Starter Ian Anderson and two Atlanta Braves shorters kept the Houston Astros unbeaten through seven rounds en route to a decisive 2-0 win in Game Three of the World Series Friday night. The Braves now lead the best series out of seven with two-to-one games.
The 23-year-old rookie Anderson rolled five of those unbeaten runs. He did so despite inconsistent orders, and Braves manager Brian Snitker raised him before facing the tough Houston lineup for the third time. The decision proved wise, as Braves Restaurant completed closing.
Houston finally had his first hit when hitter Aledmys Diaz took the eighth place against Tyler Matzek by throwing a single in front of Eddie Rosario at left. Thus ended what was the longest unsuccessful World Series Show since Jim Luneburg’s 7 2/3 run-off in Game Two of the 1967 Fall Classic. The Astros finished two strokes into the night, with Alex Bregman leading the ninth inning with one song .
As for Anderson, he became the first starting bowler in World Championship history to be removed after throwing no fewer than five innings without an injury. After four starts and 17 runs during these playoffs, Anderson now boasts an ERA of 1.59.
The first half of the game came in one double by Austin Riley in the third, who ranked Freddie Freeman. Atlanta catcher Travis Darno added a valuable insurance boost in eighth when he crashed a singleton on his turf outside the Astros’ Kendall Graviman residence. D’Arnaud now has five hits during the first three games of the series.
The Astros will try to even chain in Game 4 on Saturday night at Trust Park. Here are five notes from Game 3.
Anderson was unacceptable
dominant? not necessarily, But Ian Anderson threw five no-kick rounds against the Astros in Game 5, which limits the highest attack rate in baseball to three walks and hitting bats. Hitting four and throwing is nearly as many balls (37) as hits (39). It was tied for the third time with the longest running unrealized starter in Braves Posteason’s history:
- Derek Lowe: 5 1/3 innings against the Giants in 2010 NLDS Game 4
- Bill James: 5 1/3 innings vs. athletics in the 1914 World Championship game 2
- Ian Anderson: 5 runs vs the Astros in 2021 World Series Game 3
- Tom Glavin: 5 innings against the Cubs in 1998 NLDS Game 2
- Tom Glavin: 5 innings against Cleveland in the 1995 World Championship Game 6
Anderson’s unsuccessful show is the second longest running debutante show in World Series history, trailing the late former Giant Jeff Tesero. Tesreau kept the Red Sox out of the hitting column for 5 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the 1912 World Championships.
According to the Statcast, only one Astros hitter put a ball into play with an expected hitting average north of .270 (based on exit velocity and launch angle) against Anderson. That was Martin Maldonado’s lineup in the fifth. Similar hits hit 67 percent of the time. Other than that, the Astros didn’t hit anything hard against Anderson. Look at its display sites:
The heart of the region couldn’t be avoided much better than that. Not surprisingly, Anderson caught the Astros with an average exit speed of 85.6 mph, which is excellent. It’s hard to drive the ball when you don’t get something in the wheelhouse and you have to reach for it constantly.
Unfortunately, Braves manager Brian Snitker did not want Anderson to pass the lineup for a third time, so he was not allowed to continue the unsuccessful bid. It’s understandable. The Astros are excellent, and as efficient as Anderson was, he wasn’t sharp. The Bulls were resting and all the high-powered Atlanta rides were lined up. Why try to steal with a novice who walked a tightrope all night? Either way, a historic outing for Anderson.
Bulls were almost unbeatable
It shows that Tyler Matzek, who is arguably the most dominant bowler in either league this post-season, will give up the blow that broke the hitter. Aledmys Diaz raised a soft float to the shallow left that sank in front of Eddie Rosario to achieve Houston’s first hit. Similar hit balls (based on exit speed, launch angle, etc.) fall 44 percent of the time. Not good, but in good shape.
Diaz’s kick came ahead of the eighth game. As noted earlier, the Braves are the first team not to allow a hit by seven rounds in a World Championship game since Jim Luneburg of the Red Sox did it all himself in Game 2 of the 1967 World Championships against the Cardinals. Lonborg lost his unsuccessful attempt with two wins in the eighth inning and had to settle the entire match with one stroke.
Alex Bregman led the ninth inning with one reverse medal, though the next three hits went out to end the game. Game three was the 175th game of 2021 for the Astros, and only the fifth time that two goals or fewer have been scored. The Mariners got it twice in April, the White Sox got it in July, the Athletics got it in September, and now the Braves got it in October.
The Astros went into Game 5 averaging 6.33 points per game in this postseason—they’ve scored no fewer than three runs in all twelve postseason games—but five Braves bowlers kept Houston in two soft singles in nine innings in the Game 5. Anderson started and threw five rounds without injury, followed in order by AJ Minter, Luke Jackson, Tyler Matzek and Will Smith. Nine runs of excellence.
Scratch Atlanta Cross Running
Truth be told, it should have been more than one run. For a few rounds there, I felt the Braves would regret scoring only one in the third, despite the one-round layoff. Like Anderson, Astros righty Luis Garcia was effectively savage in Game 5 – he walked four times in 3 2/3 runs – even though he needed 72 shots to get 11. He, too, was not allowed to face the squad for the third time.
The Atlanta Rally started round three with a picnic provided by Eddie Rosario and one song by Freddy Freeman. After an Ozzie Albies hit, Austin Riley led in the game’s first round with a double down the left field line. To the action movie:
Riley’s double brought home a run and put the runners at second and third bases with one exit. Jorge Soler then walked to load the bases, but Garcia bounced back to make Adam Duval pop into foul territory and hit Travis de Arno, cutting off the loaded bases. Some expected run numbers:
- Runners in the first and second unchecked: 1,373 expected innings (after Freeman’s single)
- One-way loaded rules: 1.520 projected inning rounds (after Riley’s weakness, 1 round already)
The Braves came under the expected totals in both scenarios. Against a team like the Astros, you can’t miss chances like this and expect to not regret it, but Atlanta was able to thread the needle in Game Three. Center in the game, stranded by nine contestants.
Arnault is building an MVP case
There’s still a long way to go in the series, though, though Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud should be the hot favorite for the World Series MVP right now. He made massive insurance with an eighth singles game at home against Astros right-hand Kendall Grafman in Game 3, taking a 1-0 lead to a 2-0 lead.
It was a cold, rainy night in Atlanta – off baseball weather – and it takes some serious force to push the ball into a dead center field in those conditions. At 112.6 mph, the home run is the hardest hit ball hit this season and the most hit ball Graveman has allowed this season. It is also the first home run Graveman to be allowed to hit the right in 2021.
By three games, d’Arnaud is 5 for 12 (.417) with two home runs in the series. He’s the highest hitting average of any average player on either team, and Darno is the only player to have that many home runs in this series. Once again, the World Championships are still very far from over, but Dar Arnault is making an impact, and he’s now the favorite for the MVP award.
The brave have the edge
Historically, teams that advance 2-1 in the top seven out of seven have won the series 70 percent of the time, so the odds are in Atlanta’s favor at the moment. Of course, the World Championship is far from over, especially with a few potentially chaotic Bullpen games on deck in the next few days. Right now, though, the Braves only need to win two of the next four matches to claim a title while the Astros must win three of their four.
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