Atlanta Braves Win 2021 World Series

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The 2021 MLB season has drawn to a close tonight, with the Atlanta Braves beating the Houston Astros in game six of the World Series to take home the Commissioner’s Trophy. Fans are rejoicing across the baseball world, as the reviled Astros became the league’s de facto villains after their 2017 cheating scandal which led to their only World Series championship.

It’s been a heck of a ride for the Braves, as they looked to be on the outside looking in at the National League East race in July, but some key trade deadline additions helped push them over the top. Crucial outfield pickups were World Series MVP Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall and Championship Series MVP Eddie Rosario. With this added firepower the Braves soared up the standings, ultimately overtaking both the Phillies and Mets, en route to an 88-73 record and an NL East crown. Atlanta was then able to defeat the Brewers in four games in the NLDS, and the vaunted Dodgers in six in the NLCS, leading to their first World Series appearance since 1999. 

The Astros had a somewhat easier path to the World Series, handily winning the American League West with a 95-67 record, and defeating the White Sox in four games in the ALDS and the Red Sox in six in the ALCS. However, they lost a crucial piece of their pitching staff during their series in Chicago, as starter Lance McCullers Jr. went down for the entirety of the postseason with a forearm strain. The Astros appearance in this year’s World Series marks their third trip to the Fall Classic in the last five years, where they enjoyed ill-gotten gains against the Dodgers in 2017, and lost a back-and-forth seven game set to the Nationals in 2019.

The Braves can and should feel a tremendous amount of pride tonight, as they had a losing record as late as early August, but rallied around veteran manager Brian Snitker in order to right the ship. Additionally, they became heroes to fans across the globe when their underdog story had them win a David versus Goliath battle against the most hated villains the game has seen in a very long time. Injuries almost torpedoed the Braves a number of times this year, as phenom outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL in early July, and ace Charlie Morton fractured his fibula in the first inning of World Series game one. That was unable to stop Atlanta though, as a revamped offense and a lights-out bullpen stymied the Astros in the end.

With Acuña set to return next May, and young pitchers like Max Fried, Ian Anderson and A.J. Minter developing further, the Braves look primed to challenge for more NL East crowns in years to come. However, they face some uncertainty this winter, as all four of their key outfield pickups will hit the free agent market, as well as franchise icon Freddie Freeman. Still, that’s a problem for General Manager Alex Anthopoulos to tackle in the coming weeks, while Braves fans celebrate their first championship in 26 years.

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