World Series Post Series Analysis: Braves Pitching Sets Tone for First Title since 1995
While the Houston Astros had a much better record than the Atlanta Braves during the regular season, it was Atlanta who was by far the hottest team in the World Series.
Not only did they win the World Series four games to two, but they dominated both on the mound and at the plate for much of the series.
As a result, Atlanta was able to bring home their first championship since 1995, and the third in a row for the National League.
Breakdown Of Each Game
Game 1: Braves 6, Astros 2
Game 2: Braves 2, Astros 7
Game 3: Astros 0, Braves 2
Game 4: Astros 2, Braves 3
Game 5: Astros 9, Braves 5
Game 6: Braves 7, Astros 0
Atlanta suffered a huge blow after Charlie Morton had to leave Game One with a broken leg and was out for the rest of the series. With just Max Fried and Ian Anderson left as part of the normal rotation, they had to rely on bullpen games in both Game Four and Five.
Still, the pitching staff as a whole was up to the task as they collectively had a 3.06 ERA, 1.208 WHIP, and 55 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched.
Max Fried struggled in Game Two, but he was sensational in the Game Six winner. In that final game, he went six innings, allowing no runs on four hits and striking out six.
Like the Braves, the Astros were without their top starter, Lance McCullers Jr., who had suffered a strained forearm on his throwing arm in the ALDS. Still, with the likes of Luis Garcia, Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy, and others, the Astros thought they had the depth to weather the injury.
Unfortunately for Houston fans, in six games, the starters pitched a combined 20 innings. No matter how dominant the bullpen was, and they pitched exceptionally, they just could not make up for the lack of innings from the starting pitching.
One thing is certain, the Braves’ bats came to play in this World Series. Collectively, they hit .239/.303/.443 as a team, but they had some players who absolutely went off.
Jorge Soler (.300 avg, 3 HR), Travis d’Arnaud (.292 avg, 2 HR), Dansby Swanson (2 HR, 3 RBI), and Freddie Freeman (.318 avg, 2 HR, 5 RBI) all shined at varying points throughout this series.
While they struck out more often than the Astros (61 versus 55), they also took advantage of pushing runners across at a much more consistent clip.
Overall, they hit a total of 11 home runs, which far surpassed that of Houston. In Game Six alone, they hit three bombs.
If one just watched this series, they would never know that the Astros had the best offense in baseball. After averaging over five runs per game during the regular season, they averaged just 3.33 during this six-game stretch.
Most notable was their lack of power. While Atlanta hit 11 home runs, the Astros hit just two, and both of them were by Jose Altuve.
The Astros just could not overcome the struggles of Alex Bregman (.095 avg., 2 RBI) and Yordan Alvarez (.100 avg, 0 RBI). In fact, Bregman struggled so badly that he was eventually moved down to seventh in the lineup starting in Game 5 after hitting third previously.
World Series MVP
Jorge Soler had an impeccable World Series run and earned the Most Valuable Player award. Not only did he hit a home run to start the scoring for the Braves in the clinching Game Six, but he produced all series long.
In 20 World Series at bats, he hit .300/.391/.800 with three home runs, six runs batted in, and four runs scored.
Looking To 2022
Looking ahead to next season, both of these teams hold strong odds of winning it all in 2022. The Astros currently have the second-best odds in baseball of winning it all at +700. The Braves are +1400 (sixth-best odds) to repeat.
For Houston, they will have a big void to fill in Carlos Correa. The team recently offered him a five-year, $160 million contract offer, but it is expected to be rebuffed.
The Braves’ Freddie Freeman enters free agency this offseason, but it is widely expected that he will eventually re-sign with the team. They also have postseason heroes Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario hitting the open market.
Regardless, both of these teams have staying power, and it would not be shocking to see either team competing for the World Series again in 2022.
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