The World Series kicks off tonight with a matchup that many people did not see coming. The Astros have been the favorite in the American League for most of the second half of the season, but the Braves shocked most of the baseball world with their strong performances throughout the playoffs en route to their first World Series appearance since 1999.
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The Astros looked like they were going to be sent home in the ALCS vs. the Red Sox after they dropped 2 of the first three games. Things turned around in game 4 for the Astros bullpen and they never looked back and rattled off three straight wins.
In the divisional series, the Astros dominated the White Sox 3-1 as the Astros pitching staff shut down the White Sox bats and the lineup put up more than 5 runs in each game.
The Braves entered the NL Playoffs with the worst odds to win the World Series after their up and down regular season. The Braves started off the playoffs losing to the Brewers in Game one in what most thought would be a quick Brewers series win. The Braves bounced back and won the next three games en route to a series win over one of the NL favorites.
In the NLCS, the Braves were heavy underdogs once again to the Dodgers and they got out to a 2-0 start in the series lead before dropping games 3 and 5 before closing things out in game 6.
The Braves are once again the underdogs which has provided them with extra motivation throughout the postseason.
The Braves starting pitching has been dominant throughout the postseason but it will be interesting to see if they can keep things going against the powerful Astros lineup.
The Astros had a 3.8 team ERA compared to a 3.85 team ERA in the regular season for the Braves which leads you to believe things are fairly even on the mound.
The pitching matchup looks even in game one with the experienced Morton going against one of the best young lefties in Valdez. The Astros have been putting up a ton of runs all postseason so it will be interesting to see how they fare against the Braves who play a totally different style of baseball.
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The game 2 pitching matchup looks like it favors the Braves with Fried on the hill. Fried has one of the most deceptive deliveries in the game and could give the Astros hitters fits with his offspeed stuff.
The teams also had very similar numbers with their bullpen so the overall pitching matchups are fairly equal from both teams.
The Braves finished with the third most HR’s in baseball this season while the Astros finished with 221. Both teams have the potential to explode for big innings at any point so the bullpens will be a big factor in trying to prevent the big inning.
The Astros had the best batting average in baseball and have the deeper lineup top to bottom throughout the lineup. It will be interesting to see who steps up to become this year’s October hero in this year’s World Series.
Altuve got a ton of criticism stemming from the sign-stealing scandal in 2017 that I think he will have a huge chip on his shoulder to try and rewrite his legacy by having a big offensive World Series.
This year’s World Series is very evenly matched but I think the Astros’ home-field advantage is going to be the difference in them taking home the trophy. The entire Astros organization is desperate to clear their reputations and I think that extra motivation is going to lead to plenty of runs from the Stros lineup.
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