Atlanta Braves: The Bullpen is the Overall Postseason MVP

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 02: Will Smith #51 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates after closing out the team's 7-0 win against the Houston Astros in Game Six to win the 2021 World Series at Minute Maid Park on November 02, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 02: Will Smith #51 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates after closing out the team's 7-0 win against the Houston Astros in Game Six to win the 2021 World Series at Minute Maid Park on November 02, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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There is no denying that the most impactful group for the Atlanta Braves in the 2021 postseason was the bullpen.

For the first time since 1995, the Atlanta Braves are World Series Champions.  A run through the postseason that never included the Braves facing an elimination game, it was truly a dominant showing for Atlanta that featured some memorable moments.

While everyone will remember notable moments such as Soler’s Game 6 home run, Joc’s NLDS heroics, and more, one group that was arguably the most impactful for the Braves that should be mentioned as well was the dominant Atlanta bullpen.

The Atlanta Braves bullpen was the 2021 Postseason MVP.

The Braves bullpen was dominant throughout the postseason with the late-inning combination of Smith, Matzek, Jackson, and Minter leading the way. We obviously saw across the last month the massive moments provided by these four, but just how good were they?

Starting with closer Will Smith, the left-hander certainly struggled at times during the regular season having posted a 3.44 ERA in Atlanta’s closer role. Those struggles however disappeared for Smith in the postseason as the veteran reliever worked 11 consecutive scoreless innings in October allowing only five hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts with six saves.

What about Tyler Matzek, the Braves reliever you could certainly argue had the biggest impact? Only continuing his phenomenal regular season, Matzek pitched a total of 15.2 innings during the postseason allowing only three runs with four walks and 24 strikeouts.

In his 13 appearances (there were only 16 post-season games), he also produced some memorable moments that included Game 6 of the NLCS against the Dodgers: striking out 4 in a row over 2 innings while stranding the tying runs on 2nd and 3rd in the 7th to preserve the clinching win.

While Smith and Matzek get most of the shine, and rightfully so, Luke Jackson and AJ Minter also provided a big impact for the Braves this October. While they did struggle at times, the two played key roles for the Braves in all three series’, and should not go unnoticed either.

The same goes for a few other names who provided key roles and moments including Jesse Chavez, Kyle Wright, Chris Martin, and Drew Smyly, as well as the showings from Tucker Davidson, Dylan Lee, Huascar Ynoa, and Jacob Webb.

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While the Atlanta Braves do not win the World Series without the lineup or starting rotation either, you could certainly make the argument that the Braves bullpen was the most impactful, as well as the overall 2021 postseason MVP.