As soon as upon a time, the Astros and Braves had been common October opponents. From 1997 to 2005, they confronted off 5 instances, with Atlanta taking the primary three and Houston taking the final two conferences within the Nationwide League playoffs.
Neither group went on to win the World Sequence in these years, although. This time, the winner of the Houston-Atlanta matchup is assured a title as a result of, nicely, it’s the World Sequence. This one must be a doozy.
How will the World Sequence play out? Let’s have a look.
The Astros and Braves didn’t play this season. Atlanta holds a 381-325-1 lead over Houston in regular-season play. The Braves franchise originated in Boston, moved to Milwaukee in 1953 and to Atlanta in 1966. Houston began as a NL enlargement franchise in 1962 and moved to the AL starting with the 2013 season.
The Astros and Braves have met 5 instances within the postseason, all whereas Houston was within the NL. The Braves eradicated the Astros within the 1997 NLDS (3-0), the 1999 NLDS (3-1) and 2001 NLDS (3-0). The Astros beat the Braves in each the 2004 NLDS (3-2) and 2005 NLDS (3-1).
The Braves have made 10 earlier journeys to the World Sequence, successful in 1892, 1914, 1957 and 1995 (their just one in Atlanta). This would be the Astros’ fourth journey to the World Sequence; they’ve one title (2017).
Three issues to observe
Can Eddie Rosario proceed his hitting heroics?
Rosario, the least-heralded of the 4 outfielders the Braves traded for this 12 months, was unimaginable towards the Dodgers within the NLCS, batting .560 with three homers, 9 RBIs and a 1.647 OPS within the six video games to earn sequence MVP honors. There’s no method he can proceed to punish pitchers within the World Sequence, proper? Properly, that’s what everybody mentioned about Randy Arozarena final 12 months, when the Rays rookie seemed unstoppable by means of the primary couple of rounds of the postseason, after which he batted .364 with three extra homers towards the Dodgers within the World Sequence. Rosario is locked in on the plate, with a fast bat and good strike-zone recognition. Batting him within the leadoff spot is big, as a result of not solely is he setting the tone, however batting him proper in entrance of Freddie Freeman means the Astros can’t simply pitch round him. So he’ll see loads of strikes.
Can Yordan Alvarez proceed his hitting heroics?
Alvarez raked within the ALCS, didn’t he? The 2019 AL Rookie of the Yr bounced again in 2021 after a misplaced 2020 season, popping 33 homers in the course of a robust Houston lineup, so he virtually flew beneath the radar. There was no overlooking Alvarez within the ALCS, although. He drove residence a run with a sacrifice fly within the first inning of Recreation 1 and recorded a single hit in every of the primary three video games. A pleasant warmup, they name it in Houston. The Astros received Video games 4-5-6 by a mixed rating of 23-3 and Alvarez was 9-for-13 with 5 extra-base hits — three doubles, a triple and a house run. He sprayed the baseball all around the ballpark. Figuring him out is goal No. 1 for Atlanta’s pitchers.
Will Luke Jackson be efficient in high-leverage conditions?
Atlanta’s main bullpen items seemed downright dominant within the NLCS towards a really affected person however potent Dodgers lineup. That’s good for Braves followers, as a result of the Astros have a lineup filled with affected person, potent hitters. A.J. Minter, Will Smith and Jesse Chavez mixed to throw 12 2/3 scoreless innings towards L.A., permitting solely 4 hits to go together with 12 strikeouts. And all of us noticed Tyler Matzek’s mastery in Recreation 6. Wow. However what about Luke Jackson? He gave up the momentum-shifting three-run homer to Cody Bellinger in Recreation 4 and seemed like a pitching machine lobbing meatballs to the plate when he was on the market once more in Recreation 6. He made 4 appearances within the NLCS; of the 15 batters he confronted, 10 reached base and 5 scored. Yikes. Factor is, although, if the Braves are going to outlive a seven-game sequence towards the Astros, they want Jackson to pitch like he did within the common season, when he usual a 1.98 ERA and 9.9 strikeouts per 9 pitching vital innings late in video games.
3.16, 185, 3.5. These are the ERA, strikeout whole and bWAR for Lance McCullers Jr., the Astros’ finest beginning pitcher. He missed the ALCS with an damage, and he’s out for the World Sequence, too. That’s a tall activity, changing a employees ace on brief discover in October. The Astros did a superb job closing out the ALCS — Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia, particularly, had been dominant of their second begins — however surviving a second consecutive best-of-seven sequence with out McCullers might be robust. Houston does have some pitching depth, however we’ll see how the Astros fare towards a robust Atlanta lineup.
Braves vs. Astros prediction
Look, these in all probability aren’t the groups most followers outdoors Atlanta or Houston wished to see within the World Sequence. But when you will get previous that disappointment, this must be a extremely entertaining sequence. Each lineups are deep, with energy all through. Each pitching staffs are stable, with strikeout guys within the bullpens. The Braves get the tiniest of nods.