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Power of 'What If?' Boils Over After Ronald Acuña Jr.'s Lack of Hustle

ATLANTA — A one-run postseason loss is invariably defined by the burden of its what if, and Game 1 of the NLDS left the Braves with a lot.

If Max Fried had been left in for a bit more after protecting a two-run lead with a perfect seventh inning. If Chris Martin hadn’t suffered an oblique injury on a warm-up pitch that pulled him out before he’d even faced a batter. If St. Louis had seen a ball down the line curve into foul territory, or a weak flare go for an easy out instead of a hit, or otherwise had some small tweak of fortune that did not match so well with the idea of Cardinals Devil Magic.