For old school fans of baseball, the 2021 World Series must have been bizarre.
Openers and bullpen games replaced the traditional World Series starter, turning games into four hour affairs with a constant stream of pitchers running out of the bullpen to take the mound.
Braves ace Max Fried returned the game of baseball to normalcy on Tuesday night.
Fried went six innings — giving up four hits and no runs — and the Atlanta Braves offense swung the bats early and often, winning the organization’s first World Series since 1995 in a 7-0 romp.
For Fried, his six innings thrown was the most by a starting pitcher for the entirety of the World Series — by either team — bouncing back from his rough game two start.
“I just told myself that I was going to go out there and be 100 percent me and just try to pitch and try to win a ballgame,” Fried said. “Just kind of the same mentality that I had in the second half: just go out there and keep guys off-balance, just kind of pitch unorthodox and pitch with my eyes.”
In game two, Fried gave up six earned runs in five innings, allowing Houston to even the series at a game apiece.
“He was way better than the first game,” said Astros’s second baseman Jose Altuve. “He pitched good. He didn’t use his curveball too much tonight, but fastball, slider, changeup was really good. He was almost unhittable.”
While Fried gets a ton of credit for his outing, it was Jorge Soler who took home the World Series MVP, and silenced a raucous Houston crowd early.
With two on and two outs in the Braves half of the third, Soler battled with Houston starting pitcher Luis Garcia for seven pitches, before launching a hanging breaking ball out of Minute Maid Park to give Atlanta an early 3-0 lead.
SOLER HAS LEFT THE BUILDING. pic.twitter.com/IOc5wXreRb
— MLB (@MLB) November 3, 2021
“I just kept battling it out, I’d seen his stuff or whatever, so I was sitting on the off-speed,” Soler said after the game through an interpreter. “I was thinking to myself, if he throws me an off-speed pitch, I can connect and drive the ball. If he throws me a fastball, I’m just going to try to stay alive during this at-bat. I got to 3-2, and I didn’t want the same thing to happen [as] the first-inning at-bat where I struck out on the off-speed pitch. So I was just kind of getting prepared for that.”
It was Soler’s third home run of the World Series, finishing the series batting .300 at the plate with six RBI’s en route to the World Series MVP.
“He’s been swinging the bat so good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “This whole World Series. Even just the walks he was taking were really big.”
Atlanta stretched their lead to six in a three-run fifth, capped off with a two-run home run from shortstop Dansby Swanson.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 3, 2021
For Swanson, who was born and raised in Kennesaw, Georgia, bringing a title to the city of Atlanta meant a little something extra.
“I said it before and I’ll keep saying it, I’m an Atlanta-lifer. I live and die the city of Atlanta and there’s no place that deserves it more than the city of Atlanta,” Swanson told FOX Sports’ Tom Verducci.
“Being raised there, growing up there, having roots there. … I mean I got my family here, my best friends are here, the love of my life (US women’s soccer star Mallory Pugh) is here. You can’t even put into words just how much this means, not for me, but for this entire organization, the entire city. You see the fan base. They’re here,” he added.
The 88-win Braves battled through injuries all year, losing their best player in Ronald Acuna Jr. in July to a torn ACL, and had to get through the Milwaukee Brewers and the 106-win LA Dodgers before taking on the 95-win Astros.
“We hit every pothole, every bump you could possibly hit this year, and somehow the car still made it onto the other side,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “We’ve been the best team since the Trade Deadline, and we played like it all the way into the postseason. We just got hot, and we just carried it over.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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