the middle and slapped it directly to Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Castellanos did get to second, but Senzel had to hold up at third.

When Eugenio Suarez lined out and Mike Moustakas grounded out, the Reds got nothing out of the major opportunity. And that became a recurring theme.