Monday November 08, 2021
The 2021 World Series: Got Dingers?
Last week was a busy one and I never followed up on the World Series and my shitty prediction of same. The morning of Game 1, I laid out all the reasons why the Astros would win it all (boiled down: they hit, they hit, they hit) and not only did the Braves win in six but the Astros didn't hit. The best-hitting team in the Majors in 2021 got cold at the wrong time.
They were shut out twice and almost no-hit in Game 3. Only Michael Brantley hit regularly: .333. I didn't get why Dusty Baker didn't move Kyle Tucker up—or why he was batting so low in the first place. (.294 for the season, .286 for the Series.) When No. 3 man Alex Bregman turned ice cold, hitting .095 for the Series, Tucker, or maybe Yuli Gurriel, seemed a good replacement. Instead Dusty went with Carlos Correa. I guess?
Beyond that, it was just a dull Series. Except for Game 4 (when the Braves battled back from a 2-0 deficit) and Game 5 (Astros, 4-run deficit), no leads changed hands. None. Braves jumped out to an early lead in Game 1 and it was never close. Astros jumped out to an early lead in Game 2 and it was never close. In Game 6, after Series MVP Jorge Soler's monster 3-run homer in the top of the 3rd, the Astros never even brought the tying run to the plate. In the 3rd they got a man on; erased in a double play. In the 4th, a man on; erased in a double play. In the final five innings, down 6-0, then 7-0, they managed three singles in three separate innings—two by Brantley—and never moved any of them along. At the end, in the bottom of the 9th inning of the last game of the 2021 season, Brantley led off with a single and was stranded at first. The Series in a nutshell.
So instead of the Astros winning their second title, tying them with the Mets and Royals for the most among expansion teams, the Braves won their fourth. Before this, they had a title per city: Boston (1914), Milwaukee (1957), and Atlanta (1995). Now Georgia gets the deuce. Four titles after almost 120 years doesn't seem like much but it actually ties them with the Tigers for ninth-most in baseball history: Reds and Pirates have five, Dodgers seven, Giants eight, A's and BoSox nine, Cards 11, and the Yankees, those bastards, a bit out front with 27. Braves move ahead of the ChiSox, Cubs, Twins and O's, all of whom have three, and the Indians and Phillies, who have two apiece.
I should add that, for the Series, the Braves hit slightly worse than their regular season numbers, too, except in one category:
Over the six games, the Astros scored 20 runs but only two via the long ball—two solo shots by Jose Altuve—while 18 of the Braves' 25 runs came via homers. This worries me. I was hoping the Astros would be a fun, slap-happy, keep-the-line-moving team, a la the 2014-15 KC Royals, and show GMs a better path to better baseball. Instead, the lesson for GMs is the same dull one: Got dingers?
Well, at least we had a season.