The last time the Atlanta Braves made an appearance in the World Series was in 1999. Their last World Series championship was in 1995. The irony of them being in the Fall Classic this season is that the commissioner’s office took the All-Star game away from Atlanta, Georgia due to what they saw as ‘racist’ voter ID laws. Now they are here on the sports biggest stage. For the Houston Astros they are in their third World Series appearance in the last 5 seasons. They won their first World Series title in 2017, but that championship has an asterisk next to it due to the fact they were cheating for most of the season by stealing signs electronically. The irony around the 2021 World Series looms quite large this year. Let’s see if the play on the field will take away from what’s happening off of it.
Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros
In order for the Braves to eliminate the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers, they had to beat them at their own game. Eddie Rosario, the NLCS MVP, had an outstanding series with a .560 AVG 3 HR 9 RBI stat line for the series. Freddie Freeman started the series in a slump, but once it went to LA his outlook improved to finish batting .286 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI. Former Dodger Joc Pederson drove in 4 runs for the series. Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson were solid batting .280 and .261 respectively and playing great defense up the middle. Their pitching needed to be better than the Dodgers and it was especially in the bullpen. Tyler Matzek could have been considered a favorite for NLCS MVP with his 11 strikeouts in his 5 appearances. A.J. Minter and closer Will Smith didn’t give up a single run in each of their 4 appearances. If the rotation of Charlie Morton, Ian Anderson and Max Fried pitch better than they did in the NLCS, they will be a tough out for the World Series.
Houston’s pitching staff ended up being far better than Boston’s in the ALCS. Especially towards the end of the series. Framber Valdez was the best in the rotation with a 2.53 ERA in his two starts. Zack Greinke and Luis Garcia will have to be better in the World Series. Kendall Graveman, Cristian Javier, Ryne Stanek and Phil Maton were the unsung heroes from the bullpen against Boston. Closer Ryan Pressly didn’t get many opportunities to save games, but he is their best option in a close game when they have a lead. The Astros bats were on point in the ALCS. Yordan Alvarez batted .522 with 1 home run and 6 RBI. No question he was the ALCS MVP. Yuli Gurriel was his usual self batting .455 and driving in 6 runs. Kyle Tucker drove in 8 runs and had 2 home runs. This was happening while Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa were relatively quiet, but produced in big spots of the series. If Houston’s entire lineup is clicking they will be tough to defeat. They have home field for the series, but Atlanta has shown in this Postseason that they aren’t afraid to steal one or two games away on the road.
Braves in 6 games