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Let’s Take A Look At Historically Great Regular Season MLB Teams Who Choked In The Playoffs

The Braves had a bad day. They got called for a ticky tack yet crucial catchers interference which led fans to litter the field with trash. All of this happened in a game where the most powerful offense of all-time got shut out.

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It is fucking wild seeing maybe the greatest offense in baseball get shut out like this by 7 different pitchers. If this is indeed the beginning of the end for the 2023 Atlanta Braves, they won't be the only great regular season team to shit the bed in the playoffs. Here are some notable examples.

2022 Los Angeles Dodgers

111-51 .685 

Lost In NLDS to San Diego Padres 3-1

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The Dodgers don't get enough shit for being as bad as they have been in the playoffs. Since 2017, they've won 100+ games five times and the only year they have won the World Series was the shortened COVID year in 2020. The last three times they've won 100 games (not counting this season), they haven't gotten out of the NLCS. Some of that is unfair as the rosters are different from 2017 to 2022 but is this a Dave Roberts problem?

The 2022 Dodgers are the worst example of this. No Dodger team has ever won more games…and I'm counting the Brooklyn years. This was an incredible pitching staff with a team ERA of only 2.80. Four starting pitchers had ERA's 2.57 or lower. The Dodgers did win the first game of that NLDS against the Padres before losing the next three. The Padres kind of beat them at their own game with a team ERA of 2.83 in that series.

As I write this, the Dodgers are getting their asses kicked 11-2 by a Diamondbacks team that won 84 games this season. 

Giphy Images.

2001 Seattle Mariners

116-46, .716

Lost in ALCS to New York Yankees

Otto Greule Jr. Getty Images.

It's crazy to look back at the 2001 Mariners and realize they won all those games with a team that didn't have Ken Griffey Jr, Randy Johnson or Alex Rodriguez. Ichiro was that great in 2001 winning Rookie of the Year and MVP. But as many games as those Mariners won, they probably just wildly overachieved as opposed to choked.

They didn't have a lights out ace even though Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele, Joel Pineiro and Jamie Moyer all had good seasons. That might be unfair to Garcia who did lead the league in ERA that year (with a high 3.05 ERA). But when the Yankees have both Roger Clemens and Mike Mussina, Freddy Garcia doesn't match up.

That's why the 2001 Mariners don't get shit on that much. Is it choking to lose in the ALCS if you don't beat a team going for their 4th World Series win in a row? The Mariners almost didn't even get that far barely squeaking by the Indians 3-2 in the ALDS. They were just outmatched in the next round against the Yankees. They lost the first two close games in Seattle before blowing the Yanks out in Game 3. The Mariners had a 1-0 lead in the 8th inning of Game 4 before Bernie Williams hit a home run in the 8th and Alfonso Soriano hit a walkoff home run in the 9th to put the Yankees up 3-1. The Yankees ended things in an anti-climatic fashion with a 12-3 win the next day.

1954 Cleveland Indians

111-43, .721

Lost in World Series to New York Giants

Transcendental Graphics. Getty Images.

The only year the Yankees didn't win the American League pennant from 1949-58 was in 1954 when the Indians had an incredible season. This Cleveland team lead the league in ERA (2.78) and home runs (156). They had also won the World Series a few years earlier in 1948 so some players had experience on the biggest stage. This was a team that had 5 Hall Of Famers on it. They had everything going for them…until this happened in Game 1.

New York Daily News Archive. Getty Images.

Life comes at you fast when the greatest all-around baseball player ever makes the greatest catch in World Series history against you. The Indians lost that Game 1 to Willie Mays and the Giants in extra innings. It was the closest they would come to a win. They would end up being outscores 21-9 in what would be the only World Series win for Willie Mays. The Giants franchise wouldn't win another title until Buster Posey and the 2010 Giants won it all.

The Indians? They still haven't won another title since 1948 despite making it to the World Series in 1954, 1995, 1997 and 2016.