Question 2: the World Series
2) It was a long time in coming, but the Braves finally took home the Commissioner’s Trophy. What will you remember most from that run?
Whenever you win a World Series, a lot of things have to go “right” and a lot of things have to come together. That said, things were considerably frustrating for Braves fans early on as the team really didn’t seem to “gel” as expected.
Then came the bad news: Ronald Acuna out for the year. Marcell Ozuna got hurt and then did something stupid which put him out for the year as well.
Mike Soroka reinjured his Achilles, due to a freak allergic reaction to sutures… and he was gone for the duration. Huascar Ynoa lost a round with a dugout bench. Travis d’Arnaud messed up a hand ligament.
At that point, many — if not most — were about ready to mail in the rest of the year. Then Alex Anthopolous happened.
He basically grabbed every bat he could find, plus Richard Rodriguez (though he proved ineffective)… and that seemed to energize the team.
You could argue that a lack-luster NL East helped Atlanta’s chances, but there’s also a view that all of its members were beating up one another until the Braves finally went on a run to take charge (consider the volume of top-level pitching in this division).
But that run was fueled by the emergence of the pitching staff (both starters and relievers), Austin Riley, and the newly-acquired bats.
All that produced a hot team entering October, and one that could throw enough quality pitching at anyone while clutch hitting (particularly against some key mound opposition) provided enough offense to carry the club. Having been involved in the playoffs for 3 years prior certainly helped as well.
In total, 3 starters (and arguably just 2 in the World Series) held serve enough times to win the day despite all of the adversity that this team had to overcome. Significant honorable mentions to several others making cameo appearances (13 pitchers cobbled together 53 innings).
There are clubs that win the season because they seem destined for it. There are clubs that fail to reach that plateau despite looking unbeatable (the 1996 Braves, for instance).
The 2021 Braves won it because everything came together at the right time — shocking everyone in the process.