The Atlanta Braves are two wins away from their first World Series title since 1995. On Friday night from Truist Park in Atlanta, GA, it was the Braves pitching staff which came up huge in a 2-0 Atlanta win over the Houston Astros, to take a two games to one lead in the best out of seven series.
The Atlanta pitchers combined for a two-hitter. Ian Anderson of Clifton Park, NY threw five shutout innings. Hew was followed by A.J. Minter of Tyler, TX, Luke Jackson of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Tyler Matzek of Mission Viejo, CA and Will Smith of Newman, GA, who pitched four innings of shutout baseball in relief.
The Braves pitchers combined for seven strikeouts and three walks. They threw 133 pitches of which 75 were strikes. Interestingly, Astros pitchers also threw 133 pitches, of which 81 were strikes.
Anderson has been incredible on the mound over the last two seasons for the Braves. He has a perfect record of four wins and zero losses in eight postseason games. In 35 2/3 innings, Anderson has given up only 20 hits, five earned runs, and had 40 strikeouts and 17 walks. He also has a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) in the postseason of 1.05.
Over the final four innings on Friday, Minter, Jackson and Matzek all picked top holds, while Smith had a save. For Smith, it was his fifth save of the 2021 Major League Baseball postseason. He also picked up saves for the Braves on October 9 in a 3-0 Braves win over the Milwaukee Brewers in game two of the National League Divisional Series, on October 11 in a 3-0 Braves win over the Brewers in game three of the NLDS, on October 12 in a 5-4 Braves win over the Brewers in games four of the NLDS, and on October 23 in a 4-2 Braves win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in game six of the National League Championship Series.
Offensively for the Braves on Friday, Atlanta had a RBI double from Austin Riley of Memphis, TN in the third inning, and a solo home run from catcher Travis d’Arnaud of Long Beach, CA in the eighth inning. The core of the Astros offense has struggled in the World Series to date. Jose Altuve is batting .154, Alex Bregman is batting .111, Yordan Alvarez is batting .125, and Carlos Correa is batting .100.