Over in a hurry: A couple bad days end MLB seasons

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Minnesota Twins pitcher Jake Odorizzi spends a few moments alone on the mound after the 2020 season ended as the Twins lost the American League wild-card series to the Houston Astros, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Astros beat them 3-1 in Game 2, Odorizzi did not pitch in the series. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Joey Votto was at a bit of a loss to describe what had happened to the Reds. Two games, 22 innings and zero runs: Just like that, Cincinnati and its faltering offense had been eliminated from the MLB playoffs by the Atlanta Braves.

“There's so few opportunities to show your true selves in a two-game series,” Votto said Thursday.

For fans who enjoy chaos, drama and sheer randomness, the past three days provided it. For good baseball teams that endured months of semi-quarantine, COVID-19 protocols and eerily quiet stadiums, watching a season end in less than 36 hours was brutal.

It's not just the Reds who are done. The Cleveland Indians were swept away by the New York Yankees, the AL Central champ Minnesota Twins were bounced by the Houston Astros and the up-and-coming Toronto Blue Jays were pushed aside by the Tampa Bay Rays.

In Thursday's nightcap, the Milwaukee Brewers had their season end after a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Two games, two losses, wait 'til next year.

“It's not a good feeling. It's a bad feeling,” Reds manager David Bell said. “There's no other words that can make you feel better when you compete all year, you battle and you work year-round and put everything you have into it, and you lose.”

Major League Baseball's history has been built around the long haul, so this year's 60-game regular season was quite an adjustment from the usual 162-game grind. Now with the switch to the 16-team playoffs as part of the COVID-19 altered schedule, the opening-round, best-of-three series became another shock to the system.