After overcoming injuries, Braves, Astros play in World Series

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The Braves will host Game 3 of the World Series at Truist Park on Oct. 29.

Bryce Parker, Sports Media class

The Fall Classic is upon us.

The Atlanta Braves look to win their first World Series in 26 years, and the Houston Astros look to prove their doubters wrong, after being convicted of cheating the year they won their first ever World Series in 2017. 

“I wasn’t here with the team in 2017, but I’ve gotten booed just as equal as anybody else,” Astros Yordan Alvarez said to ESPN.com, “So I think we all have the same mentality that we really want to win the World Series to demonstrate that we are just a great team.”

 This will be their sixth series playing each other in the postseason, after playing each other five times in the NLDS before the Astros moved to the AL in 2013, and this series should be the best one so far.

Both teams clinched the LCS in six games. The Braves beat the reigning champion Los Angeles Dodgers — after blowing a 3-1 lead to them in the NLCS last year — to make it to the World Series for the first time in 21 years. And the Astros beat the six all-star led Boston Red Sox, despite having a run differential of negative 13 in Games 2 and 3, to make it to the World Series for the third time in five years.

The two teams also have a strong connection through the Astros manager Dusty Baker, who was drafted by the Braves in 1967. There he became good friends with Braves legend, Hank Aaron, who passed earlier this year on Jan. 22. 

“In the year of Hank Aaron’s passing, to go back to Atlanta and talk to his wife and kids and all the people that are close to the family … it’s very special,” Baker said to MLB.com. “This is kinda going to be a storybook ending, really, for all of us.”

The Braves are led by manager Brian Snitker, 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman, NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario, and ace Max Fried. This has been no smooth road for them.

Atlanta lost all-star Ronald Acuna, Jr. and former all-star Mike Soroka for the remainder of the season due to injuries and former all-star Marcell Ozuna due to legal reasons.

Despite never being above .500 before the trade deadline, their general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, still believed in them, and they were big buyers at the deadline. They acquired their entire starting outfield, which includes Rosario, and more. This led to them having a .151 better winning percentage, after the deadline, and clinching the NL East. 

“I think this might be the definition of pure joy,” Freeman said to ESPN.com, “It really is. I don’t know how to feel. Usually we’re sitting in our locker and just thinking about the whole season and getting ready for next year, and we actually did it.”

On the other side of the diamond are the Astros, led by manager Dusty Baker, 2021 AL Batting Champion Yuli Gurriel, ALCS MVP Yordan Alvaerez, and all-star closer Ryan Pressly. The road to the playoffs was different for them. Despite former MVP and two-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander and veteran reliever Pedro Baez only playing a couple games due to injury, they didn’t go below .500 after the first month.

Going into the World Series they hope that they can keep overcoming their injuries because ace Lance McCullers, Jr. and starting centerfielder, Jake Meyers, are out after getting injured in the final game of the ALDS. 

“I can’t even really explain it, to be honest,” Pressley said to MLB.com, “As soon as I saw Mike [Brantley] camped in left, I looked at Maldy and his eyes got about as big as beach balls. He came running towards me, and I just wanted to give him the biggest hug.”

As always the managerial matchup is key. 2018 NL Manager of the Year Brian Snitker became the Braves interim manager in 2016 after being a manager in their system for 19 years. He looks to take down Baker and his son, Troy Snitker, who is one of the Astros’ hitting coaches.

On the other side is three-time Manager of the Year Dusty Baker, who is managing in his 24th season. He is looking to prove his doubters wrong after only making it to the World Series one other time with the 2002 San Francisco Giants, and losing.

“The Snitkers are going to have a World Series trophy in their house here,” Brian Snitker said to MLB.com, “I don’t know who’s going to own it, but we’re going to have one. That’s a pretty cool thing, too.”

After the first two games, the series is tied, and both games have been won in blowout fashion. The Braves won the first game 6-2, after going up 5-0 in the 3rd. Then the Astros answered back winning 7-2, after scoring 4 runs in the second game.

Now the series will go to Atlanta for 3 games. On Oct. 29, you can tune into Fox at 7:09 p.m. to watch Game 3 of the Fall Classic.