2021 World Series: Braves Versus Astros Preview

October 26, 2021

The 2021 Fall Classic is set and ready to go. A familiar face in the Houston Astros have made their third World Series in the past five seasons. The Atlanta Braves on the other hand have not seen the World Series since 1999. Atlanta has made the playoffs every year since 2018 making it as far as the NLCS just last season. Houston won the World Series back in 2017 but it is riddled with the cheating scandal. Therefore, the 2021 World Series is looking to be both a redemption run for Houston and a hopeful return to glory for the Braves for the first title since 1995. Let’s check out this old playoff rivalry renewed in 2021.

Old Foes Meet Again

Many people think this is a rare matchup in the playoffs, wrong. In fact, these teams used to meet up on the NL side of the bracket in the mid-2000s. The last time the Astros-braves matchup occurred in the playoffs was in 2005 in the NLDS. Houston was victorious in their 2005 matchup winning 3-1 where they would eventually lose in the World Series.

The first time we saw Atlanta and Houston go head-to-head in the playoffs was back in 1997. This was the first of five meetings in the NLDS for these teams. Atlanta won their first three meetings in the NLDS in 1997, 1999, and 2001. After a three-year gap, Houston and Atlanta met again in 2004 where Houston finally defeated Atlanta 3-2. The final NLDS meeting in the very next season again saw the Astros win the series 3-1.

However, this is the first-ever World Series meeting between these two teams. Houston enters the matchup after winning the ALCS 4-2 over the Red Sox. Atlanta enters the World Series after defeating the juggernaut Dodgers 4-2 in the NLCS. Atlanta entered the playoffs with the worst record out of all the teams who made it. Houston entered as division champions and another 90 plus win regular season. Needless to say, this will be a good matchup based on their history.

Houston Astros Keys To Victory

1.) Win Both Home Games

I know this seems rather obvious but I promise it is still worth talking about. Houston is 4-1 at home so far this postseason and this needs to be an advantage. The Astros have the team to dominate at home and put Atlanta down early. The Braves have shown that they can win big games on the road and Houston needs to shut that down. This key is the most simple but also one of the most important. Houston has the World Series experience at least in the last five years so they know home-field advantage can be huge.

2.) Get/Keep The Bats Active

Houston has one of the most dynamic batting lineups out of any team in the playoffs. They feature three batters that are near the top of the leaders in hits for the postseason. Houston knows how to light up a scoreboard and that is a fact. If Houston can figure out how to get key hits and runs off of the Braves rather good pitching staff, then Houston can beat them easily. Houston already found a way to light up the White Sox and Red Sox pitching staffs who are also solid and here they are playing for another World Series. The Houston bats need to be extra active for this World Series compared to past ones.

Atlanta Braves Keys To Victory

1.) Steal A Road Game Immediately

Atlanta just beat the juggernaut Dodgers so they know how to beat good teams. However, Houston is really good at home as I’ve already mentioned. Stealing game one I think is vital to the Braves finding success in the World Series. Atlanta struggled on the road in the NLDS and NLCS so making a win on the road in game one is even more essential than I have already stated. Get that win on the road and get back to Atlanta to try and solidify the series.

2.) Pitching Staff Needs To Be Lights Out

The Braves feature a pretty dynamic pitching staff which could prove to be helpful in the World Series. Three of the starters are holding batters to a batting average of .200 or lower. They also feature a dynamic relief pitcher in Tyler Matzek. Matzek is sporting a 1.74 ERA in the postseason and actually has recorded two wins for Atlanta this postseason as well. If the Braves want to compete with the Astros, the pitching needs to play at a career-best level.

3.) Keep Their Own Big Bats Active

Atlanta has their own hot bats for Houston to deal with. Eddie Rosario has been hitting just about everything so far this postseason. Rosario sports a .474 batting average, 18 hits, and 11 RBI’s that led the Braves to their huge defeat of the Dodgers. While Rosario has been the clear leader at the plate for Atlanta, they still feature six other batters hitting .225 or better. If Atlanta cannot beat the Astros with their pitching, the bats will have to also be at career-best levels to compete.

Final Prediction: Atlanta Wins 4-3

Houston is an elite team that can beat anyone in the playoffs, they’ve proven that time and time again. Atlanta has fallen short in past playoff series but now they are four wins away from that coveted title. I think people are underselling how good this Braves team really is. To beat a solid Brewers team and then turn around and beat an even better Dodgers team should scare the Astros. I think Atlanta takes advantage of Houston having a weaker pitching staff and much like the NLCS, they will beat the Astros in every category. However, this series will still go seven games and Atlanta will have to fight for those wins but I think they get it done and take the title back to ATL.

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