The Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros will face each other in the World Series starting on Tuesday night at Minute Maid park.

Both teams were able to close out the championship series in Game 6 to move on to the Fall Classic. 

Atlanta Finally Moves Forward

Atlanta fans had themselves quite the weekend. They managed to not blow another 3-1 series lead and the Falcons kicked in a game-winning field goal Sunday against Miami.

Atlanta fans right now:

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The Braves have gone through so much loss in the last year and were able to overcome it all and make it to their first World Series since 1999. After a heartbreaking loss in the NLCS last season to the Dodgers, a torn ACL to superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. in early July, the indefinite suspension of Marcell Ozuna (3rd in NL MVP in 2020) at the beginning of the year, and barely making it over the .500 mark through most of the season, Atlanta was able to prevail.

I want to give props to the Braves’ general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, who had one of the best trade deadlines to date to help them make their playoff push. In the month of July, the Braves acquired Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, and Eddie Rosario. They all played a huge role in the surge they went on through the months of August and September. Rosario has arguably been the hottest hitter in baseball during the postseason, and all they had to give up for him was some cash and Pablo Sandoval…

The Braves pitching has been dominant during this year’s postseason. The team has a 3.41 ERA during the playoffs. They have had outstanding performances from their starters, and their relievers have been, for the most part, lights out. They handled the Brewers in 4 in the NLDS, and none other than Freddie Freeman delivered the clutchest hit of the series that won it for the Braves.

Atlanta sure did take advantage of their home field in the first two games against the dodgers and delivered two walk-off wins to jump ahead 2-0 in the NLCS. 

The Dodgers weren’t going to go down without a fight, though. They made a comeback after being down 5-2 in the eighth inning of Game 3 to avoid going down 3-0 in the series. After getting destroyed by Eddie Rosario and losing 9-2 in Game 4, the Dodgers bats came alive in Game 5 and were able to win 11-2 to make it a 3-2 series. 

After Game 5, there were still doubts about this Braves team considering what happened in last year’s NLCS. But, Rosario came up big once again and provided the three-run home run that sealed the deal against the Dodgers.

Houston Wins Third ALCS in last Five Years

Houston continues their dominance in the AL after winning 5-0 Saturday night over the Red Sox, making it their third win in five straight years making the ALCS.

Somehow, the Astros went through this year barely recognized for how good they were actually doing. They quietly made their way to the two seed in the playoffs and showed that they should be looked at as the team to beat in not only the AL, but arguably in all of Major League Baseball. Their lineup top to bottom is just ridiculous. I mean, they have the AL batting champ, Yuli Guerriel (.319), batting SEVENTH in the lineup. And right in front of him is Kyle Tucker who has been one of the best hitters in baseball this year.

Houston defeated the White Sox in their ALDS matchup in four games. They averaged eight runs scored per game. Weirdly enough, the Astros and White Sox had very similar stats when it came to offensive numbers and ERA in the series. The problem for the White Sox was leaving runners on. It seemed constant that they either grounded into double plays to kill innings, or struck out in big spots. The Astros offense did not slow down in the series, and that is why they were able to seemingly handle Chicago with ease.

Going into the ALCS, the Astros were heavily favored by the public. They were losing most of Game 1 until Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa came up with two clutch home runs to help lift them to a 1-0 series lead. 

Games two and three were all Boston. The bats came alive for the Red Sox, including three grand slams in those games. Things were looking spotty for Houston after that, and Boston carried a 2-1 lead in Game 4 looking to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Even though Altuve had a few defensive mishaps, he made up for it big time at the plate. He came up and hit another home run to tie the ball game at two runs a piece in the top of the eighth inning.

That led to the infamous Laz Diaz non-strike call that inevitably led to pinch-hitter Jason Castro to drive in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning. They then poured it on that inning (all with two outs) with seven runs and swung the momentum of the entire series. Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia threw gems in Games 5 and 6 while Yordan Alavrez went absolutely ballistic with the bat and shut down the Red Sox World Series hopes.

Finale: 2021 World Series

According to Fanduel Sportsbooks odds, the Astros (-150) are favored to win the World Series over the Braves (+125). 

The two hottest hitters on the planet will get to face off against each other on the biggest stage, and I sure do hope they both stay hot because it has been super entertaining.

That won’t be the only big story line going into the World Series, though. Two legends in their own right, Dusty Baker and Freddie Freeman, will finally get their shots to win a ring. 

Dusty has won as a player, but he has long awaited to win one as a manager. He has had his chance with the Giants back in the 90s and 2000s, and he has fallen short a couple times with some good Nationals teams. Then he ends up getting replaced when the blame really should not have been on him. You have to feel happy for the guy if you are a baseball fan. He is a great manager and an even better man. He has won his second pennant in his 24 years managing, still searching for that championship. 

After waiting 12 long seasons in the league for this moment, the reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman gets his shot at competing for a World Series title. I can’t imagine how heartbroken he was after being so close last year and not making it. This year was a challenge for the team, and he was an integral part of the team’s major success in the second half of this season and during the playoffs. Like Dusty, he is outstanding on and off the field and could not be more happy to make it to the World Series.

I think it is safe to say that most of America will be rooting for the Braves to beat the Astros. But if you don’t have a horse in this race, it might be a good idea to root for one of these guys because they both deserve it.

The Matchup

If you ask any baseball fan who has the better lineup, they will most likely say the Astros without hesitation… and they are probably right. But don’t sleep on this Braves lineup. Those Bravos can do some serious damage, and they have shown as much after the trade deadline and throughout the playoffs. They were able to put up 53 runs against the best pitching team in MLB during the NLCS. If the Astros top of the lineup gets hot, though, it can be virtually impossible to stop that offense from scoring runs.

As for the pitching staff, I think it is fair to say that Atlanta has the edge on that front. The three-man rotation the Braves can run with of Charlie Morton, Max Fried, and Ian Anderson is very, very strong. The performances of Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia in the last two games of the ALCS were outstanding, but does that say more about them or just the Red Sox bats going cold? It also doesn’t help that their ace, Lance McCullers, is out for the remainder of the year. Both of the bullpens are pretty even and have been performing extremely well during the postseason. It all depends on who to bring in and when it is the right moment for the managers to do so to determine who wins the bullpen battle.

Not all fans should go into this thinking it is an easy win for the Astros. The Braves have proved all postseason that they are for real. One big point of emphasis for Atlanta during the World Series is to put the Astros away when they can. Houston scored 27, yes, 27 runs with two outs in the ALCS against the Red Sox. Brian Snitker has to be on top of it when it comes to managing the game and his bullpen. 

And for that reason alone, it is imperative that the Astros jump on the Braves pitchers early. Atlanta has a much better pitching staff than the Red Sox, so they are going to want to get the runs when they can. They especially want their first three in the lineup (Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, and Alex Bregman) to heat up. They batted a combined .205 average in the ALCS and still managed to put up big offensive numbers.

Two great managers, two great teams. It can’t get any better than this.

I guess it’s time to give a prediction, and I’m going to go with the Houston Astros in 7. The Braves are going to fight this one out to the end. Their pitching is just too good to not go at least six with the Astros. But with the playoff experience and how good their line up is, I think they will take the series in a dramatic seven games.

First pitch in Houston is for 8:09 p.m. Tuesday night on your local FOX stations. Game one’s pitching matchup will feature Charlie Morton for the Braves against Framber Valdez for the Astros.