World Series Recap – Tuesday, 11/2

Your 2021 World Series Champions, the Atlanta Braves!

Game 6. Here we go…

It was a story of cautious disbelief for Atlanta.

The Braves sat below .500 at the beginning of August and had lost their best hitter and pitcher. To even make it into October was a remarkable feat. But to stand just one game away from their first World Series title since 1995? That seemed like a fever dream.

They still needed one more win. Yes, the Braves experienced extraordinary jubilation in the first inning of Game 5. After Adam Duvall’s grand slam, it seemed like all the momentum stood on their side. But as the innings flew by, a buzzsaw Houston offense gradually chipped away at that lead.

As for the Astros, in the past five years, they have made it to three World Series and two additional Championship Series. In 2017, they won it all — their first championship in franchise history. A title that since then has been marred by a sign-stealing scandal.

Nonetheless, this Houston team has a core group comprised of battle-worn players that continually display an incredible resolve.  Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and Yuli Gurriel have played in more postseason games together than any other four-player combo in baseball history. Time and time again, when it seems as though this Houston team stands on the precipice of elimination, they grind and fight their way back to make things interesting.

In the sports world, Atlanta has experienced heartbreak after heartbreak. No lead is safe against Houston. We saw that in Game 5.

But that was last month. Now, it’s November baseball. Would Game 6 be different?

 

Braves 7, Astros 0

 

We have seen some chaotic starts this World Series.

From Jorge Soler’s leadoff Game 1 dinger to Adam Duvall’s energizing — but ultimately fruitless — grand slam, the first inning has seen a lot of fireworks.

However, on Tuesday, the festivities began with a different kind of electrifying play, thanks to Kyle Tucker.

With the Braves bats going down 1 – 2 – 3, they turned it over to Max Fried to keep the score tied. In every contest but Game 3, at least one team has scored in the first inning. Would the Astros continue that trend?

The potent Houston offense managed to find some weaknesses within the Atlanta infield as Jose Altuve singled (shoutout to Mr. October), and then Michael Brantley dribbled a ball down the first baseline.

A vacuum suddenly appeared within the city of Atlanta as everyone watching collectively gasped and/or shrieked while watching Fried and Brantley get entangled at first.

Somehow, Fried’s ankle stayed intact, and he also kept pitching in the game. In fact, moments later, with two outs and runners on second and third, Fried rebounded by throwing his fastest pitch of the entire season to strike out Yuli Gurriel.

A quick and relatively uneventful second inning gave way to a shocking third inning. How so? Well, Jorge Soler strolled to the plate with two on. And with a full count, Soler gave Astros fans flashbacks of Albert Pujols as he absolutely launched a pitch into orbit.

A bat drop with authority.

Of course, we need one more angle of that moonshot.

Unsurprisingly, that was the hardest (109.6 MPH EV), and farthest (446 feet) hit ball of the entire night. The xBA on that? 1.000.

Atlanta couldn’t get ahead of themselves, though. Their pitching staff still had to neutralize the best offense in baseball for another seven innings. And in the third and fourth, the Astros leadoff batters reached base on singles, only to have their rally immediately squashed with double plays. It seemed as though Houston’s hitters were overmatched as Fried and company showed up ready to absolutely ball out.

The Braves bats, on the other hand, were red hot against a relatively inexperienced Astros pitching staff. In the fifth, Dansby Swanson did his best Soler impression by launching his own rocket into outer space. Just listen to this metallic thud as the ball tattoos the area above the “Crawford Boxes.”

Acuña and the bench immediately shot out of the dugout:

5 – 0 Atlanta. Moments later, it became 6 – 0 as Freddie Freeman joined in on the fun with a sky-scraping double of his own.

The innings kept ticking on, and Houston’s prolific offense was nowhere to be seen. But honestly, with how on Fried looked, it seemed like an almost impossible task. He looked like he stepped straight out of the nasty 1995 rotation with Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz.

After six innings, Fried walked off the mound and could rest easy in the dugout as he had just delivered the biggest start of his young career.

His final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, and 6 K.

With the Braves ready to turn it over to Tyler Matzek and company, they must’ve felt like the World Series championship was within their reach. But they couldn’t get ahead of themselves. They probably felt that same way after Duvall’s grand slam in Game 5, too.

Nine outs to go.

Remember how Freeman barely missed a home run in the fifth? Freeman’s next time up, he did not miss.

The three home runs crushed by the Braves were the three hardest-hit balls of the entire night.

While the Astros struggled at the plate, they flashed plenty of leather throughout the game.

Joc Pederson didn’t look as smooth as that with his rally-preventing play moments later.

But nonetheless, Atlanta had a 7 – 0 lead as they sat just six outs away from championship glory. And after Tyler Matzek struck out the side in the eighth, they inched three outs closer.

Ozzie Albies wanted to make sure that the fans at home were paying attention…

… because the 2021 MLB season had just one inning left.

Will Smith stepped on the mound. Michael Brantley gave Astros fans a brief moment of excitement with his leadoff single. But three batters later, Swanson fielded a ground ball…

The Atlanta Braves are the 2021 World Series Champions!!!!!

Your WS MVP: Jorge Soler, of course. He went 6-for-20 with 3 BB, 3 HR, and 6 RBIs, good for a slash line of .300/.391/.800.

Many people within the Braves organization have waited a long time for this moment. Freddie Freeman has spent 12 seasons fighting for that goal. Third base coach Ron Washington first debuted as a hitter for the ’77 Dodgers. In 2011, his team was just one strike away. Finally, after half a century in professional baseball, he had his ring.

And then there’s Brian Snitker, who has also been waiting for this moment since the 70s.

What seemed like an impossible dream in the summer has become a reality.

Congratulations, Atlanta!

 

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Alex Kleinman

Journalist who loves the Yankees and the Bears. One gives me strength, the other leads me to existential dread. When I'm not obsessing over baseball, you can find me at a concert, hiking in a National Park or chasing my dog, Frankie, who has probably stolen one of my socks.

  • Jayson says:

    Basically the Astros lost the World Series cause they were one of the best teams during the regular season while on another hand the Braves were one of the worst and got luckily qualified cause they were in a weak if not the weakest division.

    I hardly understand how Playoffs are The thing lol.

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