After a 162 game regular season and a scintillating postseason, which then created an exciting postseason experience, all eyes turn to Game One of the World Series which begins tonight between the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves. Both ballclubs fought and clawed their way into the Fall Classic so there is a lot to unpack when this series gets underway. Coming out of the American League, the Astros have defied their critics since a bombshell investigation into their elaborate sign-stealing apparatus was released ahead of the 2020 season.
What To Expect In The 2021 World Series
Manager Dusty Baker has kept this ship afloat and remains one of baseball’s most respected figures, despite his association with the Astros. Tenured franchise stars such as Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman remain from Houston's 2017 championship team and offer a wealth of postseason experience. More important than their intangible impact on the clubhouse, they are dangerous hitters in the Astros' lineup, all posting an OPS+ at least 10% better than league average.
Even though the Astros endured their worse regular season performance (minus last year’s COVID-impacted season) since becoming a title contender in 2017, their 95 win total was still the second-highest in the AL this season.
If the Astros are the picture of consistency, then the Braves represent what happens when a team gets hot at the right time. Midway through this season, the NL East competitor was two games below .500 and stayed that way until August 8th. But since then? The Braves have won 38 out of 58 games including the seven games needed to make the World Series.
First and third basemen Austin Riley and Freddie Freeman were the definitions of clutch as they slugged one big hit after another, combining to produce 64 home runs and a .300 batting average during the regular season. The new National League champion arguably has the advantage when it comes to pitching since aces Charlie Morton and Max Fried are building upon their solid regular seasons. Witty outfielder Eddie Rosario is in the midst of one of the hottest playoff runs ever; against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, Rosario tallied 14 hits in just 25 at-bats, tying the record for most hits in a single postseason series ever, despite the series only lasting six games.
Yet, when you look at both the Astros and Braves, one thing always comes to the forefront: Emotion.
Regardless of their circumstances and surroundings, both teams have authored the kind of game-changing moments that define postseason baseball. The Astros produced those moments against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS and the Braves did the same thing against the LA Dodgers in the NLCS. This series has the possibility of going the entire way, and only one thing can decide the winner. Who will be the most clutch when it matters most? We shall see!
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