Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Here we go! The final showdown of the baseball season is here with the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves for World Series glory set to get underway today with Game 1 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Astros are in the World Series due to a high powered offense that has scored 67 runs in 10 playoff games, with six of their seven wins coming by at least five runs. Forty-five of those 67 runs came with two outs, due to the Astros having the lowest strikeout rate in the majors during the regular season.
The Astros were down 2-1 to the Boston Red Sox and won the final three games to clinch the ALCS (American League Championship Series), capitalized by a 5-0 shutout of the Red Sox. They were led by rookie pitcher Luis Garcia, who gave up just one hit in pitching five and two-thirds of an inning, while their designated hitter, and the ALCS MVP, Yordan Alvarez, had two doubles, a triple, and a single in Game 6.
Alvarez hit .522 over the six games and his 12 hits are tied for the most in a playoff series in franchise history, and his seven opposite-field hits are tied for the most by any player in a postseason series over the past 15 seasons. The Astros two-out runs in the ALCS are the most in a single playoff series in major league history, while also having the most scored two-out runs in postseason history (45) for a team before the World Series.
On the other side we have the Braves, who are just coming off knocking out the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. Their 88 wins are the fewest of the 10 playoff teams, and this is the first World Series without at least one 100-win team since 2015. The Braves left fielder, Eddie Rosario, was named the NLCS MVP after batting .560/.607/1.040 in six NLCS games, becoming the first player to combine at least two go-ahead homers, one walk-off hit and a .500-plus batting average in the same postseason series.
From delivering a walk-off single in Game 2 against Kenley Jensen, homering twice in Game 4, or even his three-home runner against Walker Buehler, Rosario made a significant difference in the Braves bullpen and put the Braves ahead for good to close out the series against the Dodgers. So what’s at stake for these two teams?
The Astros are trying to prove to the world they can win a championship fair and square after their past cheating sins of banging trash cans, sign stealing, and so forth from 2017-19, ultimately winning the 2017 title. This is their third World Series appearance in the last five seasons, and with a title, without an asterisk, they can cement themselves as one of the best teams of all time. Their core four of shortstop Carlos Correra, second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, and first baseman Yuli Gurriel have been there all along. Altuve has won an MVP award, Altuve and Gurriel have won batting titles, Bregman has finished second in the MVP voting.
Questions loom on Correra’s future, as he will be on the free agent market at the conclusion of the World Series. This is the Astros core four’s chance to secure their place as one of the greatest infields ever with a clean title victory.
The Braves haven’t made the World Series since 1999 and have only won one title in their franchise’s history, which was in 1995. Since then, the Braves have made 16 trips to the postseason since then without a championship, including 12 appearances since the 1999 World Series berth. It has been an impressive two-plus month run for the Braves, as they didn’t have a winning record until August 6th.
It should be an amazing World Series with the hot hitting Astros vs the resilient Braves. According to DraftKings Sportsbook the Astros are the series favorites with a-155 odds, winning the AL West division, and on the other side the Braves are +130 in what has been a run for the ages after starting off slow in the season, overcoming injuries to pitcher Mike Soroka, and All-Pro outfielder, Ronald Acuna Jr.
Let the Games begin!