The Atlanta Braves closed out the NLCS tonight, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2, winning in six games. With that win, we officially have our 2021 World Series matchup, with the Braves facing the 2017 World Series champs, the Houston Astros.
The Braves have been a fun underdog story throughout the fall, after winning a weak NL East at 88-73. Much of the baseball world counted Atlanta out after the season-ending injury to Ronald Acuna, one of the game’s best young players. Atlanta stayed aggressive, made some shrewd trade deadline acquisitions, including Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall, and Joc Pederson in the outfield.
After taking three straight games from the Milwaukee Brewers to win the NLDS in four, Atlanta went up 2-0 on the Dodgers in this series. The two sides traded the next three games, with the Dodgers scoring a dominant 11-2 win on Thursday night. Atlanta bounced back and closed things out at home, behind four innings from Ian Anderson and two from Tyler Matzek, who picked up the win out of the bullpen.
Now, they look to keep it rolling against one of the best—and most controversial—teams in this era of baseball. The Houston Astros are no stranger to deep postseason runs, and are dialed in this fall.
WORLD SERIES BOUND!
The Braves advance to the World Series for the first time since 1999 🔥 pic.twitter.com/UtDqovMyEI
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 24, 2021
The Astros went 95-67, taking home the AL West title. After beating the Chicago White Sox in four games, they advanced to face a hot Boston Red Sox team in the ALCS.
Houston won Game 1 5-4, but were beaten soundly by Boston in the next two games to go behind 2-1 in the series. From there, it was all Houston. Dusty Baker’s team reeled off three straight convincing wins, 9-2 and 9-1 in Boston, and 5-0 in Houston on Friday night to clinch the pennant.
Two years ago, Houston fell in seven games to the Washington Nationals in the World Series. They’ve also been derided as cheaters stemming from the sign stealing scandal from a few years ago. However, they do give Baker, a popular figure in baseball, a chance to win his first title as a manager at 72. Baker’s managerial career began back in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants, with whom he lost the 2002 World Series. It’s been a long road back for him to this spot.
The Braves, meanwhile, were one of the most dominant franchises of the 1990s, but only have one World Series title from that era to show for it, coming back in 1995. Fans across the South have united around the team this fall. This should be an extremely fun series.
Game 1 is set for Tuesday, Oct. 26 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. First pitch is set for 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX.