Sarcastic Joe’s World Series preview


Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Freddie Freeman is a standout on an underdog Atlanta Braves team who seeks a World Series title.

Joe Flynn, Sports Editor

The Atlanta Braves are facing off against the Houston Astros in the 2021 World Series.

2021 threw the Baseball world another curveball with this matchup. The Braves weren’t even a .500 team in July and the Astros, or Asterisks, struggled with their consistency all year long (probably because they don’t know what pitch is coming anymore).

The Braves finished with a 88-73 record, the worst record of any playoff team this year. However, their record was good enough to win the dismal NL East. The Braves season seemed doomed after Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL back in July. Unlike some teams, they didn’t just roll over and tank the rest of the season; their front office took action. They traded for Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, and Joc Pederson.

Duvall hit 16 home runs for the Braves, Soler has had some rally-starting hits this postseason, Rosario was the NLCS MVP and Pederson ignited this team’s run back in the NLDS.

Take notes Brian Cashman (GM for the Yankees), when a team needs players replaced. Replace them with good players.

The Braves’ offense has been terrific down the stretch, their pitching has been good enough, but it’s their overall underdog energy that’s made this team so good. Going into the playoffs, I picked them to lose to the Brewers in the NLDS; then when they made it to the NLCS, I thought for sure the Braves would lose in 5.

This team has no superstars, except for Freddie Freeman. The Braves are made up of homegrown guys and players acquired at the trade deadline. The Braves have embraced the team-first mentality, and because of that, they’re in the World Series.

What concerns me with the Braves is their lack of depth pitching-wise. Their manager, Brian Snitker, has not allowed any of his starters to go deep in games and has relied heavily on his bullpen. Much like Kevin Cash did last year, the end result was their bullpen imploding, and they lost to the Dodgers in 6 games.

The Braves have good starting pitchers like Max Fried, Ian Anderson and Charlie Morton. Snitker has elected to pull their starters very early in games and rely on relief pitchers Will Smith, Luke Jackson and Tyler Matzek.

Ian Anderson looks defeated every time the camera shows him on the bench after being taken out early. He’s a young pitcher whose confidence has been damaged. Braves fans better hope Anderson can collect himself before it’s too late.

The Astros have been good all season long, but that’s their problem. They have just been good all year. Never great, never terrible. Just good.

I think the Braves are on a hotter streak than the Astros and have all the momentum in the world; plus, they have hungry fans, so expect a loud crowd when they play in Atlanta. The players on the Astros have more experience than players on the Braves, but is experience more valuable than zest?

The Braves have more dark horse players. They have Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall, Dansby Swanson, and Austin Riley. I trust those 4 guys more than the Astros’ dark horse candidates: Kyle Tucker, Framber Valdez, and Yuli Gurriel.

The Astros have a good offense, but they don’t have a good bullpen, which should concern fans of the Asterisks. Greinke has shown his age this season, and they don’t have a reliable number 3 starter. The Astros’ lack of pitching might be their iceberg.

My gut tells me the Braves will win this series in 6 games, but the Astros have a good enough offense to carry them to a World Series win.

My prediction is the Braves win the series in 7. They will split the first two games in Houston, win 2 out of 3 in Atlanta, and then wrap the series up in 7.

Please Baseball Gods, don’t let Jose Altuve and the other Asterisks win…. I beg you!