By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
The 2021 World Series gets underway today at Minute Maid Park in Houston, with the Houston Astros hosting the Atlanta Braves in Game 1. As always, ESPN Honolulu will broadcast every game of the Fall Classic. Here’s a quick primer on some of the storylines, stats and history that you might want to know. Let’s play ball!
♦ The Astros are -145 favorites to beat the Braves in this year’s World Series. The Astros were 95-67 in the regular season, winning the American League West Division by five games. The Braves, meanwhile, captured the National League Division by 6.5 games, with an 88-73 record.
♦ The Braves have won three World Series championships, with their last title in 1995. This will be the ninth World Series appearance for the franchise – they also competed as the Boston Braves and Milwaukee Braves – with their most recent appearance being 1999. Houston, meanwhile, has won one World Series title (in 2017) in three tries. The Astros’ most recent World Series was in 2019.
♦ While Houston has enjoyed great success in recent years – this is their third World Series appearance in five seasons – the franchise is still trying to redeem itself from the infamous sign-stealing scandal that tarnished its 2017 championship. The scandal ultimately resulted in fines, suspensions and the loss of draft picks.
♦ For the city of Atlanta, their baseball team’s World Series appearance can be considered sweet redemption. Earlier this year, Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game from Atlanta as a way to protest the state of Georgia’s voting laws. Now, the city will host at least two World Series games.
♦ Dusty Baker, the 72-year-old manager of the Astros, is making his first World Series appearance since leading the San Francisco Giants to the 2002 Fall Classic.
♦ Braves manager Brian Snitker has a unique connection to the opposing team: His son, Troy, is an assistant hitting coach for the Astros.
♦ Houston jumped to the American League in 2013. Prior to that, the Astros and Braves battled five times in the National League Divisional Series within a nine-year span, from 1997 through 2005. The Braves won three of those series.
♦ ALCS Yordan Alvarez (+900) is the favorite to win the World Series MVP Award. Astros teammate Jose Altuve (+1000) is next, followed by Houston outfielder Michael Brantley, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa and Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (+1100).
♦ Here is the complete World Series schedule on ESPN Honolulu:
TODAY, OCT. 26: Game 1 at Houston (1:00 p.m.)
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 27: Game 2 at Houston (1:00 p.m.)
FRIDAY, OCT. 29: Game 3 at Atlanta (1:00 p.m.)
SATURDAY, Oct. 30: Game 4 at Atlanta (1:00 p.m.)
SUNDAY, Oct. 31: Game 5 at Atlanta (1:00 p.m.) – IF NECESSARY
TUESDAY, Nov. 2: Game 6 at Houston (1:00 p.m.) – IF NECESSARY
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 3: Game 7 at IF NECESSARY