By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL/Designated Writers
You always hear that the goal of the visiting team in a 2-3-2 best-of-seven series is to try to split the first two games. The first two games of this year’s World Series might have been the classic case of BOTH teams being happy with a split after Houston’s 7-2 Wednesday night in Game 2.
Atlanta is happy to get a chance to go back to Truist Park with a chance to win it, although it would mean the Braves would have to win all three. Houston knew the Braves had a pitching advantage in the first two games, but Atlanta might be at a pitching disadvantage in the next three games after the injury to Braves ace Charlie Morton.
It wouldn’t have been over for the Astros had they gone down 2-0 in the series, but being at 1-1 might actually be more pleasing to Houston than Atlanta.
Other squeezings from two games at Minute Maid Park:
** Far be it from me to question Fox’s Joe Buck, but it bothers me when he says a pitcher “struck out the side,” which he claimed Houston’s Jose Urquidy did in the first inning. And it was no mistake — he kept bringing up the possibility and then couldn’t wait to say it after Atlanta’s Jorge Soler swung and missed for the third out. But the Braves had two singles in the inning; so how exactly is that striking out the side? Doesn’t it imply that three batters came to the plate and three batters struck out? So if 13 batters come to the plate and a guy gives up 10 home runs, but the other three strike out, is that some great accomplishment?
** Have y’all seen the bat boy in the Braves’ dugout? If the series returns to Houston, you gotta check this guy out. He may pick up bats, but he’s no boy. Looks like he stopped in from the Harley Davidson convention next door. Long hair, full beard and looks like he could bench press a train.
** You can keep telling me how the shift works and I’ll keep telling you how I see evidence that it doesn’t.
** Next time Houston’s Michael Brantley doesn’t have a quality at bat, let me know. I’ll wait.
** After a four-hour game Tuesday night, Urquidy did us all a favor in Game 2.He quickly got in a rhythm on the mound and worked fast. Pitch, get the ball back and throw it again. It took two hours to play a little more than three innings Tuesday night; it was the sixth inning at the two-hour mark Wednesday night.
** Atlanta’s Max Fried may not have had his best stuff — he couldn’t get the Astros to swing and miss — but he did accomplish a secondary goal by pitching into the sixth inning. The Braves went all in for Game 1 by using their four best relievers. The last thing the Braves needed was to use any of these four if they didn’t have to. It wasn’t the outcome the Braves wanted, but they didn’t waste relief pitching capital.