The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) contested between the American League champion and the National League champion. The winners of these two leagues face each other in a best-of-seven playoff, which then decides which league’s team will be declared world champions.
The “world series 2021 winners” is the upcoming baseball game that will take place in October of 2021. The World Series is an annual series of games played between the champions of each Major League Baseball league.
The Houston Astros take on the Atlanta Braves in a World Series matchup. While this game seemed plausible in spring training, it was an unusual situation at the July 30 trade deadline, when the Braves had a 2% chance of representing the National League and talented outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. had been lost for the season due to a ruptured ACL.
The Astros are in the World Series courtesy to a 67-run offense in ten postseason games, with six of their seven victories coming by at least five runs. With two outs, 45 of the 67 runs have been scored, a monument to a lineup that had the lowest strikeout percentage in the majors during the regular season. The Braves have arrived in Atlanta after defeating the reigning National League champion Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. Atlanta has been on a run since early August, with 88 wins, the fewest of the ten postseason teams (not including 2020), and this is the first World Series without at least one 100-win club since 2015 (the Rays and Dodgers were both on a 100-win pace last season).
Here’s your guide to the 2021 World Series, which kicks off on Tuesday at Houston’s Minute Maid Field:
What’s at stake for the Astros: Can a villain atone for earlier transgressions? It’s something you’d see in a movie, but this is baseball. It will be a long time before the Astros are seen as anything other than baseball’s outlaws, so they’ll seek atonement in the form of history. They are in their third World Series in five seasons after reaching their fifth consecutive league championship series – just the third team to accomplish so. They enjoyed seasons of 101, 103, and 107 victories along the way. They will solidify a legacy as one of the finest teams of all time if they win a second title in this run, one without an asterisk. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel have been with the team from the beginning. Altuve has earned an MVP award, batting crowns for both he and Gurriel, and Bregman has placed second in MVP voting. With Correa about to become a free agent, these might be their last games together, a chance to cement their legacy as one of baseball’s finest infields.
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What’s at stake for the Braves: the chance to put years of postseason disappointment behind them. In 1995, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz helped the Atlanta Braves capture the franchise’s lone World Series championship. Since then, the Braves have made 16 playoff appearances without winning a title. Since their previous World Series participation in 1999, they’ve made a total of 12 appearances. This isn’t the finest Atlanta squad throughout that time period, but it has been clicking over the last two months or so. Remember, it wasn’t until August 6 that the Braves had a winning record. They’ve gone 40-21 since then, including the playoffs, to become just the fourth club in MLB history to reach the World Series while having a losing record at the All-Star break (joining the 1991 Braves, 1973 Mets and 1964 Cardinals). The 88 victories aren’t very outstanding, but they beat the 95-win Brewers and the 106-win Dodgers to get here.
The Hall of Fame is on the line for Dusty Baker. For the first time since his Giants fell in seven games to the Angels in 2002, the 72-year-old Astros manager is back in the World Series. Since Bucky Harris was the player-manager for the Washington Senators in 1925 and later the manager for the Yankees in 1947, it’s been the greatest gap between World Series appearances. Baker is currently ranked 12th in regular-season wins. With the exception of Bruce Bochy, everyone of the 11 managers who came before him have won a World Series. Dusty’s managerial career has been littered with sad setbacks, most notably his Game 6 losses with the Giants in the 2002 World Series and the Cubs in the 2003 National League Championship Series. He reflected on those games as the Astros clinched the ALCS with a 5-0 victory in Game 6. “In most playoffs, Game 6 has been my enemy, and that’s what I was thinking,” Baker said after the win. “You have to go past your foe, after all. I was terrified of electricity as a child, and now I operate an energy firm. You are attempting to overcome obstacles in your life.”
The Astros, on the other hand, still need four more victories. If they can accomplish it — and for Dusty’s sake, they should do it in five games — Baker should start working on his Cooperstown speech, which will serve as a fitting capstone to a tremendous professional baseball career that started in 1967. Let’s hope he makes the speech with a toothpick in his mouth and his wristbands on to wipe away the tears if that day comes.
What’s on the line for Brian Snitker: The 66-year-old Atlanta manager hasn’t spent his whole baseball career in the spotlight like Baker, but his narrative celebrates all those who have played the game for a long time. Since 1977, he has been a part of the Atlanta Braves organization. He made it to Triple-A for two games as a player. When the Braves originally designated him temporary manager in 2016, he had been a faithful organization member for 40 years and had started managing in the minors in 1982. They retained him following his first full season in 2017, when he went 72-90, and he has since led the team to four consecutive NL East victories.
He thought of his wife, Ronnie, and his two children as the Braves got the last out to eliminate the Dodgers. “I know she’s been quite emotional throughout a lot of this, and that’s understandable,” he stated afterwards. “She was the one that drove our kids all over the Southeast, and I’d go in February and return in September, and she’d be working and cheerleading and baseball and all that, and it was a lot of that.” He also said that the Snitker family is now assured a World Series trophy since son Troy is the Astros’ assistant hitting coach.
Baker and Snitker were not chosen for their analytical skills, and both went against the management trend of hiring younger, recently retired players. Both, on the other hand, are baseball guys who were the perfect person for the position at the right moment — Baker to help the Astros rebuild after the cheating scandal, and Snitker to help take a young club out of a small rebuilding project and into contention.
But don’t forget about what they’ve accomplished this postseason. Both have progressed with the times. Baker has had fast hooks with his starters when necessary and recognizes the value of a bullpen. Snitker won Game 4 of the NLCS with a bullpen game, and his choice to pinch-hit for starter Ian Anderson in the bottom of the fourth inning in Game 6 proved to be one of the critical plays of the playoffs when Ehire Adrianza singled to set up Eddie Rosario’s game-winning three-run home run.
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Since Correa’s arrival in the big, the two have been among the finest players in the game, with Correa ranked sixth among position players in Baseball-Reference WAR and Freeman ninth.
After this World Series, both players will be free agents. Given his status with the Braves and his still high level of output at 32 years old, it’s difficult to picture Freeman playing for another club, but each time a top player approaches free agency, there’s a chance he’ll depart. Correa, on the other hand, is expected to depart the Astros, with the Yankees and Tigers leading the chase for his services.
There are relievers, relievers, and relievers: Relievers have pitched 54 percent of playoff innings heading into the World Series. It’s 57 percent for the Astros and 49 percent for the Braves. So, if you haven’t seen much playoff baseball this year, don’t be shocked to see a flurry of relievers enter the game early.
When the Astros starters combined to throw 6.2 innings in the first four games of the ALCS, Baker’s significant bullpen use became necessary. It was a small wonder that the Astros were able to split those four games until Framber Valdez came back with eight outstanding innings in Game 5 (the longest start of any starter this playoffs) and Luis Garcia threw 5.2 clean innings in Game 6. Baker will have to depend on his bullpen with Lance McCullers Jr. likely missing the World Series after not throwing since departing Game 4 of the ALDS with forearm soreness.
In their postseason run, the Braves have only utilized three conventional starters, starting Charlie Morton on short rest in Game 4 against the Brewers and opting with a bullpen game in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Dodgers (with Drew Smyly pitching 3.1 innings in relief as the long man).
The following are some of the important relievers to keep an eye on:
Braves: A.J. Minter, Tyler Matzek, and Will Smith In the playoffs, the three lefties have combined to give just two runs in 24.2 innings, striking out 35 batters while allowing no home runs and just nine hits. They can strike out right-handed batters as well as left-handed batters, and Snitker will utilize Minter and Matzek for more than three outs (Minter went two innings in Games 4 and 6 against the Dodgers). Matzek has pitched in nine of the Braves’ ten playoff games, including a two-inning gem in Game 6 against the Dodgers.
Matzek is a fantastic tale. He was a former first-round choice of the Rockies in 2009, but he was forced to retire from baseball in 2017 due to a severe case of the yips. The White Sox, Mariners, and Diamondbacks all dismissed him until the Braves signed him in 2019 and he discovered the strike zone. He has only allowed runs in four of his 43 appearances since the All-Star break, and he continues assuring Snitker that he wants the ball every game. Minter had to return to Triple-A for a brief stint in late July due to control issues, but he has since returned to the majors with a 1.37 ERA in 26.1 innings.
Smith, too, had a poor start to the season, finishing 1-5 with a 4.74 ERA through June 9. The Atlanta bullpen, which had been a source of worry for most of the season, is suddenly looking like a strength, and the lefties will help the Braves match up against Astros left-handed batters Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, and Kyle Tucker in a manner that the Red Sox couldn’t.
“I felt like I’d let this team down so many times in the last few years, and I felt like I just went out there and wanted to give it all for them,” Minter said after Game 6. “We all have our own narrative, and I’ve experienced failure, and I believe I wouldn’t be in this position today if I hadn’t. It just served to prepare me for this moment, and that is exactly what life is about. Nothing is meant to be easy; nothing is intended to be handed to you; you must work for it.”
Astros’ Cristian Javier: Javier began the season in the Houston rotation, but has spent the most of the season in the bullpen. Baker knows he can have a fast hook with his starters because of his ability to pitch numerous innings. In the playoffs, Javier has pitched three scoreless innings of 2.2, 2 and 3 innings, striking out 13 batters.
Astros’ Blake Taylor and Brooks Raley: Ryan Pressly is one of the finest closers in baseball. The top setup men, Kendall Graveman and Ryne Stanek, have combined to allow two runs in 13.2 innings in the playoffs. However, if Baker is forced to bridge the gap between the starters and Javier and the late-game crew, things might get interesting. Baker has two lefties at his disposal: Taylor and Raley, but neither is on the same level as the Braves’ lefties. Baker will have to decide whether to deploy them against the Eddie Rosario/Freeman portion of the order to garner a matchup edge or stay with his righties.
Eddie Rosario and Yordan Alvarez: Speaking of Rosario, he and Alvarez are the hottest hitters in the league after winning the LCS MVP award. Rosario recorded 14 hits against the Dodgers, matching a playoff record with four other players for most hits in a single series (but they all did it in seven games while Rosario did it in six). In the playoffs, Alvarez is hitting.443/.535/.794 and went 9-for-13 in the ALCS’ last three games. In fact, during the last two games of the series, he outhit the entire Red Sox lineup.
Along with Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson, and Jorge Soler, Rosario was one of the outfield additions acquired by Alex Anthopoulos to assist compensate for the injured Acuna. Rosario had struggled with Cleveland and was really ailing when the Braves acquired him, but he has hit.331/.388/.639 with Atlanta, including the playoffs. In September, Soler had clinched the leadoff slot, but when he was forced to miss the first four games of the NLCS after testing positive for COVID-19, Rosario stepped in and smashed it. With the exception of Valdez, the rest of Houston’s pitching staff is right-handed, so expect Snitker to maintain the Rosario/Freeman one-two punch at the top of the order, practically daring Baker to send in Taylor or Raley. (In Houston, the Braves will be able to use Soler as the designated hitter, retaining Joc Pederson in right field.) Atlanta’s powerful bench, as we saw in the NLCS, can be a huge asset.)
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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When the series swings to Atlanta for the middle three games, Baker will have to make a choice. Brantley or Alvarez, who plays left field? Even though he is a defensive liability, Alvarez did start 39 games in the regular season and two in the playoffs, with the way he’s hitting, you have to assume he’ll earn the starts.
How the rotations are arranged: Starting pitchers are still crucial, after all! The following is the Atlanta rotation:
Charlie Morton (first game) (six days of rest)
Max Fried (Game 2) (four days of rest)
Ian Anderson (Game 3) (five days of rest)
The fourth game is a bullpen game.
If McCullers is out, the Astros may proceed as follows:
Framber Valdez vs. Framber Valdez against. Framber Vald (five days of rest)
Luis Garcia (Game 2) (four days of rest)
Jose Urquidy (Game 3) (10 days of rest)
Game 4: Zack Greinke vs. the bullpen
Baker has a few alternatives available to him. He could play Urquidy in Game 2 to give Garcia more rest (his second dominating start against the Red Sox came on five days’ rest), but Baker may not want two possible Urquidy-Fried matches considering Urquidy’s poor performance in his one postseason start so far (six runs in 1.2 innings). Jake Odorizzi or one of the bullpen might get the start after Greinke struggled against the Red Sox.
Garcia seems to be the most important player in this situation. Before his Game 6 start against the Red Sox, he made a little mechanical adjustment, as his average four-seam fastball velocity was 96.0 mph, up from his season average of 93.3 mph. He threw 26 pitches that reached 96 mph, after only hitting 96 18 times all season. Maybe it was the rush of the moment, but if Garcia can maintain that velocity — and control — against the Braves, the Astros will have a major advantage.
The Astros began as -150 favorites at Caesars Sportsbook, but the pricing has now dropped to -145, with the Braves listed at +125. Home-field advantage is a minor issue, but keep in mind that the Astros lost all four games at home in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals.
The Braves have had some luck in the playoffs so far, avoiding having to face the Giants or Dodgers in the division series and then catching a Dodgers club that was already without Max Muncy and Clayton Kershaw before Justin Turner was hurt and Max Scherzer missed his Game 6 start. Eddie Rosario had the finest week of his life, and a shaky bullpen warmed up just in time. This isn’t to disparage the Braves’ achievement, but the Dodgers were out of gas by the NLCS.
The Astros have that chip to prove themselves to the naysayers. “I believe we’ve all wanted to show what type of quality of guys and team we are ever since the news came out, the awful news that we’ve had to deal with about what occurred in 2017,” Alvarez said after defeating the Red Sox. “I wasn’t on the squad in 2017, yet I’ve received the same amount of boos as everyone else. So I believe we all have the same attitude of wanting to win the World Series to prove that we are a great team.”
Does it make a difference in a seven-game series? Most likely not. The Braves, too, want to win. The Braves used to be known as “America’s Team” when they were shown on TBS. That is more true than ever in this series.
The “world series 2021 playoffs” is the championship of Major League Baseball. The first round of the playoffs will begin on October 3rd and end on October 28th.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the World Series 2021?
What teams are playing in the World Series 2021?
A: The Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox are playing in the World Series 2021.
Who is the MVP of the World Series 2021?
A: The MVP of the World Series 2021 is Jake Allen.
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