October 27, 2020

One final loss, an epic collapse by the Braves

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ATLANTA (AP) — Nearly an hour after one more loss in a historic collapse, Freddie Freeman walked through the Braves clubhouse still wearing his No. 5 uniform, as if he couldn’t believe he’d be taking it off for the final time this year.

Indeed, the season is over.

It’s going to take a long time to get over this one.

With a September swoon that ranked right up there with all those playoff flops in the 1990s and 2000s, Atlanta frittered away a wild card that seemed a certainty just a few weeks ago. Instead, it’s St. Louis heading to the playoffs, while the Braves have all winter to figure out what went wrong.

Was it that blown lead in St. Louis, which opened the door for a Cardinals sweep that seemed to turn the tide in early September? Was it that potentially game-ending grounder Chipper Jones somehow lost in the lights at Florida, quickly followed by a homer that handed the Braves another excruciating loss?

Was it the injury-plagued starters? The young bullpen that seemed to wear down? The punchless offense that totally disappeared in the final days?

Whatever the reasons, it officially ended Wednesday night with closer Craig Kimbrel blowing a lead in the ninth inning and Hunter Pence coming through with a two-out, broken-bat single in the 13th that gave the Philadelphia Phillies a 4-3 victory.

 

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