HOUSTON -- This has to be music to the ears of Atlanta Braves fans: For the first time since 1995, the Atlanta Braves are World Series champions.
Remember, the Braves started the season 0-4. They evened things up at 4-4, but then lost four more in a row. They never topped .500 until Aug. 6! That was shortly after they weirdly alternated wins and losses for a whopping 14 games. They finished on a 36-18 run, but that came after they lost Ronald Acuña Jr. to a torn ACL.
This was truly an earned championship. Freddie Freeman is the rock. Austin Riley emerged as an MVP candidate. Trade deadline additions Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario starred at different points in filling up the lost production from Acuña and Ozuna. Ozzie Albies brings his power-speed combo. Charlie Morton and Max Fried were the rotation horses. Will Smith, Luke Jackson, Tyler Matzek (what a story!) and A.J. Minter formed a fearsome foursome to close down games come October.
And what can you even say about manager Brian Snitker and his coaching staff, notably third-base coach and infield guru Ron Washington? What a group. Snitker said after he pulled Anderson after five no-hit innings in Game 3 -- which shouldn't have been controversial, even if some people wanted to make it so -- he said he used his eyes and his gut. He often does that and he was brilliant in the postseason with his bullpen decisions.
The Braves only won 88 games in the regular season, but they are truly deserving champions after the run they made starting in early August. They, obviously, have the top spot in the post-playoffs Power Rankings.
|I'm extremely interested to see what happens with their outfield heading to next year, but of course, all eyes are on free agent Freddie Freeman.||9||88-73|
|Among others, long-time Dodgers Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Corey Seager hit free agency. It'll be a fascinating offseason.||--||106-56|
|Was that 107-win season a fluke? Are they really going to be this good again in 2021? Will be fun to find out. They had a lot of older guys and "outta nowhere" big performances.||2||107-55|
|Is this the end for Dusty Baker? I'm worried it might be. The game is better with him in it.||--||95-67|
|Quite a run, really. No one, not even their own front office, thought they'd get this far back in the spring.||6||92-70|
|Who is getting traded this time? Just Tyler Glasnow?||3||100-62|
|As long as they have three aces, they are contenders, but will Christian Yelich get back in his groove?||1||95-67|
|And now, one last ride with Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina.||3||90-72|
|The offense ranked 10th in the AL in runs scored this season. That's just unacceptable and needs to be fixed.||2||92-70|
|They probably need to bring back both Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien. Can they?||2||91-71|
|Surely they'll have better luck with injuries next year, right?||2||93-69|
|The time to be aggressive in free agency is right now, Mariners. Gotta capitalize on last season.||--||90-72|
|Losing Bob Melvin seems like a harbinger of a downturn in the organization.||--||86-76|
|They need a big offseason again. The roster just seems like a half-measure. Complete the job.||--||82-80|
|Nick Castellanos is going to opt out, right? Surely he is. He's coming off a monster season and lots of big market clubs have money to spend.||--||83-79|
|Say farewell to this nickname and hello to the Guardians. Well, maybe?||--||80-82|
|I absolutely love the Bob Melvin hire. Now let's get Fernando Tatis, Jr.'s shoulder healthy.||--||79-83|
|Mike Trout only played 36 games and Anthony Rendon was sub-par for 58. It's pretty remarkable they were able to win 77.||--||77-85|
|Spencer Torkelson is tearing up the Arizona Fall League. Won't be long ...||--||77-85|
|I can report that I, too, have removed my name from consideration for their president of baseball operations job. For real, though, this has been a bloodbath.||--||77-85|
|I was tracking it all season so let's close with it. The Rockies played like a 96-win team at home and 52-win team on the road. Amazing.||--||74-87|
|Byron Buxton was second on the team in WAR and he only played in 61 games.||--||73-89|
|Let's take another moment to stare in awe at Salvador Perez and his 48-homer, 121-RBI season.||--||74-88|
|They should spend a ton this offseason or the fan base should boycott Wrigley next year to make the Ricketts family really hurt.||--||71-91|
|There's potential for this to be one of baseball's best rotations next season.||--||67-95|
|They absolutely have to lock Juan Soto up with a Tatis-like monster extension.||--||65-97|
|On one hand, trading Bryan Reynolds this offseason seems like malpractice. On the other, I'm not sure he'll ever have more value and they could get a killing in return.||--||61-101|
|I have no idea what the plan is, but they should have the ability to spend a truckload of money in free agency.||--||60-102|
|Eduardo Escobar led the team in home runs by eight. He was traded in July.||--||52-110|
|Next year for Adley Rutschman? He just hit .312/.405/.490 in his 43 Triple-A games.||--||52-110|