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Atlanta Braves advance to National League Championship Series

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The Braves overcame a thin starting rotation to win the NL East title and they’ve been undefeated in the MLB postseason through two rounds.

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins - Game Three Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Braves have convincingly punched their ticket to the 2020 National League Championship Series on the heels of yet another MLB postseason series sweep.

Regular Season: 35-25, plus-60 run differential; won NL East division title by four games

Wild Card Series: Defeated Reds at Truist Park, 2-0

National League Division Series: Defeated Marlins at Minute Maid Park, 3-0

Designated hitter/outfielder Marcell Ozuna has been the most consistent hitter in the Atlanta lineup this year (.338/.431/.636, 179 wRC+, 2.5 fWAR in 267 PA), and that’s saying a lot for a club that averaged 5.8 runs per game during the regular season. Of some concern, though, he has 10 strikeouts and zero walks thus far in the postseason. Ozuna was signed and developed by the Marlins, playing parts of five major league seasons for them (2013-2017) prior to getting traded.

Infielder Adeiny Hechavarría had a mediocre summer (.254/.302/.305, 65 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR in 63 PA). The Braves didn’t even put him on the active roster for either of their first two postseason series. Many of you remember Hech as a flashy defensive shortstop for the Fish from 2013-2017.

Slugger and South Florida native Peter O’Brien signed a minor league deal with them after earning MVP honors in the Dominican Winter League. He was nothing more than a depth piece, apparently—the Braves released him when veteran outfielder Nick Markakis returned after initially opting out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. O’Brien very briefly excited the Marlins fanbase with a hot streak in September 2018. His overall numbers with his hometown team: .231/.306/.426, 99 wRC+, 0.2 fWAR in 121 PA.

The Braves now await the winner of the Padres-Dodgers series (the Dodgers lead, 2-0). The NLCS will begin Oct. 12 at Globe Life Field.

The Marlins and Braves are not scheduled to play each other during 2021 spring training. The rivalry resumes Apr. 12-15 at Truist Park.