The Atlanta Braves defeated the Houston Astros in the 2021 World Series, earning their first championship since 1995.
It wasn’t easy at all: the team had to overcome a lot of obstacles, not only in the postseason, but in the year as a whole.
Here are some of those adverse situations that the Braves were able to work around to get the title.
3. Three Top-Tier Teams In The Playoffs
When the Braves managed to win a poor NL East division with only 88 wins, lots of people ruled them out as candidates to get to the World Series because they thought they would face much stronger opponents in October.
They were right in that sentiment: they did face some formidable opponents once they got to the playoffs.
But they were wrong about the most important part: the Braves didn’t falter.
They eliminated the impressive, 95-win Milwaukee Brewers in four games in the best-of-five Division Series.
Then, Atlanta sent home the 2020 World Champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in six games, with a majestic performance by Eddie Rosario.
In the World Series, they topped the favored Houston Astros and their elite lineup.
2021 Braves Championship Path
.609 combined win% is the 2nd-toughest for any World Series winner in the Wild Card Era (since 1995). It was .613 for 2004 Red Sox, who went through the Angels (92-70), Yankees (101-61) & Cardinals (105-57).
— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) November 3, 2021
It wasn’t easy, but Atlanta overcame several top clubs on their way to the championship.
2. Crucial Injuries
The Braves had some terrible injury luck during the 2021 season.
Not only did they lose their best player, Ronald Acuna Jr. in July to a torn ACL (he had 24 homers and 17 stolen bases in just 82 games), but they also lost Mike Soroka to a re-aggravation of his Achilles ailment.
Tucker Davidson, who had 20 solid innings of a 3.60 ERA during the regular season, missed months with a forearm ailment and returned to the World Series.
Huascar Ynoa, who impressed in the season’s first few weeks, punched a wall, fractured his hand, and missed a lot of time.
And, perhaps most importantly, the best starter on the Braves’ roster, Charlie Morton, could only pitch 2.1 innings in the World Series because he broke his right fibula after a comebacker hit him there.
Still getting used to the @Braves being World Champs. To lose Hank and Phil this year and not to have them around to support is so sad. But the injuries/situations they overcame too…
No problem.#BattleATL #WorldSeries
— allan woods (@allanwithtwols) November 3, 2021
The Braves had to work around all these issues, not to mention Marcell Ozuna’s legal situation and placement on administrative leave.
1. A Lack Of Trustworthy Starting Pitching Depth
As a product of Ynoa’s injury in the Championship Series against the Dodgers, Morton’s broken fibula, and Soroka’s absence, the Braves’ starting pitching depth was severely affected during most of the World Series.
They had to turn to Davidson, who hadn’t pitched in a long time, to pitch one of the games against the Astros.
Additionally, reliever Dylan Lee started another one.
The Braves didn’t get good results with any of them.
Davidson hadn’t pitched since June 15 and had to be trusted with the ball for a World Series start.