The World Series of baseball is upon us and I’m really excited! Tuesday is Game 1 between the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. This is the first ever meeting of the two clubs in the World Series and will feature star players striving to add more hardware to these already storied programs. They both have one World Series title after multiple appearances over the years. Before this year Atlanta went to the World Series in 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, and 1999, winning in 1995. The Astros won in 2017 after going and losing in 2005, and 2019.
You could say this Series is about the Astros great hitters versus the Braves knock-out pitching. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and Yule Gurriel are the big four hitters for Houston. These hitters have played a huge role in giving the Astros 67 runs in 10 playoff games, with six of their seven wins coming by at least five runs. The Braves three best starting pitchers are Charlie Morton, Max Fried, and Ian Anderson.
They aren’t as heralded as the 1990s triumvirate of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine, but they shut it down by helping to knock off the defending champ Los Angeles Dodgers. They also got revenge from last year when the Dodgers beat them four games to three in the National League Championship Series. Atlanta had the least amount of regular-season wins among all playoff teams this year and was still able to close out the heavily favored Dodgers in six games.
The relief pitchers for the Braves will be more crucial to victory than their Astros counterparts. A.J. Minter, Tyler Matzek, and Will Smith have allowed just two runs in 24.2 innings in the postseason with 35 strikeouts, no home runs, and nine hits. They can get righties out as well as lefties, and Manager Brian Snitker will most likely use them for more than three innings in each game they pitch.
There are two interesting side stories that make this World Series even more intriguing to watch. In 2017 and 2018 the Houston Astros were accused of sign stealing to gain an unfair advantage. This is when you unfairly observe the opposing catcher’s signals to the pitcher regarding the next pitch. Mike Friers, a pitcher for the Astros in 2017, told “The Athletic” website that the organization used a camera in the center field seats to film the opposing catcher give his signs.
Then Astros players or staffers watching the live camera feed behind the dugout used various audio signals, such as banging on a trash can, to signal to the batter which type of pitch was coming next. Major League Baseball performed an in-depth investigation and confirmed in January 2020 that Houston used an illegal camera system during the 2017 regular season and postseason and part of the 2018 season. Because the Astros won the World Series in 2017, these accusations continue to stain and follow this organization to this day.
Also, another crazy off-the-field story comes from a local Houston businessman. In June Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale used the William Hill mobile app to bet $2 million on the Astros to win the World Series. If they do win, which they are the favorites, the payout will be $22 million. This would be the biggest payout in sports betting history.
So, he’s really praying for an Astros victory! But neither the Astros nor Braves can win If their two superstars don’t play well. Carlos Correa for Houston and Freddie Freeman for Atlanta are the team leaders and have to step up on the biggest stage they’ve ever been a part of. I’m hoping for a World Series to top all others and for the championship to come back to Atlanta.
Article by: Chris Steele, iHearts143Quotes Team member