MLB Playoffs: Ranking the Top Five Pitching Duels from Wildcard Week

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the second inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds at Truist Park on September 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the second inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds at Truist Park on September 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

#1 Trevor Bauer vs. Max Fried

The Atlanta Braves won this matchup 1-0 after 13 innings of play. So yes, the starting pitchers had stellar afternoons.

Let’s start with Max Fried, who masterfully combined his fastball, curveball, and slider to prevent hard contact from Reds’ bats. He economically handled his opponent in Game 1 of the playoffs, needing only 78 pitches to complete seven scoreless innings and punch out seven hitters. Had he not recently returned from an injury, there’s a strong chance he would’ve thrown another inning or two.

Trevor Bauer saw Fried’s performance and raised it by going all in. 7.2 innings pitched, no runs, no walks, two hits, and 12 strikeouts; the Cy Young front-runner put together a production worthy of the title.

Ronald Acuna Jr. kept talking to Bauer from the batter’s box, but he failed to back the talk with any faint offensive success. Marcell Ozuna looked helpless against Bauer, and Freddie Freeman used his one good swing against the fireballer to fly out to the warning track in the first inning.

Despite his team falling short of a victory, Bauer’s outing tops the Wildcard round. You could argue that Kershaw was one out better and one strikeout better, but the Brewers offense is far less capable than the Braves offense.

Next. Bob Gibson passes away at 84 years old. dark

MLB hardware should be coming Trevor Bauer’s way this offseason, in addition to an exceptionally rich contract.