Braves-Astros World Series Preview

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The 2021 World Series: the Houston Astros versus the Atlanta Braves. Will the Astros use playoff experience to their advantage after advancing to the World Series for the third time in the last five years? Or will the Braves be more motivated to bring home the trophy after winning their first pennant since 1999? Also, how will the NLCS and ALCS MVPs impact this year’s champion?

After an underwhelming first half of the season, the Atlanta Braves kicked it into high gear and rallied to win the NL East. The team moved on to defeat the tough NL Central division-winning Milwaukee Brewers in four games in the NLDS. Atlanta continued their path by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in what seemed to be a repeat of last year’s NLCS – though this year, the Braves came out on top. 

Winning the team’s first pennant this century was extra impactful for long-time Braves’ first baseman Freddie Freeman, saying in an MLB.com interview, “I think this might be the definition of pure joy.” Although Freeman made large contributions to the team’s NLCS win, the series MVP got handed to a different player.

Left fielder Eddie Rosario’s effect on this year’s NLCS was worthy of the MVP. He slashed an insane .560/.607/1.040, tying the record of any player in any postseason with 14 hits. In pennant-clinching game six, Rosario showcased his red-hot hitting with a decisive blast in the fourth inning. With two runners on base and two outs, Rosario hit the seventh pitch of the at-bat against Dodgers ace Walker Buehler just inside the right-field foul pole.

After the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker said, “It’s just amazing how locked in he is.” Even Buehler commented, saying Rosario is “on a different planet right now.” Despite his show-stopping success, Rosario isn’t satisfied. “I want more. I want to win the World Series.”

The 2017 cheating scandal is still on everyone’s minds, shown by the relentless booing whenever the team goes on the road.”

Switching over to the American League, the Houston Astros emerged victoriously and are on to their third World Series appearance in the last five years. The AL West champions went into Chicago for the ALDS and knocked out the AL Central winning White Sox in four games. After that, Houston eliminated the Boston Red Sox in six games in the ALCS.

The 2017 cheating scandal is still on everyone’s minds, shown by the relentless booing whenever the team goes on the road. However, shortstop Carlos Correa is trying to move past the controversy and prove that the Astros really are a championship-winning club. “Our motivation is to show the world we’re the best team in the world, and we’re one step closer.” Yordan Alvarez, the Astros’ ALCS MVP, was not on the 2017 team but has been a pivotal force helping the team reach Correa’s goal. 

Alvarez contributed like nobody else for the Astros in the ALCS. The designated hitter’s .522/.538/.870 slash line helped him become one of only two DHs ever to win the award in the ALCS. He also set the record for the highest average in ALCS history. Even more astoundingly, Alvarez became the first player to ever outhit the entire opposing team in the final two games of a postseason series. This amazing stat was essential to the Astros gaining the lead and eventually advancing to the World Series.

“I wasn’t here with the team in 2017, but I’ve gotten booed just as equally as anybody else. So I think we all have the same mentality that we really want to win a World Series to demonstrate that we are just a great team,” said Alvarez.

Eddie Rosario and the Braves are ready to go head to head with Yordan Alvarez and the Astros. So get ready for the first game of the 2021 World Series, Tuesday, October 26.

Stat and quote resources: MLB.com and @ESPNStatsInfo on Twitter.