It’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish: How the Atlanta Braves battled adversity to get to this year’s World Series

You can’t beat October baseball. Another installment of the MLB Postseason has come and (almost gone), and once again, and it has not disappointed. We saw a deep run made by the Red Sox, who, despite falling two games shy of a World Series appearance, shocked the baseball world by taking down the rival Yankees and 100-win Rays, doing so as a Wild Card team.

We also saw one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports, the Dodgers and Giants, meet for the first time in the playoffs. That series did not disappoint, going all the way to 5 games. All things considered though, there might not be as good of a story as the Atlanta Braves and their long ride to the World Series.

After blowing a 3-1 lead in last year’s National League Championship Series to the Dodgers, the Braves came into the 2021 season with unfinished business. The path of  the World Series for Atlanta, however, has been tough. At the halfway point in the season in July, the Braves found themselves with a losing record. Team stars Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and Dansby Swanson weren’t playing to their full potential, and a decimated pitching staff wasn’t any help, either. Not to mentionthe team’s most valuable player, Ronald Acuna Jr, tore his ACL in July, marking a massive loss for the Braves. General manager Alex Anthopolous had some work to do to improve the roster and acquire some players who would bring the team back to life for the second half of the season. After all, virtually all of last year’s near World Series team was still on the team. The talent was still there. Anthopolous preceded by acquiring four veteran outfielders, each of whom have provided to the team in big ways.

The Braves started a flurry of moves a few weeks before the July 30th deadline by trading for veteran outfielder Joc Pederson from the Cubs. Pederson, known to be a spark plug, has hit nearly 150 home runs over his eight-year career, and has been just that for Atlanta- his high-energy play style and fun personality has shaped him into a fan favorite both on and off the field for Braves fans.

Veteran outfielder Adam Duvall was re-acquired from the Marlins. The 33-year-old had spent part of 2018, and all of 2019, 2020 with Atlanta, and the Braves swung a deal to get him back. Duvall, mainly playing right field, ripped 16 homers in 55 games with the Braves heading into the playoffs. 

Atlanta continued to make moves, acquiring outfielder Eddie Rosario from the Cleveland Indians. The veteran left-handed bat hit for a .254 batting average, along with seven home runs and 46 RBI’s in 78 games with Cleveland. The veteran wasn’t expected to provide much in addition to filling the void left by a future MVP in Acuna, but we’ve seen him surprise many people, dominating in the postseason. As of October 28th, Rosario has hit for a .426 average with 11 homers and 11 runs batted in, in 12 postseason games this month. He’s been just what they’ve needed as he’s been one of, of, if not the best players in all of baseball this postseason. We’ve also seen the Dominican Republic native Jorge Soler, who was acquired from the Royals, provide some big hits, especially his World Series Game One leadoff home run on just the 3rd pitch of the Fall Classic a few nights ago.

The World Series between the Braves and Astros is currently knotted up at 1 game a piece. Atlanta is three wins away from their first World Series championship since 1995. It would be a pretty cool story if the Braves manage to prevail and take down Houston. After everything they’ve gone through this season, especially in the first half, carrying a .611 win percentage in the second half into the postseason. Hopefully they can close out an unforgettable season on top of the baseball world.