Braves take on Astros in 2021 World Series

The American League champion Houston Astros will meet the champions of the National League Atlanta Braves in the 117th edition of the Fall Classic. The Astros are no stranger to the big stage, having played in five consecutive ALCS’s and are playing in their third World Series in the last five years. Atlanta is returning to the big stage for the first time since 1999 and has not won it all since the midst of their 90s-era dynasty in 1995.

DAVID WARRINGTON

After 208 days, 162 regular season games for each team and three rounds of the playoffs, it is finally time for the pinnacle of professional baseball. The 2021 World Series is slated to begin Tuesday, Oct. 26, between the National League Champion Atlanta Braves and the American League Champion Houston Astros.

Competing in their 151st season as a franchise, and their 56th since moving to Atlanta, the Braves finished the regular season with an 88-73 record, finishing first in the NL East, 6 1/2 games up from the Philadelphia Phillies. The turning point in the season for the Braves came in August. Facing a nine-game road trip, they dominated, sweeping all nine games and taking a commanding lead in the division that they would not relinquish.

The Braves took on the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Division Series, defeating them three games to one. In the NL Championship Series, Atlanta took on the reigning World Series Champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and pulled off an upset, winning four games to two to clinch their spot in the World Series.

Making their World Series appearance even more impressive is the fact that Atlanta lost their star player, Ronald Acuna Jr., in July with a torn ACL. General manager Alex Anthopoulos made several midseason acquisitions to improve his team, trading for outfielders Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Adam Duval and Eddie Rosario, the latter of whom was this year’s NLCS Most Valuable Player. 

Carrying the load for the Braves has been longtime first baseman Freddie Freeman. After 11 years with Atlanta, Freeman is finally competing in a World Series. This is the Braves’ first World Series appearance since 1999, and they’re looking for their first World Series championship since 1995.

Atlanta’s opponent will be the Houston Astros. Competing in their 56th season as a franchise, Houston went 95-67 in 2021, finishing first in the AL West, five games in front of the Seattle Mariners. An early cold streak where they lost nine of 10 in a row couldn’t halt the Astros, who went on an 11-game winning streak shortly before the All Star break.

The Astros took down the Chicago White Sox in the AL Division Series, three games to one. They continued their postseason run by downing the Boston Red Sox in the AL Championship Series, four games to two. 

It’s been a wide range of players getting it done for the Astros. They have had three separate players, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker, go over the 30 home run mark. Alvarez has been virtually unstoppable thus far in the postseason, hitting over .400 and claiming the ALCS MVP in the series against the Red Sox. 

Houston has been something of a World Series regular the past few seasons, making an appearance in 2019 and winning it in 2017. However, many have called into question the legitimacy of that championship due to the discovery that the Astros were using video cameras to steal signs during home games.

Games one and two of the series will be played at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, while games three, four and five if necessary will be contested at Atlanta’s Truist Park. If the series needs a sixth or seventh game, it will return to Houston.