Delpercio: 2021 World Series Preview

Logo for MLB World Series Column. - Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

The fall classic is finally upon us, with the Atlanta Braves battling against the Houston Astros for the 2021 World Series title. Both teams have had completely different paths to get to this destination but the goal remains the same for both clubs: win. 

Atlanta Braves 

Atlanta’s road to the World Series has been a rocky one, looking like a team that was dead in the water back on July 10 when superstar outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr tore his ACL. Fast forward to today and the Braves are four wins away from winning their first championship since 1995. 

The Braves secured the National League East (NLE) title to get into the postseason after a crucial sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies at the end of the regular season, took care of the Milwaukee Brewers easily in the Nation League Division Series (NLDS), and beat the reigning World Series champs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, to make it to the Fall Classic. 

Atlanta made some risky moves at the trade deadline, adding guys to the lineup that could help them make a late-season push, and have those moves paid off for them.

Eddie Rosario, the Nation League Championship Series (NLCS) most valuable player (MVP), has a batting average hovering around .500 this postseason, and Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall are both more than capable of taking a pitcher deep anytime. You pair these guys up with Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies and you have yourself a ridiculously talented lineup. 

The pitching staff for Atlanta has shown they can shut down an offense at any point, holding the high-powered Dodgers lineup to only two runs during three of the games in the NLCS. Charlie Morton, Max Fried and Ian Anderson are a strong, three-headed monster, with Tyler Matzek and Will Smith lurking in the bullpen.

The Braves probably won’t be favorites to win, due to their lack of experience in the World Series, but they are playing some of their best baseball right now, so watch out. 

Houston Astros 

For the third time in five years, the Astros are back in the World Series.

The Astros had a rough start to the 2021 campaign, and things looked bleak for the American League (AL) powerhouse, going 29-24 heading into the month of June. However, they managed to turn things around and are now only four wins away from their second championship in five years. 

The Astros won their fourth AL West Division title in five years to get into the postseason, and beat the Chicago White Sox in four games to advance to the American League Championship Series (ALCS) against the Boston Red Sox who they beat in six games to punch their ticket to the World Series. 

The Astros core from the 2017 championship team is still intact with Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, but rising star Yordan Alvarez stole the show in the ALCS. Alvarez hit over .500 in the ALCS to earn himself the ALCS MVP award.

Houston has also gotten much-needed production out of guys like Kyle Tucker, Michael Brantley and Martin Maldonado behind the plate. Correa, Bregman and Altuve are certified veterans, and their impact on the younger guys could be enough to propel this lineup to a World Series title. 

The Astros pitching rotation has proven to the world that they can handle themselves and, at times, carry the weight on their shoulders. The Astros pitching staff held the high-scoring Red Sox offense to a combined three runs in the last three games of the ALCS, after giving up 25 combined runs in the first three games of the series. Guys like Luis Garcia and Framber Valdez have seemingly gotten hot at the right time for the Astros, and, if they can continue on this path, the Astros have a great shot at bringing it back to the city of Houston. 

Two great offenses. 

Two great pitching staffs. 

All we can do is just sit back and enjoy the show because it’ll be one for the ages.

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