World Series 2021: The Astros strike back

The goal of teams hosting the first couple of games of the World Series is pretty simple. Win those two games and hold serve on home-field advantage. But when the home team fumbles the first game as the Astros did in the opener on Tuesday night, the goal morphs into an almost must win in the second game.

Mission accomplished for the Astros in the second game as they got up early and really did not allow the Braves to have much of a comeback shot along the way in a 7-2 win.

The Astros were in this almost “must” win situation due to a first game that was the poster child for Bad Start. Framber Valdez struggled from the get-go, allowing the first leadoff home run in World Series history and leaving after 2 innings, having given up 5 of the 6 runs the Braves would tote up this night. The offense had a decent amount of traffic on the bases with 8 hits and 3 walks plus reaching base on an error, but they only pushed two home as the Astros fell 6-2. The one bright spot was seven innings of one-run ball by the bullpen. But even that came with the foreboding thought….seven innings a game by the bullpen would be an unsustainable number. The Braves had almost all good news, but the one nasty piece of news could significantly affect the series as ace Charlie Morton suffered a broken tibia on a sharp grounder by Yuli Gurriel and is gone for the series.

In a bit of irony, Jose Urquidy had a short outing in the Red Sox series (along with most of his rotation-mates) that was reversed by a strong start by Framber Valdez. In Game 2 of the World Series, Urquidy gave the team comfort with a strong outing right after Valdez had struggled in the first game. And though the Astros left some ducks on the pond in Game 2, they brought home enough of them to get out to a solid lead, and they kept the Braves at arm’s length for the win. The Astros played small ball up until Jose Altuve’s solo shot in the seventh inning. They were assisted by some clutch hitting and productive outs and some questionable fielding for the Braves. Plus, Jose Siri reaching base due to his tremendous speed and coming all the way around on Maldonado’s single because Atlanta turned into a Little League version of themselves. The 7-2 win seemed to take the momentum away from the Braves, but as Dusty Baker says – momentum lasts only as long as your next starter’s performance.

Now the Astros are in Georgia for the next three games. Both teams are in an almost unbelievable pitching situation for World Series teams. Both teams have possible aces who did not pitch for them this year. Mike Soroka was tremendous for the Braves in 2019 but had an Achilles tendon injury that cut short his 2020 season and, when he popped it again, ended up missing all of 2021. Of course, the Astros ace, Justin Verlander, pitched in one game in 2020 and none in 2021, recovering from TJ surgery. Astros lost the next ace up in Lance McCullers with an arm injury earlier in the playoffs. The Braves lost the next ace up, Charlie Morton, to a broken fibula in Game 1 of the World Series.

Both teams next “aces” up, Framber Valdez for the Astros and Max Fried for the Braves, looked like jokers instead in their first appearances in the WS. The teams have announced that Luis Garcia will face Ian Anderson tonight, but future pairings are the dreaded TBD at this point. Whichever team can nurse their bullpen the best and perhaps get a longer than expected start from someone/anyone may well win this World Series.

But in the absence of that, the Astros must get on an offensive roll if they want to take back this trophy that no one but their friends wants them to have.

45 comments on “World Series 2021: The Astros strike back

  1. Dan…WHAT hitters?? Bottom of the 5th and….NO HITS.
    I won’t go into details but I had the same thing in 2014, and spent 7 days in the hospital. NO FUN! Like I have said one and over again, these guys go brain dead when they have days off between games, and Altuve just had a dumb error. JEEZE.😳

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  2. * What the heck, Eddie Rosario? Your team has a no-hitter in the 8th inning and you don’t even attempt to catch that ball?
    * Astros were not ready to play, like so many times in 2021 against beatable teams.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They were all yapping about the Astros outfield defense, when Rosario looked a lot worse than Yordan and somehow Kyle Tucker who had only played in centerfield 5 times in his career had the defensive play of the game. That Rosario play was so weird – even a bad fielder knows its do or die on the no hitter and instead he shied away.
      That was a miserable offensive performance by the Astros – they were not even making loud outs. I know the weather made it tough, but you have to power through that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Our club is supposed to win when the pitching staff only gives up 2 runs. We are once again in the same situation as we were with the Red Sox. Must win situation. I don’t think these Atlanta guys are going to go down so willingly though.

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  4. How have the Astros fared against a pitcher (especially left handed) against a pitcher making his very first start….NOT good. I wish these guys luck tonight but color me not hopeful. Greinke starts tonight, how long will HE last and who takes over behind him…again not hopeful. Good luck fellas you’re going to need it. They either want it or they don’t totally up to them.

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  5. It is time for a clutch hit. Getting really tired of all the strike outs. Very weak hitting last night and the 1st inning tonight. 1-0 is better than being behind but I don’t think a shutout is going to happen.

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  6. Atlanta’s pitching has been better than our hitting.
    Atlanta’s hitting has been better than our pitching.
    Atlanta’s manager has been better than our manager.
    Our vaunted infield has sucked at the plate.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It would be a heck of a comeback at this point. Javier picked the worst day of his life to throw two very bad pitches. But overall, our pitching has been excellent in three of the four games. Our great offensive has let us down. It’s that simple.

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  8. I shot a big buck with black powder rifle Friday evening out of my blind. Our little mix cow dog trailed it and found it for us.
    This morning my daughter in law was in my blind and took an even bigger buck with her black powder rifle. My son woke me up at 9:00 revving up the tractor in front of my porch with her deer hanging from the front end loader.
    One week removed from her copperhead incident, I guess she is doing fine.
    Her buck was bigger!
    World Series and big bucks! All the years of pulling for the Astros and working so hard to find a little piece of land to buy and build on has come to this and Mom and I lived to see it. God is good!

    Liked by 2 people

    • OP, glad to hear Daughter in law is OK. Didn’t hear about the Copperhead incident but their bites can be real serious. I watch a lot of videos about venomous snakes and try to watch out for them here in NC, especially Copperheads with which there seems to be an abundance of them. I too am looking for some land closer to the mountains and away from the city. Hopefully, that will come to fruition.
      As for the Astros, your comments above are spot on. Can’t describe it any other way. The sad part of it is if the Braves prevail, I’ll have to listen to listen to all the local fans and pseudo fans rub it in from now until whenever.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. By my count the Astros have won at least three games in a row 15 times in the regular season and once in the postseason.
    That’s all I got – they just have to hit…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well with schizophrenia so rampant on this team, they can easier turn into an unbeatable team. Or they could fold the tent and leave Atlanta for parts unknown. Not return to Houston until the start of 2022 season. Who knows which “twin” shows up tonight or the rest of the Series.

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  11. Crazy game – get buried right off the bat and then dig themselves out – then get down one.
    Guys – time for another crooked number

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  12. Let’s hope the Astros are figuring out the Braves bullpen. And let’s hope the Braves forget what they know about all the Astros pitchers. But it was a win that was required. Two more to go, but just one at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. These guys are impossible to figure out. 3 RBI’s from Maldy, 2 from Marwin, another hit from Grienke. Alvarez goes hitless again. Framber spooked one more time, the pen was remarkable. I feel cautiously optimistic about Tuesday. The bats, while not fully awakened, seem itching to break out.

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  14. DOLLY PARTON had this to say:

    Tumbled out of bed, ran to check in on the home team;
    found myself caught up in a Halloween dream;
    Duvall … long-ball … the chop-chant came alive!
    Then the bottom of our order started hittin’ and a-scorin’;
    a couple of two-spots … and then came MARWIN!
    And before ya knew it, we were up – Nine to Five!

    Nine-to-Five, what a way to keep it goin’!
    The good guys stayed alive; so now let’s keep the wins a flowin’;
    Our guys are comin’ home; so let’s hit the Juice Box screamin’;
    and make some rainy nights in Georgia, while all California’s dreamin’

    NINE-to-Five; now we’ve got ’em where we want ’em;
    the offense has arrived – the ghost of Chris Burke came to haunt ’em!
    Don’t know who will pitch, but I don’t think it will matter;
    if our big guys bring the lumber and the crowd keeps up the chatter,
    We’ll win nine t0 five!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. * One thing I find encouraging is that Maldonado usually gets hot in spurts of 4-5 games. Hoping that his RBIs keep coming.
    * Graveman was totally running on fumes by the end of last night’s game. But he gave Pressly a night off. Raley, Javier, Odorizzi, Y. Garcia, Stanek and Pressley should be available Tuesday night.

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  16. So, does Zack Greinke DH for us the next two games?
    He has more hits in this series than either Yordan Alvarez, Jose Siri, or Chaz McCormick, and he has exactly the same hit total of Bregman.

    I am being light-hearted; a little.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Plenty of questions about who should be starting today. If Garcia, with his excellent home stats can give 4 or 5 solid innings and our offense does what it’s supposed to do, then we’ll be in pretty good shape. The bats have to take some pressure off the arms.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Here we are at game 6 of the World Series and the Astros are in it at home.
    Think about how wonderful that is. It is what we, and every fan of every other team in baseball, dreams of and wishes for.
    Here’s a toast to the 2021 Astros and we pull for them with all we have tonight.
    None of the talk matters.
    What matters is the final score and we hope it is in our favor.
    I think the Astros have the horses to pull it off and make it to a winner take all game 7.

    Liked by 1 person

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