2021 World Series: Astros vs. Braves

Underdogs Clinch the Ring- it’s a Homerun for the Braves

Kyle Zarnoch, Sports Editor

 “Left side, Swanson, to first… The Braves are World Champions!” says Joe Buck on FOX during the final out of the 2021 World Series.

 For the fourth time in franchise history the Atlanta Braves have become World Series champions. 

On November 2, 2021 in Houston, Texas, Yuli Gurriel, the Astros first baseman, swung at a pitch thrown by Braves closer, Will Smith, resulting in a “6-3” groundout to shortstop, Dansby Swanson, resulting in a Braves World Series win.

Coming into the season both teams according to ESPN’s “2021 MLB season preview: Power rankings, best (and worst) case and most exciting player for all 30 teams” both the Astros and Braves found themselves inside the top 10 after both making into the “Champion Series” in their respective divisional playoffs last season.  

The Braves were placed fourth after their impressive run in the playoffs forcing seven games on the to be World Series winners, Los Angeles Dodgers. You can bet the Braves didn’t take their foot off the pedal from that point on.  However, Atlanta’s journey to the playoffs wasn’t all that easy, after the first half of the season (the all star break) they found themselves with a 44-45 record. That would leave them 4 games back in the NL East, and out of playoff contention. 

The Astros found themselves at number nine in the preseason power rankings. Their regular season however compared to the Braves went much smoother as the Astros ended the season second in the American League with a record of 95-67, a run differential of +205, and had the most runs scored. 

Both teams’ journeys to the playoffs were the same regarding their games played. The “Division Series” for both teams ended 3-1 to their favor. Next in the “Champion Series” both teams’ series ended 4-2, sending Houston and Atlanta to the World Series.

This year’s matchup was all and more than MLB fans expected. Game one had a “17.5% increase in viewers” from their previous peak of viewership in Game 1 last year on FOX. The total number of viewers during their peak was over 12,500,000 million viewers. 

Life long Yankees fan and junior Craig Mager said, “ I was pumped to see the first game of this year’s series and how it was going to play out with these two great caliber teams.” 

Game one of the series went to the Braves after the now World Series M.V.P. Jorge Soler and teammate Adam Duvall both hit homeruns to surpass the Braves over the Astros. 

In game two it was all the Astros and specifically their offence. Houston had seven runs on nine hits and seemed like nothing could get in their way, especially the Braves ace Max Fried and their bullpen. 

The next two games the teams both battled until the last pitch. 

In game three the Braves pitching staff sealed the game for them, as they pitched a two hit shutout, on seven strikeouts and three walks. 

Game four was an exciting one as it looked to be all Astros early until history was broken in the sixth inning. Dansby Swanson, the eighth hitter in the lineup, blasted a solo homerun into the stands, tying the game. Following behind him in the ninth spot in the lineup was pinch hitter Jorge Soler. Soler went on to hit a homerun giving the Braves a late lead and the game winning run.

The series now turns into a must win situation for Houston. The Astros are down three wins to one, going into game five at Truist Park in Atlanta. 

With tensions high in the elimination game, the Astros were the ones to keep it cool. They strung up 12 hits resulting in nine runs, with good pitching performance from everyone out of their bullpen. Starting pitcher Framber Valdez gave up an early five runs within the first two and two thirds innings pitched, but like said the bullpen came in and was lights out. 

With the Astros taking game five and leaving Atlanta on a good note, they look to change the look of the series up in their home stadium Minute Maid Park. 

However the Braves had other plans… 

Game six was all Braves. Atlanta’s offence was red hot not to mention the extra help they got from their ace Max Fried as he pitched a gem throwing six innings, giving up only four hits and allowing zero runs. 

Early in the game Atlanta jumped out to a quick lead after they had two multi-run home runs. Once again Soler and Swanson were responsible for the home runs. Soler blasted a 446 foot home run, that sure felt like it went farther. Swansons home run sure didn’t go as far but it brought the same energy and more to both the crowd and MLB fans everywhere.

Senior Brian Wilcox said, “That home run, even though I’m not a Braves fan, was electric to watch. Seeing Soler hit the first one was already a lot and then when Dansby hit the second one that’s when I knew it was time to celebrate.” 

After these homeruns it was all Braves. Atlanta went on to add two more runs behind first baseman Freddie Freeman. Freeman hit an RBI double off of the left center wall scoring one, then later in the top of the seventh he hit a homerun of his own, ultimately capping off the offense for the night and the 2021 MLB season. 

From then on, Braves pitchers Tyler Matzeck and Will Smith shut it down, giving the Braves three innings, allowing only two hits, and sealing the World Series Championship. 

  With a batting average of .300, 3 Home runs, 6 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.191 in the World Series, Jorge Soler earned the Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player Award. 

Both teams following the end of the 2021 season are now faced with problems ahead but for the Atlanta Braves those come alongside a ring.