It was a long 26-year drought for Atlanta Braves fans. However, all is right with the world in the ATL again! The Braves took care of business late Tuesday evening by shutting out the Astros 7-0.
The Game 6 win gave Atlanta their first world championship since 1995. Here are three reasons the Braves won the 2021 World Series.
Things seemed to go wrong for this Atlanta team at every turn. Stud pitcher Mike Soroka re-tore his Achilles tendon and didn’t pitch the entire season. The team’s best overall player, Ronald Acuna Jr., tore his ACL in July. Star power hitter Marcel Ozuna was lost for the season due to off-the-field issues.
Through it all, though, this Braves team never wavered. There’s a saying in baseball that teams often resemble their manager. The Braves manager, Brian Snitker, stayed steady and calm throughout all of the ups and downs, and the team adopted that same attitude. “Snit”, as he is lovingly called by his players, deserves a ton of credit for keeping this team grounded.
- Aggressive Moves at the Trade Deadline
The Braves aren’t known for making many trades at the deadline. Many Atlanta fans have often been frustrated at the front office’s lack of wheeling and dealing in July. That all changed this July when Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos brought in four new outfielders to make up for the crushing loss of Acuna.
Anthopoulos brought in Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario, and Adam Duvall just before the July 30 deadline. Each of those players contributed in a huge way to the success of the Atlanta ballclub. Soler was named World Series MVP a few hours after giving Atlanta a 3-run lead with a towering moonshot home run to left field.
Rosario, who was injured when he came over from the Cleveland Indians, was named MVP of the NLCS. The 30-year torched all of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers by batting .560 with 3 homers, 9 RBIs, and 6 runs scored.
Both Duvall and Pederson came up with clutch hits time and time again throughout the Braves’ entire playoff run. Needless to say, Anthopoulos should be a lock to receive the Executive of the Year award for his genius acquisitions at the trade deadline.
- Clutch Bullpen Performances
The Braves bullpen was a cause for concern for a large portion of the regular season. Atlanta tied for 11th in bullpen ERA (3.97) during the regular season and 15th in saves (40) (covers.com). Closer Will Smith did rack up 37 saves during the season but only compiled a 3-7 overall record.
Everything seemed to change for the better once the postseason started. The Braves bullpen ranked 3rd in playoff ERA (3.11) and 1st in playoff saves (6). Tyler Matzek, who did a stellar job the entire postseason, nicknamed the Braves core bullpen arms “The Night Shift”. This group (A.J. Minter, Matzek, Smith, Luke Jackson) will go down in Braves history as a key component of the franchise’s 2021 World Series title.