Don’t know how this going to work out, but this recap is my attempt to live blog game 4 of the 2021 World Series. Quite often I’ll follow along with the comments on the game threads, but tonight you are getting my unvarnished (and quite possibly ill-informed) reactions without the benefit of the crowd. I also usually have the sound turned down since the announcers don’t generally add much to my enjoyment of the game, so I won’t be reacting to anything they might say (inane or otherwise).
So far it’s been a pretty bad sports day for me. Both my alma maters lost their games and that other team from Georgia kept on rolling as expected, so the sports gods owe me one. It’s not clear to me what the Braves’ plan is tonight after Dylan Lee was tabbed as the surprise opener. I think this is the downside of not having Anderson pitch the 6th last night. If Minter hadn’t been used, I would have let him try to make it through the order once tonight. Hopefully Lee can get through the first unscathed, then I expect we’ll see Wright for as long as he’s effective. Who knows after that. To this point Snitker has been way more right than wrong in the postseason, hope it continues.
First, a musical interlude to get the juices flowing.
All right, comfortably ensconced in my living room with beverage of choice in hand and suitably pumped up, here we go.
First Inning: Altuve with an infield single on the first pitch. Tough play for Dansby, almost got him. Walked Brantley on 5 pitches, not a good start for Lee. Got Bregman swinging, he’s had a terrible series so far. Lee constantly pitching from behind, walks Alvarez on 4 pitches, Snitker pulls him. Stage looked like it was just too big for him, pitching afraid. Now Wright is in, exactly NOT the situation you want to start him with, bases loaded one out. Starts well against Correa but then quickly gets into a full count. Correa hits a nubber to Riley, only play is at 1st, one run in. Gets a friendly call on strike 2 to Tucker, followed by a near-wild pitch where Brantley doesn’t try it, then gets Tucker on a high fastball out of the zone. Nice work to limit the damage.
Rosario hits an easy fly to center, then Freddie drops one in front of Tucker for a single. Albies chases strike 3, and Riley hits a fly off the end of the bat to end the inning. Not off to a great start.
Second Inning: Wright gets ahead of Gurriel, then gets him to ground one to Freddie for an easy out. Grienke singles sharply up the middle on a pitch in the center of the zone, then Maldonado hits a little flair that drops in front of Pederson. Back to the top of the order, danger danger Will Robinson. Altuve rips one down the third base line but Austin makes a fantastic diving play to turn the double into an out, might have saved two runs there. Gets Brantley to hit a routine grounder to second, whew.
Grienke has hitters off balance so far, Pederson grounds weakly to 2nd on a pitch out of the zone, then D’Arnaud watches strike 3. Duvall singles between 3rd and short on a 3-0 count, but Dansby lines out to left. 31 pitches for Grienke so far.
Third Inning: Wright gets Bregman to pop up to Ozzie. Wright just missing to Alvarez, but all his pitches have good movement. On full count, ball 4 is not close. Wright now starting on second time through the order, Correa jumps on 1st pitch for a single, runners 1st and 2nd one out for Tucker. Wright quickly falls behind 3-0, then Tucker grounds sharply to Ozzie, but we can’t quite turn 2. After falling behind 2-0 to Gurriel (squeezed on first pitch), they intentionally walk him to load the bases for Grienke. He hits it up the middle again, but this time Ozzie is able to get to it and retires Grienke to end the inning. Wright walking a tightrope but hasn’t fallen yet.
Snit is letting Wright bat leading off the Atlanta half, and he obligingly strikes out. Very surprised about that choice. Rosario singles to center, but Freddie ground into a double play to snuff out the inning. Not doing any damage to Grienke so far.
Fourth Inning: Wright gets Maldonado to ground weakly to third, then Altuve crushes a pitch at the bottom of zone but over the center of the plate for a homer to straightaway center, 2-0 Astros. Brantley grounds to Freddie, and Wright strikes out Bregman (whose miseries thankfully continue) to end the Astros half. Game is still in reach, but need to get something going offensively.
Ozzie grounds to short, then Riley hits a hard shot up the middle for a single. But Pederson promptly hits into another double play, nothing doing.
Fifth Inning: Wright gets Alvarez to chase a breaking ball down and in for a strikeout. Wright is now facing the order for the third time. Really surprised Snit has let him pitch this far into the game, but he gets Correa to ground out weakly to short for the second out. Tucker rips a liner past Ozzie, now Gurriel is up. Tucker steals second and in almost a replay of last night, D’Arnaud’s throw skips into center, Tucker advancing to 3rd. They intentionally walk Gurriel again, and Baker pinch hits for Grienke with Marwin Gonzales. Grienke goes 4, scatters 4 hits. The Astros got everything they could have hoped for out of him. Need to get Gonzales to stay in this game, and he pops to left to end the threat.
Stanek in for the Astros. Wright is 4th up, so if they get anything going his night will certainly be over. D’Arnaud grounds to 2nd, Duvall pops to left, Dansby looks at strike 3, more futility.
Sixth Inning: Snit sends Martin out, so Wright’s night is over. Overall Wright did well, with the homer to Altuve being the only real mistake. Martin gets Maldonado to hit a soft liner to Ozzie and strikes out Altuve, then Brantley hits a grounder through the infield for a single. Bregman’s awful series continues with an easy grounder to short to force Brantley to end the Astro’s half. He’s been a human rally killer.
Raley pitching for the Astros. Arcia pinch hits for Martin and promptly flies out to right. Rosario’s hot series continues with a smoked double to right, the first real threat of the night for the Braves. Smyly and Matzek both up in the pen, guess it will be Matzek if the Braves rally, Smyly otherwise. Let’s keep Smyly in the pen, shall we? Freddie walks, Dusty yanks Raley for Maton. Come on Ozzie … crap he strikes out on a full-count fastball up and in. It’s up to Riley if this is going to amount to anything … he comes through with a single to left, Rosario scores easily. Riley risks advancing to 2nd on the throw and is almost out when he overslides the base but fortunately Altuve did not make contact all the way through the slide and Riley falls back on the bag before Altuve reapplies the tag. They are reviewing but he was clearly safe. Dusty intentionally walks Pederson to get the righty match-up with D’Arnaud, bases loaded, c’mon Travis … he stares at strike 3 right down Broadway. Man that hurts.
Seventh Inning: Snit brings in Matzek, need to hold them here. Alvarez grounds to short, Correa grounds to third, but Tucker lines one over third for a single. Gurriel flies out to right. Braves pitchers have still not had a clean inning, but this one was relatively drama free at least.
Javier in for Houston, Duvall up for the Braves, strikes out on a nasty off-speed pitch. Dansby up … Lt. Dans !!!! Homer to right, game tied at 2!!! Fastball right down the heart of the plate and he didn’t miss it. Soler now hits for Matzek, more damage please … holy crap, he did it, a smoked liner just out of the reach of Alvarez over the bullpen fence in left field. Braves lead, Braves lead, Braves lead!!! That’s all for Javier, still only one out. Pressly in to face Rosario … he strikes out on a breaking pitch down in the dirt. Freddie up … and Pressly gets him with a high fastball. But we finally dented the Astro’s pen, now let’s finish them off.
Eighth Inning: Jackson in to pitch the 8th, c’mon let’s see good Luke. Leading off is pinch hitter Diaz. Minter is warming up in case of trouble. Wow close checked swing that would have been strike 3, could have gone either way but probably the right call. After fighting off several full count pitches, Diaz hits a hard liner to left but right at Rosario, one out. Maldonado up, Luke goes full on him as well … then strikes him out on a low breaking ball, two down. Top of the order with Altuve … holy crap he smokes the first pitch to left but Rosario somehow snags it! It was almost a carbon-copy of Soler’s homer, and off the bat I thought sure it was gone. But Altuve did not quite hit it as far as Soler’s drive and it wouldn’t have quite cleared the fence. Excellent play by Rosario, only three more outs to get. Can Smith do it again? How about getting him some Smith Space please?
Pressly back out to face Ozzie, he draws a walk. Riley strikes out, then Pederson is hit by a pitch on his left foot on an 1-2 count, Heredia in as pinch-runner and defensive replacement. Travis up with a chance to extend the lead … but he strikes out again, that’s three K’s for D’Arnaud. Duvall pops out to third to end the threat, now it’s the Will Smith Experience once more, no net this time.
Ninth Inning: Heredia in center, Duvall shifts over to right. C’mon Will let’s close them out without any drama. Brantley up to start things off … and Smith strikes him out with a perfect pitch on the lower outside corner. Bregman up … and he pops out on the first pitch, he has really stunk up the joint. One more out to get and its Alvarez … first pitch breaking ball down in the zone for strike 1. Second pitch another breaking ball, this time on the lower outside corner, strike 2. Third pitch in the dirt. Fourth pitch inside 2-2. Alvarez fights off pitch 5. Pitch 6, Alvarez hits a grounder to Freddie, unassisted for the final out, Braves win!!!
What a game. A couple of exceptional defensive plays and back-to-back homers were the difference. Kyle Wright held the Astros in check and the bullpen was lights out yet again. Up 3 games to 1, how about we close this thing out on our home field Sunday?