Braves’ Eddie Rosario named NLCS MVP after record-tying playoff performance, go-ahead Game 6 homer


For the first time since 1999, the Atlanta Braves are going to the World Series. The Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS on Saturday night (ATL 4, LA 2), setting up a meeting with the Houston Astros in the Fall Classic.

Once again, outfielder Eddie Rosario was at the center of the action for Atlanta. Rosario was hitting .571/.609/1.000 in the NLCS going into Game 6 with 12 hits, two of which were home runs and one of which was the walk-off hit of Game 2. That’s an honest series’ work and then some, but Rosario was far from done. 

In the first inning Saturday night in Atlanta, he notched a line drive single off Walker Buehler but was retired on a double play off the bat of Freddie Freeman. In the fourth, though, with the score tied 1-1, Rosario left nothing to chance as he authored a methodical at-bat against Buehler that changed the trajectory of Game 6 and pushed the Braves closer to their first NL pennant since 1999.

To the surprise of no one, Rosario was named the NLCS MVP following Game 6. There was no other choice, really. Rosario finished the series with a .560/.670/1.040 batting line and a postseason series record-tying 14 hits. He drove in nine runs in the six games.

His Game 6 homer came after whiffing at a first-pitch fastball and then barely nicking a second, Rosario, down 0-2 in the count, fouled off a cutter, took a sinker that didn’t sink, and then fouled off another cutter and sinker. Then Buehler came inside with a 94-mph cutter — yet another fastball variant — and Rosario’s doggedness was rewarded: 

That’s 104.9 mph off the bat, and that’s a three-run homer to give the Braves a 4-1 lead in a potential series-clincher. Also consider the circumstances. With two outs and Travis d’Arnaud on first, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker made the difficult decision to tap into his thin bench and pinch-hit for starter Ian Anderson

To repeat, it was just the fourth inning, and two were out. Pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza rewarded the decision by popping a double into right, but because of d’Arnaud’s limited speed and Mookie Betts‘ swift retrieval of the ball no run scored. If Rosario doesn’t come through, then Snitker is already into his bullpen in a 1-1 game and he’s already burned his pinch-hitter of first resort. However, because this is Eddie Rosario and this is also the 2021 NLCS, it all worked out. 

When Rosario came to the plate in the fourth, the Braves had a 57.1 percent chance of winning Game 6. That’s a bit north of a coin-flip and none too comfortable against a team of the Dodgers’ caliber. After he touched home plate, that figure was 83.8 percent. Different game, that. 

That blast also happened to be Rosario’s 14th hit of the series, and that ties the all-time postseason record for the most in a series: 

Of note: Youkilis, Matsui, and Pujols had their 14 hits in series that went the full seven games. Rosario did it in only six games.

This is a player, let us recall, that the Braves acquired from Cleveland at the July 30 deadline in exchange for Pablo Sandoval. Oh, and Cleveland also kicked in some cash. That deal more than paid off for Atlanta when Rosario batted .271/.330/.573 in 33 games after the trade, but then came all of this. “This” would be Rosario’s full ownership of the 2021 NLCS and, by extension, Dodger pitching. “This” has also been one of the great single-series postseason performances in the annals of same. 





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