World Series 2021: What to Know About Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves — and More Fun Facts
The World Series is here!
The Atlanta Braves, winners of the National League East after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games, will take on the Houston Astros, winners of the American League West following their win against Boston Red Sox, also in six.
During the regular season, the Braves and Astros did not meet and hadn't played each other since a four-game series back in 2017.
Houston is entering this best-of-seven series as favorites to win it all, according to Vegas odds.
Below is what to know about the 2021 World Series, which kicks off on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
On the Braves roster, first baseman Freddie Freeman — who was last year's NL MVP and is the team's longest-tenured player — will be appearing in his first World Series. Other key names are pitcher Charlie Morton, second baseman Ozzie Albies, third baseman Austin Riley, left fielder Eddie Rosario, reliever Tyler Matzek and shortstop Dansby Swanson.
The Braves have reached the World Series for the first time since 1999. In fact, several players, including Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ian Anderson, were not even born when Atlanta last won the series in 1995.
They are the fourth team ever to advance to the World Series after having a losing record at the All-Star break and the first to do so since 1991, according to ESPN. The team finished the regular season with 88 wins, the fewest of any team in the playoff field, and this marks the seventh time in the Wild Card era since 1995 that a team with the fewest wins reached the World Series.
Meanwhile, on the Astros roster, shortstop Carlos Correa, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, second baseman Jose Altuve and third baseman Alex Bregman are the only four who have been with the team since their 2017 victory. Other prominent players on the team include designated hitter and outfielder Yordan Alvarez and pitcher Framber Valdez.
Villains to many
For Houston, there are constant reminders of the controversy surrounding their 2017 championship over the Dodgers. It was later discovered that the victory was aided by a sign-stealing, trash can-banging scandal that season, which became one of the biggest cheating crimes in baseball history. An investigation from late 2019 through 2020 determined general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch, both since fired, were accountable and the team was fined the maximum $5 million in penalties.
Years later, many players and fans are still displeased by how Houston failed to play the game right. With their 2017 Series victory now marred, a championship in 2021 could be without an asterisk.
Father vs. son
The series will be a family affair for Braves manager Brian Snitker, as his son Troy Snitker serves as a hitting coach for the Astros.
Astros manager Dusty Baker is looking to win his first World Series ring. At 72 years, 133 days old, Baker is the second oldest manager to lead a team to the World Series. (Jack McKeon did it with the 2003 Miami Marlins at 72 years and 329 days old.)
Baker holds the record for the second-most seasons between World Series appearances for any manager in MLB history with 18 seasons (2003-20) since falling short with the San Francisco Giants in the 2002 series.
Baker, who is in his 11th postseason with his fifth team, previously made his debut as a Braves player in a 1968 game against the Astros. Now, his longtime career in baseball comes full circle as he leads the Astros against the Braves.
Braves' Joc Pederson defeated his previous team, the Dodgers, with whom he won the World Series last year. Winning back-to-back years with different teams is very rare in the MLB as only eight players have previously done it. Ben Zobrist was the last to do it in 2016 with the Chicago Cubs and in 2015 with the Kansas City Royals.
Others looking to win a second ring are Braves outfielder Jorge Soler, who was also on the 2016 Cubs with Zobrist.
Braves pitcher Charlie Morton won with the Astros in 2017 against the Dodgers and shortstop Ehire Adrianza won in 2014 with the Giants.
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-Game 1 on 10/26 at 7:09 p.m. CST at Houston
-Game 2 on 10/27 at 7:09 p.m. CST at Houston
-Game 3 on 10/29 at 7:09 p.m. CST at Atlanta
-Game 4 on 10/30 at 7:09 p.m. CST at Atlanta
-If necessary: Game 5 on 10/31 at 7:15 p.m. CST at Atlanta
-If necessary: Game 6 on 11/2 at 7:09 p.m. CST at Houston
-If necessary: Game 7 on 11/3 at 7:09 p.m. CST at Houston