The World Series of 2021 was a significant moment in the MLB, as it marked the first time that all games took place on an exclusively digital platform.
The “world series 2021 winner” is the name of the game for this year. The World Series is an annual Major League Baseball (MLB) championship tournament between the American League and National League champions.
The Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros are tied at one game each in the 2021 World Series, which will be played in Atlanta on Friday.
So far in the series, what have we learned? What can we anticipate in the future? Has anything we’ve observed caused us to reconsider our early predictions for the Fall Classic?
Some of the crucial issues were posed to ESPN baseball gurus Bradford Doolittle, Buster Olney, Jesse Rogers, and David Schoenfield.
Through the first two games of the World Series, what has shocked you the most?
Charlie Morton’s Bob Gibson impersonation was rather impressive, Doolittle. There hasn’t been a lot of anything that has gone completely off-script. The Astros have widened the strike zone more than normal. Their two-game chase rate (39.1%) is far greater than their regular-season average and well exceeds the worst statistic for any club in the regular season (Marlins, 31.0 percent ). Even though it’s just two games, it’s worth watching, particularly because it’s not only Jose Siri’s start that’s pushing up the score. Alex Bregman has a 50% pursuit rate and has yet to get his first hit, while Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, and Chase McCormick all have chase rates of 50% or higher. Nonetheless, a betting man would wager that this would not continue.
Alex Bregman has always been one of baseball’s most confident players; in fact, his self-assurance is so strong that he wears No. 2 because he believes he should have been the first overall choice over Dansby Swanson. However, he seems to be absolutely bewildered at the plate, searching for the ball. That Teflon self-assurance has been shattered.
Rogers: Because I’ve followed the Astros throughout the playoffs, I’ll go over more than just the first two games. Out of their 12 postseason games this month, they’ve only had one game decided by a single run. There’s just one. Even with a ninth-inning home run, that one came close. In fact, every other game they’ve played thus far has been decided by four or more runs, whether they’ve won or lost. The first two games of this Series haven’t been very exciting, but that’s been the case for Houston throughout the playoffs.
What was the impact of the Braves losing their ace pitcher, Charlie Morton?
Before Game 2, I asked Astros manager Dusty Baker that question, and he was quite blunt. Dusty said, “Big.” “It’s the equivalent of us losing Lance McCullers.” He is correct. Morton would have started Game 5 and, if required, served in relief in Game 7. The Braves will now have to find out how to cover those innings over the following five days. Atlanta’s rotation had a theoretical advantage over the Astros, but until a hero emerges, that advantage may be lost.
Rogers: It will be felt in the late stages of the series. He had money in the bank for a late start or relief appearance, and Braves manager Brian Snitker confessed that his bullpen could have to put together two games. It’s why Max Fried’s five-inning outing in Game 2 became a talking point afterward. After being knocked about a little, he ate up some innings. For Games 4 and 5, they’ll require all of their arms. The greatest loss, though, will be missing Morton’s start when he returns to the rotation. He’s a major-league pitcher.
Schoenfield: It’s the ripple effect, which goes beyond the loss of Morton in Game 5. The Braves had to rely on their top four relievers to win Game 1, and A.J. Minter was almost certainly unavailable for Game 2. In the end, it didn’t matter since the Braves never got back in the game, but let’s see what happens in Games 3-4-5. Not only does Snitker handle his staff differently in Games 3 and 4, knowing that he’ll need a lot of bullpen innings in Game 5 without Morton, but does he manage his staff any differently in Games 3 and 4?
Which player is most likely to make an impact in the future?
Doolittle: It’s difficult to choose a winner, so let’s go with Carlos Correa. Game 3 will be crucial, and with Atlanta’s Ian Anderson on the mound, Correa’s proclivity for slamming changeups might come in useful. He has a lifetime OPS of.930 versus changeups and a season OPS of 1.066. Correa might cash in if the Astros generate some baserunner movement for him.
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Valdez, Framber. Olney: Valdez, Framber. With his Game 5 domination over the Boston Red Sox, he flipped the American League Championship Series around, and the Astros need him to do it again. In this series, he’ll play a crucial role.
Schoenfield: Since we’ve just highlighted Bregman, let’s look at his third-base rival, Austin Riley, who is batting. In the playoffs, he hit.245/.288/.429 with 19 strikeouts and just three walks. That’s a strikeout percentage of 36.5 percent, up from 25.4 percent in the regular season. In other words, he looks a lot more like Riley from the 2019-20 season than the player who will place in the top ten in MVP voting this season. He may not be the most impactful player, but the Braves will need him to contribute more.
As the Series moves to Atlanta’s Truist Park, what narrative will you be most interested in following?
Olney: I’m interested to see what the Braves do with their rotation moving forward, and what role Kyle Wright may (or may not) play. Nobody has ever doubted his ability, but as Snitker pointed out the other day, he didn’t get a lot of innings in the minors, so when he’s been called upon in the big leagues, he’s struggled — most notably in last year’s playoff game against the Dodgers, when he didn’t get out of the first inning and L.A. put up an 11-run inning. He was added to the Braves’ roster for the World Series just in case, and with Morton’s injury, that time may have come. That’s why Snitker gave him an inning in Game 2 and he pitched well. Will the Braves be convinced enough to give him another chance on the big stage as a result of this? Will they put their faith in his skill and his 137 quality innings at Triple-A this season? They need his assistance.
For the third time in five years, Houston is in the World Series. The Astros dominated October in the following ways.
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Rogers: It’s because of the weather. I know it’s a cliché, but Houston hasn’t seen much in the way of hardship this season, but they did face some lower weather in the ALCS. The weather for Games 3 and 4 is forecast to be chilly and rainy, with temperatures in the upper 40s and low 50s. Perhaps it will manifest itself on defense, where Yordan Alvarez will don a glove for the first time in a long time. In Atlanta, the weather should be a consideration.
Schoenfield: I’m interested to watch how the Astros handle their outfield defense without the designated hitter. In the playoffs, Alvarez and Kyle Tucker have been the team’s greatest hitters, while Michael Brantley is batting. 352. If Baker wants to use all three bats, he’ll have to move Tucker to center field, where he’s only played 28 innings this year. Defense is important, but sitting Brantley or Alvarez is difficult. If it’s a crucial scenario, I’d go with defense and put Chas McCormick in center and Alvarez in left, reserving Brantley to bat for the pitcher, catcher Martin Maldonado, or McCormick.
What does each side need to do to win three more games now that the Series is knotted at one?
Doolittle: It’s a mash-up. The pitching problem for both sides is complex, and it will be a race between both staffs’ cumulative tiredness and the Series’ last out. Both offenses should be able to exploit fatigued pitching when they come across it, thus the team with the greatest rallies, like as the Braves’ first three innings in Game 1 or the Astros’ second inning in Game 2, will win.
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Rogers: Houston just needs to throw a few pitches. The Astros’ offense doesn’t lay dormant for lengthy periods of time, so as long as they don’t have a string of terrible starts, they’ll be OK. Atlanta is in desperate need of a surprise or two. That most likely refers to the mound, but it might also refer to the plate, where they may behind in a game then come back to outscore the Astros when no one expects it. The Braves’ chances of winning the World Series are little to none. So far in the playoffs, they’ve done just that. For proof, go no farther than Eddie Rosario.
Schoenfield: You must defeat the other team’s starter. Both bullpens seem to be in great shape right now. We enjoy late-inning World Series drama, but I’m not sure we’ll see any late-game lead changes this year. (OK, I’ll admit that I don’t have entire faith in Will Smith.) He’s about to surrender a high-leverage homer.)
Doolittle: I predicted the Astros to win in seven games. With a split in Houston, the Braves’ major alteration is that one of their key three pitchers has been gone. I don’t see why I’d want to alter my mind now, even if Atlanta has the home-field advantage for the time being.
Olney: I predicted the Braves to win six games in a row, and I’m sticking with it — but not with much conviction. Right now, these two teams are so evenly matched that I have no clue what will happen. And it’s fantastic.
Rogers: I was able to beat Houston in six games. They’ll win two of three on the road and then win it at home, just as they did in the ALCS. Atlanta’s loss of Morton just adds to that prognosis. Nothing I’ve seen so far has persuaded me otherwise.
Schoenfield: I’m going to root for the Astros. Morton’s injury is significant, and it seems like the Houston bullpen’s right-handed relievers can shut down Atlanta’s second half of the order, particularly with Riley struggling. We may not even make it back to Houston if we see the same Luis Garcia in Game 3 as we saw in Game 6 of the ALCS.
The “world series 2021 dodgers” is the next year of the World Series. The Dodgers will be playing against the Brewers in 2021.
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