Repeat after me: ball go far, team go far. That’s the way this postseason has been, and that’s the way it ended, as the Atlanta Braves drilled three home runs last night to clinch their first World Series since 1995.
At long last, this dreadful season has finally come to a close. Fortunately, while Yankees fans aren’t exactly thrilled with the way the season ended, they can at least take solace in the fact that they don’t have to watch one of their rivals take home the Commissioner’s Trophy.
What Happened Last Night?
World Series Game 6
Atlanta Braves 7, Houston Astros 0
(Atlanta clinches series, 4 games to 2)
For the first two innings and two outs, both starting pitchers traded zeroes, but in the third, Atlanta got to Luis Garcia and struck first. Ozzie Albies led off the inning with a single, and although Garcia got both Travis d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson to fly out, he put the speedster in scoring position by walking Eddie Rosario. Of course, it turned out that Rosario was also in scoring position, as designated hitter Jorge Soler capped off an eight-pitch at-bat by depositing a 3-2 cutter beyond the train in left field and out of the stadium.
Cristian Javier shut down Atlanta’s offense in the fourth, but they added on to their lead again in the fifth. Albies once again got on base to lead off the inning, this time via a walk. After Travis d’Arnaud struck out, Dansby Swanson chased Javier from the game by drilling a 2-2 fastball into the left field seats, and although it didn’t look quite as majestic as his teammate’s bomb, the runs counted all the same. They would add on another run that frame courtesy of a Freddie Freeman RBI double off Blake Taylor, scoring Soler from first.
Not content with just a double, Freeman joined the home run brigade with a solo shot of his own in the seventh, adding yet another insurance run that helped destroy Houston’s morale and put the game finally out of reach.
Of course, Atlanta’s bats weren’t the only story of the game — Max Fried capped off the season with the best performance by a starting pitcher in this World Series. He got off to a rough start in the first, putting runners on first and second with nobody out despite not allowing a ball out of the infield — not to mention, getting his ankle stepped on by Michael Brantley in the process — but he bounced back to strike out Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel and induce a Yordan Alvarez groundout to escape unscathed.
After that, he settled down, allowing only two more baserunners over the next five innings (both of whom were eliminated via double plays), giving him a final line of no runs on four hits in six innings, striking out six and not walking a batter. It was the longest outing by a starting pitcher since Framber Valdez went eight innings in Game 6 of the ALCS.
Continuing his hot October/November, Tyler Matzek dominated the Astros lineup for two innings, pitching around a leadoff single in the seventh and striking out the side in the eighth. Closer Will Smith closed the door in the ninth, working around a leadoff single by Brantley to secure the World Series.
Jorge Soler received this year’s World Series MVP, the second Cuban MVP in baseball history, courtesy of his three home runs over the last six games.
What’s On Deck?
Bring on the lawyers! With the World Series over, the entire league turns its eyes toward the negotiations between the league and the player’s union over the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. Will there be a work stoppage? Only time will tell.
In the more immediate future, I imagine that the Atlanta Braves spent the night and early morning celebrating at Minute Maid Park. The rest of us, however, wish this season a not-so-fond farewell as we shift completely into offseason mode.