The Atlanta Braves were blanked on Sunday during Game One of the NLDS. The Braves were shut out at home for the first time since August 2021 by the Philadelphia Phillies. While the score was only 3-0, those three runs seemed insurmountable as the game wore on.
Several outlets and pundits have examined the loss and the "shoulda, coulda, woulda" of the outcome. However, I want to examine what the implications of a series loss could be for the Braves if they lose.
A Meaningless season
First, the Braves season, every record broken, every game won, and every other piece of success created this year will be, in the eyes of almost everyone, a failure. This is always the feeling any team has when they fall short in the playoffs.
But for the Braves, this is one of the greatest team seasons to date. The postseason is where all of the hard work and determination of the regular season is put to the test. The Braves, again, are one of the greatest offensive teams seen in the history of baseball. If they can't make it out of the first round after such a historic season, it will be in vain. A series loss will be one of the biggest letdowns since the 1998 season.
Regular season warriors
The Braves are undoubtedly the kings of the NL East. However, that may only be what people think from April through September. When it comes to October, the Phillies are quickly becoming the face of the NL East during the postseason. If the Braves are taken out two years in a row by a divisional rival, resulting in yet another first-round exit, their dominance in the division simply won't matter.
This is the time of year when you have to walk the walk. The Braves are certainly not all talk; we've seen that before in years past. Yet, the Braves absolutely need to win this series to avoid becoming a laughingstock. The Phillies are a great team, but the Braves are certainly better and they need to play like it if they want to avoid these outcomes.
The Dodgers are a great example of a team that shows utter dominance in the regular season and fails to put it together during the postseason. Los Angeles faced a similar fate to the Braves last year and just suffered a game-one loss at the hands of the Diamondbacks.
The Braves had their own streak like this in the '90s. This Braves team is riding a fine line to becoming regular-season warriors and postseason jokes. This series will determine what road they follow in years to come. It's World Series or bust for the Braves this year and they've already made the road a lot harder for themselves.