Randy Smith: Braves' Magic Continues

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Joc Pederson is wearing my grandmother's pearl necklace. For whatever reason. it worked as the Atlanta Braves took the opening game of the 2021 World Series Tuesday night in Houston against the Astros. Pederson wears the pearl necklace while others wear the big gaudy gold chains. He's just part of this blue collar group that has won the hearts of Braves' fans around the country as well as the South.

Atlanta jumped in front of the Astros in the games' very first at bat. Jorge Soler homered against Houston starter Framber Valdez giving the Braves a lead they would not relinquish.
In fact Atlanta would score runs in each of the game's first three innings, capped by a two-run homer by Adam Duvall in the third. That dinger by Duvall put the Braves up 5-0 and they were on their way to a 6-2 victory.

Things weren't all roses and cupcakes for the Braves, however. In the second inning starting pitcher Charlie Morton was hit in the lower leg by a line drive off the bat of Yuri Gurriel. It didn't seem to bother him much until he came out for the third inning. That's when his leg finally gave out on him because he had a fractured fibula. The guy threw 16 pitches to several batters after he was hit by that line drive and afterwards in the training room, he said he was sorry he had to come out of the game. That's the kind of competitor that 37-year-old Charlie Morton is. The prognosis for a complete recovery is good for next spring, but Morton is finished for the remainder of the World Series. That means someone will have to pick up the slack, but the Braves have been doing that all year.

In July the Braves lost perhaps their best all around player when Ronald Acuna, Jr. suffered a season-ending knee injury. While the players regrouped, the front office made some deals before the trading deadline and brought in four new outfielders: Pederson, Duvall, Soler and Eddie Rosario. Those guys made the difference for a team that was playing sub .500 baseball in July but is now three wins away from its first World Championship since 1995.

Other than Freddy Freeman, Acuna and maybe Ozzie Albies, you won't find many all star candidates on Atlanta's roster. That's why they've been described as a blue collar team. Someone different almost every night has contributed to this team's success and that's why they don't seem to be that worried about Charlie Morton's injury. In this day of political unrest and upheaval, it's good to see a team playing together the way this team has. It's refreshing and here's hoping that magic continues for three more wins.    

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Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com

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