With every star that gives up, Atlanta throws another

HOUSTON – The top player of this World Series watched from a luxury suite at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night. The second best player ...


HOUSTON – The top player of this World Series watched from a luxury suite at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night. The second best player watched from the visitors’ dugout. The pitcher with the best playoff resume limped off the field with a broken leg.

The Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves are here trying to tune the 117th World Series. Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Charlie morton are out of action – Ohtani because he plays for the Los Angeles Angels (he won an award on Tuesday), Acuña because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament and Morton because a hot comebacker broke his right fibula in the second round of the first game. He stayed at bat to take out Jose Altuve in the third.

“I didn’t think it was broken, I just thought he had taken a rope hit in his leg,” said wide receiver Travis d’Arnaud. “But to go over there and hit the next guy with a broken leg, that blows my mind.”

It was a fluke injury, like Acuña’s in July, but the injuries symbolize all the proud players who rushed to the finish line this fall. Season is always a chore – baseball folks love the word – but never more than now, at the end of a full schedule that followed a 60-game sprint as the pandemic raged last year.

The teams left standing are the deepest. That’s why the Astros have been successful despite losing their No.1 starter Lance McCullers Jr. to forearm strain in the Division Series. Zack Greinke, 38, is a tired warhorse, with only one or two trots in him. Justin Verlander, who had Tommy John surgery last fall, is just a memory.

Field specialist Framber Valdez gave the Astros the best launched game of the playoffs last week at Fenway Park. But in Tuesday’s opening game, the ace role didn’t suit him. Atlanta won, 6-2, chasing Valdez in the third inning.

“It was my first World Series game so I’m not going to tell you that I didn’t feel pressure, I didn’t feel any kind of tension,” Valdez said through an interpreter. , with admirable candor. “But I did all I could to lower that, lower the adrenaline, lower the emotion that I was feeling.”

Alas, Valdez could not lower his throws. He said he threw too hard, which kept his fastball from sinking and his change from cheating. It was another disappointment at home for the Astros, who lost all four games here – and the title – to the Washington Nationals in 2019.

The last time the Astros won the World Series, in 2017, Morton was on the mound. Like everyone else, the Astros loved Morton – who is both a gentle soul and a fierce competitor – but they worried about his shoulder and quickly let him go. Big mistake.

Morton didn’t beat the Astros in Game 1, but he might as well have been. The Braves would have loved five solid innings from Morton, who rarely goes much longer than that in the playoffs. Instead, they got seven strikeouts from him and eight from reliever AJ Minter.

Aside from the devastating injury, it was as if Morton left the stage halfway through a performance, and Minter played him flawlessly until the end of the act. Minter, who struggled so hard that he was sent to the miners for three weeks this summer, warmed up as Morton faced Altuve on his creaky leg.

“I wish that hadn’t happened to Charlie; he’s a leader, ”Minter said. “But we are not going to feel sorry for ourselves. We just have to keep going. I’ve joked with the guys all year. I was like, “Just turn me into a starter, I’m good to go.”

Minter threw 43 career-high shots helping Atlanta win a World Series game for the first time since 1996, when Greg Maddux silenced Yankee Stadium with a Game 2 masterpiece. title, the Braves seemed to have it all. But they lost the next four games and again lost four in a row in their rematch against the Yankees in 1999.

From there, Atlanta became an easy outing in October, narrowly missing the World Series on its next 12 playoff trips. Last year, with no days off in the National League Championship Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a three-game-one lead wiped out.

No such worries now. Even without Morton for the rest of the World Series, Atlanta’s pitchers have built-in rest days after Game 2 and a potential Game 5.

“In the future, I think everything will be fine,” said d’Arnaud. “We have had these days of enclosure during the year. I think the days off the day after tomorrow are going to be very beneficial, whereas last year it was seven days in a row and we had a little paddling game in Game 3. So that made us feel good. somehow ate a little differently.

This year Atlanta has always depended on the kind of resilience the team displayed in Game 1. General manager Alex Anthopoulos traded for four outfielders shortly after Acuña’s injury, and one of them, Jorge Soler, missed much of this playoff after testing positive. for the coronavirus. On Tuesday, Soler hit a home run as the World Series first hitter. No one had ever done this before.

It seemed like a better scripted feat for Acuña, who could then have replayed, like Andruw Jones in his first two batons in the Bronx in 1996. Instead, Acuña’s magic was simply transferred to Soler and Adam. Duvall, whose colon explosion knocked out Valdez.

Duvall was part of The overhaul of the Atlanta outfield, with Eddie Rosario, the most valuable player in the NLCS; Joc Pederson, the powerful hitter who wears pearls; and Soler, who is from Cuba and said the language barrier worried him after the exchange.

“I just assumed I was going to have a hard time making those connections with some of the English speaking players, but after a weekend it wasn’t,” he said via ‘an interpreter. “I felt like I was already here, playing with my brothers.”

These brothers have come together to take their team further than it has been in decades. In a season of wear and tear across baseball, Atlanta could offer the best example of the power of the collective.

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Newsrust - US Top News: With every star that gives up, Atlanta throws another
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