How Braves’ Tyler Matzek buried the Dodgers with electric relief appearance in NLCS Game 6

Whereas Braves outfielder Eddie Rosario will rightly be remembered because the hero — and MVP — of the 2021 NLCS, the decisive Sport 6 featured a second Atlanta savior. That was lefty reliever Tyler Matzek

Going into the seventh inning of Sport 6 on Saturday evening, the Braves led the Dodgers 4-1 — thanks in massive measure to a three-run homer by Rosario — and had been 9 outs from their first pennant since 1999. Reliever Luke Jackson, nevertheless, ran swiftly into peril. 

Chris Taylor started the body with a double. Then Cody Bellinger walked on 4 pitches. Then A.J. Pollock lashed a two-strike double to left to plate the Dodgers’ second run of the sport. At that time, Braves supervisor Brian Snitker known as for Matzek to interchange Jackson. With no outs and runners on second and third with a two-run lead in opposition to maybe the most effective workforce in baseball, it was a jam on which the Braves’ 2021 season hinged. 

Braves’ probabilities of profitable Sport 6: 58.6 p.c. 

Matzek obtained a known as strike one in opposition to Albert Pujols, who at age 41 can nonetheless hit lefties. He adopted up that 97-mph fastball along with his exhausting slider for a ball. Then it was the fastball once more for a swing and miss. Then it was again to the fastball for strike three swinging. 

Braves’ probabilities of profitable Sport 6: 67.8 p.c. 

When L.A. supervisor Dave Roberts known as on Blake Treinen to pitch within the sixth, he did not insert him by way of double swap. The Dodger rally within the prime of the seventh, nevertheless, introduced Treinen’s spot up with one out. Roberts had no alternative however to pinch-hit for him, which suggests his finest reliever would face just one batter in an elimination recreation. Steven Souza was that pinch-hitter. 

Matzek began Souza off with a slider for a known as strike one. Then it was three straight fastballs, the primary a ball and the second a swinging strike. The third one, at 99.2 mph, appeared to freeze Souza, who could have been anticipating a slider after two straight heaters. Known as strike three. 

Braves’ probabilities of profitable Sport 6: 79.1 p.c. 

Then it was Mookie Betts. Since pitchers should face not less than three batters, Snitker had no alternative however to cede the platoon benefit and let Matzek face Betts — not that you simply play match-ups with a pitcher just like the one Matzek has change into. In any case, he’d simply struck out a pair of right-handed batters to succeed in this level. 

Matzek virtually completely throws a fastball and slider, with the fastball being his go-to about 70 p.c of the time this season. That determine is just about the identical no matter whether or not the hitter is lefty or righty. Towards Betts, he pumped in two straight fastballs that the Dodger outfielder, exhibiting uncharacteristic passivity, took for 2 known as strikes. Slightly than, say, attempt to spot a chase slider out of the zone, Matzek confronted Betts with one other fastball, this one somewhat larger than the others. Betts swung and missed for the third strike and the third out. 

That is known as chambering your fastball and going proper at among the best hitters in baseball: 

Braves’ probabilities of profitable Sport 6: 86.7 p.c. 

All of it appeared somewhat one thing like this: 

He wasn’t accomplished. Matzek labored an ideal eighth — a strikeout and two groundouts — on six pitches (5 of which had been sliders) to get the ball to nearer Will Smith. It marked simply the second time this season that he pitched two innings. The primary time was again on July 29. 

With the clutch effort, Matzek lowered his 2021 postseason ERA to 1.74 with 17 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings. Most basically, we could also be speaking in regards to the Braves’ fading probabilities in opposition to the mighty Dodgers in Sport 7 if not for Matzek’s white-knuckled work on Saturday evening. 

It appears unlikely provided that we’re speaking a couple of pitcher who was as soon as a washed-out Rockies beginning pitcher who was out of baseball as not too long ago as 2017 and revived his profession with an indy-league outfit known as the Texas AirHogs. If you happen to’ve watched the 30-year-old pitch since his Braves renaissance, nevertheless, then none of it was stunning. The Dodgers would absolutely “amen” all of that proper about now. | How Braves’ Tyler Matzek buried the Dodgers with electrical reduction look in NLCS Sport 6


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