Astros, Braves battle for 2021 World Series Title


(Photo courtesy of FanSided).

Braves pitcher Charlie Morton walks off the field after being hit with a comebacker in the third inning. X-Rays would later show he suffered a fractured right fibula.

Jack Beyer, Staff Writer

With the 2021 Major League Baseball (MLB) season coming to a close, the Atlanta Braves have won the World Series. They competed against the Houston Astros who came from the American League. They finished 88-73, winning the NL East before upsetting the Dodgers to win the N.L. pennant.

The series ended in game six with the Braves, winning 7-0. The series started in Houston for game one and two at Minute Maid Park, the home field for the Astros. They then traveled to Truist Park in Atlanta,  for games three, four and five, and then finished the series back in Houston. Here is a recap for all the games you might’ve missed…

Game One: Braves-6 Astros-2

Framber Valdez started off on the bump for the Astros. He came into the World Series having an overall Earned Run Average (ERA) of 3.14 and an overall record of 11-6 as a starter, which isn’t bad compared to some other guys in the league who have above five. The Braves got off to a quick start, scoring five of their six runs in the first three innings. The first run was scored from a third pitch bomb by designated hitter, Jorge Soler. Valdez only lasted two innings after giving up eight hits and five earned runs. Charlie Morton was on the mound for the Braves, only lasting 2.1 innings giving up one hit. He exited the game after being hit with a comebacker to the mound from Astros’ Yuli Gurriel. X-Rays later showed he suffered a right fibula fracture. Big hits  from Austin Riley and Freddie Freeman helped lead the Braves to take game one from the Astros.

Game Two: Astros-7 Braves-2

After a tough loss the night before, the Astros looked to bounce back quickly, and they did indeed. José Urquidy was the starter for the night, and he shined. Urquidy entered the game with an ERA of 3.62 and a record of 7-3. He went five innings, allowing only two earned runs on six hits with seven strikeouts. A huge second inning by Houston helped them put four runs on the board, and they led 5-2 only in the second inning. Max Fried was on the hill for the Braves. He went five innings as well, letting up five runs on seven hits. With Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud having an RBI in the fifth inning hopefully sparking something for the team, but the Braves drop game two having the Astros tie the series 1-1.

Astros pitcher José Urquidy  throwing the opening pitch in game two at Minute Maid Park. Astros would  go on to tie the series 1-1 after a 7-2 win (Photo courtesy of The Athletic).

Game Three: Braves-2 Astros-0

This was a huge statement game for both teams because whoever wins this game has a chance to take the momentum for the series. Ian Anderson was on the mound for the Braves after traveling back home to Atlanta. He came into the game having an overall ERA of 3.58 and a record of 9-5 as a starter.

Anderson was stellar as he went five innings, allowing no hits and only three walks while striking out four. Braves third baseman Austin Riley came up with an RBI double in third, followed by a Travis d’Arnaud home run innings later. Luis Garcia was on the bump for the Astros having an ERA of 3.30 coming into the start. He went 3.2 innings allowing one earned run off of three hits and four walks to add to his six strikeouts. Relief pitching was stronger, but wasn’t enough as the Braves took game three and went up in the series 2-1.

Game Four: Braves-3 Astros-2

After a huge win the previous night, the Braves looked to come back and win game four to be in the driver’s seat to win their first World Series since 1995. Dylan Lee was on the hill for the Braves and he became the first player in MLB history to make his first career start in a World Series game. Lee struggled to find the strike zone early, only lasting 0.1 innings after giving up one earned run off of one hit and two walks. Kyle Wright came in attempting to clean up his mess, but struggled as well lasting 4.2 innings giving up one earned run off of five hits and three walks. The relievers came up huge for the Braves. Zack Greinke was the starter for the Astros and dominated. He gave up no runs on four hits and no walks. However, the relievers struggled for Houston. Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario hit a stand up double to start off the sixth inning, followed by an Austin Riley single to score him. Then picking up where they left off in the seventh, Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler had back-to-back solo home runs, which sealed the deal for Atlanta as they won game four and were one win away from being World Series champions.

Game Five: Astros-9 Braves-5

With the Braves being up in the series 3-1, the Astros needed to answer back to keep their chances alive of staying in contention to win it all. Framber Valdez was the starter once again after resting up from game one, and the Braves jumped on him. Valdez only lasted 2.2 innings after center fielder Adam Duvall had a grand slam in the bottom of the first, which was later followed by a solo home run from first baseman Freddie Freeman. Those would be the only runs scored from Atlanta, all happening within the first three innings. Tucker Davidson was the starter for the Braves, entering the game with 3.60 ERA. Davidson only lasted two innings after an RBI double from Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, continued with an RBI sacrifice fly from catcher Martín Maldonado. The runs kept coming in after this, having an RBI single from outfielder Marwin González and another RBI single from shortstop Carlos Correa. Added help from Martín Maldonado again to score another run helped the Astros keep their championship dreams alive taking game five and forcing a game six.

Game Six: Braves-7 Astros-0

Multiple memes started floating around of the Braves blowing a 3-1 because they are from Atlanta (sorry Falcons fans). The Braves had no intention of letting this happen. They looked to Max Fried, hoping for a bounce back game from game two. The hurler dominated, pitching six full innings only allowing four hits with zero runs, zero walks and six strikeouts. The entire Braves pitching staff came to play. As for the Astros, things got off to a hot start. A nice diving play by right fielder Kyle Tucker off the bat of Eddie Rosario. Outs followed by Jorge Soler and Freddie Freeman ended the first.

However, that seemed to be the best part of Luis Garcia’s outing, only lasting 2.2 innings after giving up three earned runs on two hits. Then, a man by the name of Jorge Soler came in and ended the game, in only the third inning. With runners on first and second and two outs, the Braves turned to Soler for a spark. They did more than anyone would’ve ever expected. He worked himself to a 3-2 count, and hit a home run. But not any home run. Soler’s home run traveled 446 total feet at 110 miles per hour. And it went out of the stadium. Over the Astros’ Minute Maid Park train tracks. It was possibly the most monstrous home run seen the entire season.

Another huge fifth inning led by a Dansby Swanson two-run home run and an RBI double from Freddie Freeman put the Braves in front 6-0 heading into the top of the sixth. A dominant outing containing four strikeouts from Braves reliever Tyler Maztek got the Braves back up to the plate to add on one more run from a Freddie Freeman solo home run. Heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Braves brought in closer Will Smith. A base hit from Astros left fielder Michael Brantley gave the Astros hope, but the defense was equivalent to an iron curtain. A flyout caught by Adam Duvall got one out, followed by a pop out to left field caught by Eddie Rosario. The Braves were one out away from winning it all. Yuli Gurriel came up to the plate, worked his count to no balls and two strikes, and rolled over the next pitch. It was fielded cleanly by Swanson who threw it to Freeman at first. Just like that… the Braves are World Series champions.

With the Braves winning from an effective pitching outing from Max Fried, he was awarded the game six player of the game. As for the Most Valuable Player (MVP), it went to one of the most consistent hitters in the series. He barely played in the field, but was a huge part of the hitting aspect.Jorge Soler was the 2021 World Series MVP.

With fans happy that someone finally took down the Astros, their attention turns to next year, where multiple stars such as Max Scherzer, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager and Kris Bryant have a chance of being acquired by their favorite teams. Fans are already looking forward to the 2022 season, even though the current season just ended.

Braves outfielder DH Jorge Soler holding up the MVP trophy. Soler won the award after having one of the best averages in the series. (Photo courtesy of New York Times).