Braves vs Astros World Series Preview

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After a long marathon of a season, we have finally reached the Fall Classic. The 2021 MLB Postseason has been as extraordinary as usual, and now only two teams remain. The Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros will meet in the 117th edition of the World Series. This is the Astros third World Series appearance in the last five years, while it is the Braves first appearance since 1999. Neither team wants to go home empty-handed after making it so far. Here is a comparison of the teams and a Braves vs Astros World Series preview.

Lineup

Houston was at or near the top in nearly every offensive category in the regular season. They lead the AL in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored, and hits. They are second in doubles, OPS, while also striking out at the second-lowest rate. In the postseason, it has been more of the same for the Astros lineup. On the Atlanta side, they were fourth in the NL is OPS, second in slugging and home runs, and third in runs scored. In most other categories, they were middle of the pack in the NL. However, none of that matters if they get the big hits in big situations in this series.

Starting Pitching

In terms of starting pitching ERA, the Astros have the edge here as well. Houston’s 3.63 mark was the fifth-best in the Majors this year. Atlanta wasn’t far behind though. Their 3.84 ERA was seventh-best. They also have more swing-and-miss in their rotation. Braves starters struck out 843 batters in 837 innings while Astros starters had 835 strike outs in 881 innings. The postseason, however, has been a different story. Braves starters have a 3.27 ERA so far in the postseason while Astros starters have a 5.92 ERA. Starters haven’t had a massive impact on the games in this postseason for the Astros. Their starters have only averaged three innings this postseason, but great starting pitching performances seriously help the cause.

Relief Pitching

Atlanta had the slight edge in reliever ERA in the regular season with a 3.97 ERA. Houston’s reliever ERA was 4.06. However, the Astros have more swing-and-miss in their bullpen. Astros relievers struck out 621 batters in 563 1/3 innings while Braves relievers struck out 574 batters in 573 2/3 innings. In the postseason, these bullpens have been nearly identical, both posting ERA’s around 3.50.

Interesting Storylines

It has been well-chronicled, but the Astros 2017 championship will always have a cloud over it. Nobody will forget the sign-stealing scandal any time soon. However, the Astros have a chance at redemption this year and winning the World Series once again will help a lot of players legacies. Speaking of legacies, Dusty Baker has the chance to cement his with what would be his first World Series title as a manager.

Baker and the Astros will have a much better chance at winning the title if they have their ace back and healthy. Lance McCullers Jr. missed the ALCS with a forearm injury and his status is questionable for the World Series. Having him back would be a big boost, but Houston did win the ALCS without him, so his absence is not insurmountable.

On the Braves side, this is a beautiful moment for a couple Braves in particular. Manager Brian Snitker has been with the franchise for his entire professional career, beginning in 1977 as a Minor League player. On the playing side, Freddie Freeman was drafted by the Braves in 2007 and was the one player that remained after the team broke down its last contending club near the beginning of the 2010’s. He was the best player on a lot of losing teams, and now he is the best player on a NL Pennant-winning team.

The 2021 World Series between the Braves and the Astros begins Tuesday, October 26 on FOX.

Players mentioned: Dusty Baker, Lance McCullers Jr., Brian Snitker, Freddie Freeman

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images