Arguably the biggest surprise in this World Series have been the Braves’ ability to shut down the Astros’ lineup in three of the first five games. Those three games — good for a combined four runs for the latter — all coincided with a loss. From a local perspective, the overall struggles of an offense that led the majors in runs scored (863) this season is the defining story of this Fall Classic.
Below is a list of stats that I’ve complied which hopefully sheds more light on how we got to this juncture in the series from a offense point of view. While we’re in small sample territory, it does go without saying that the results matter so much more now than, say, early June.
- Braves have a .736 OPS with runner in scoring position in 28 at-bats, .567 in 46 at-bats for the Astros;
- ALCS MVP Yordan Alvarez is currently 1-for-16 with a 5:6 BB/K;
- 14 barrels (12 hits) for Atlanta, only 7 (4 hits) for Houston;
- Alex Bregman is 2-for-18 with a .168 wOBA;
- When the score is tied, the Braves have 12 hits (four home runs) compared to the Astros at only six hits (zero home runs);
- A ground ball problem: .190 wOBA, .208 xwOBA for Houston; .301 wOBA, .258 xwOBA for Atlanta;
- Home run breakdown: eight for the Braves, two for the Astros.
In other words, the Braves have capitalized as a lineup more consistently than the Astros. It is a notable slump for an offense that was one of the league’s best in the regular season. They’ve also done a terrific job with their defensive positioning in taking away hits via ground balls from Houston, who had a .230 wOBA on those kind of batted balls for the regular season. Of course, that can change in a hurry for a game or two.
Thanks to a nine-run outburst in Game 5, the Astros forced a crucial Game 6 back at Minute Maid Park. The objective now is simple enough: Win to force a decisive Game 7 or the season is over. While it is entirely possible Houston can pitch their way to a title, it would make life easier if the bats continued their recent surge.