Braves: Reliever Chris Martin could miss the postseason (again)

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With the division locked up and the National League’s second seed already claimed, the one thing you hate to see happen is injuries, especially for Chris Martin, who left Game 1 of last year’s NLDS with an injury in his last appearance of the season.

During Sunday’s season finale against the Red Sox, facing a 3-1 deficit in Boston’s half of the 7th, Martin managed just four pitches before calling for the team trainer as he walked gracefully around the mound. He was removed from the game, with the team calling it right groin discomfort, and as of 8:00 p.m. EST, as part of Mark Bowman’s evening injury report at MLB.com, an official update on Martin was still unavailable. 

If you recall, a very similar run of bad luck bit Martin and the Braves in last year’s NLDS, when the reliever sustained an oblique strain while warming up in the 8th inning of Game 1. The Martin-less Braves lost that five-game series versus the Cardinals in the fifth and final game. 

As far as 2020 goes, the former Texas Ranger — acquired by the Braves at last year’s trade deadline — has once again been tough on opposing batters during the regular season. Through 18 innings in 2020, Martin posted a 1.00 ERA, including a stingy .190 AVG against and 29% strikeout-rate. In terms of WAR, the 34-year-old was worth 1.2 this season, according to Baseball-Reference — nearly what he managed in 2018 (1.5 WAR), though while tallying half as many innings (38 IP) as two years ago. Braves manager Brian Snitker primarily used Martin in the 7th and 8th innings. However, the righty also finished three games this season and appeared in a pair of extra-inning affairs (including this past Friday’s walk-off win over the Red Sox). 

Good thing the Braves’ bullpen has been strong this year and features plenty of capable arms to take over Martin’s high-leverage duties. 

Airing on ESPN as part of the day’s first postseason game, the Braves will face the no. 7 seed Reds on Wednesday (12:00 p.m., ET) at Truist Park. Stay tuned for an update on Martin. 

 

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