Final thoughts

It’s just a frustrating thing, it would seem, to outplay the competition and yet still get beat. The Astros lost on two bad pitches in the midst of what was mostly a really impressive performance from their pitching staff.

Yet, the Braves deserve this win. They did a lot of bending, but they didn’t break. It’s not how many baserunners you allow, it’s how few you let score.

Tomorrow the 3-1 Braves have a chance to clinch a championship at home while the 1-3 Astros are going to be fighting for the playoff survival. We will continue to cover the 2021 World Series here at the Guardian but this will, however, end our live coverage of Game 4. Thanks to all who followed along with us today, especially everybody who chipped in. Ciao!

The Atlanta Braves Win Game 4

The Houston Astros had plenty of offensive chances but they couldn’t cash enough of them in. The Atlanta Braves took advantage and now they’re heading into tomorrow’s Game 5 with a chance to clinch a championship!

Astros 2-3 Braves, FINAL

Astros 2-3 Braves, FINAL

The Houston Astros’ last chance here. It’s Alvarez, and he takes a strike. 0-1. The next pitch? Another strike. He’s already down 0-2 and hasn’t moved the bat. Will Smith wastes one. It’s nothing doing, it takes it for a ball. 1-2. The next pitch is real inside, 2-2. Alvarez fouls the next pitch off. Still 2-2. He hits a slow roller to the bag and that will do it. The Atlanta Braves are one win away from winning the World Series!

Astros 2-3 Braves, Top 9th

I still feel extra innings in our future, but we’ll see. Will Smith is up to close this game out and also weather a few Fresh Prince references. He’s facing Michael Brantley, who takes ball one. Next pitch, he can’t quite check his swing. 1-1. The next pitch, he fouls off. 1-2. Smith’s next pitch, that’s too low. 2-2. All sliders according to my trusty ESPN.com play-by-play. Brantley fouls the next off, still 2-2.

John Smoltz does some really, really boring “closer mentality” commentary here. Be glad you missed it.

Smith’s next pitch is outside. 3-2. Full count. Smith’s next pitch: an astounding spinning strike that takes out Brantley. And Bregman pops up the second he gets to the plate. Two down!

Astros 2-3 Braves, Bottom 8th

Adam Duvall is here as Atlanta’s best chance for an insurance run (or three). Pressly’s first pitch is outside. 1-0. The next… is popped up. The Astros have three more outs to finagle at least one run.

Astros 2-3 Braves, Bottom 8th

Two on, one out. Pressly is still in the game—can’t imagine he’s going to be available in tomorrow’s Game 5—and is facing d’Arnaud. He gets him to pop up on 2-1, but it’s foul and out of play. 2-2. He then swings and misses. Make that: two on, two out.

Astros 2-3 Braves, Bottom 8th

Joc Pederson is up next, he falls into a 0-2 hole but, well, the Astros should know that these hitters are still dangerous even when they’re on the cusp of striking out. Pederson fouls one off. Stayin’ alive. Another foul ball. Still breathing. Still 0-2. And another foul. 0-2 Count Eternal.

Finally, something gives as Pressly finally throws a ball that Pederson doesn’t foul off. 1-2. Oh man, Pressly uncorks a breaking ball that hits Pederson on the feet. He takes his base but is lifted for a pinch-runner. Wait, the Braves had anybody left to go to? Ah, it turns out to be Guillermo Heredia.

Astros 2-3 Braves, Bottom 8th

Pressly vs. Riley, with Albies at first. Pressly is a bit focused on Albies’s potential to steal a base, but not enough that he doesn’t get Riley with a k.

Astros 2-3 Braves, Bottom 8th

Pressly is facing Albies here and falls behind 2-0. Albies fouls the next one off. 2-1. And the next one. 2-2. The next pitch, outside. Full count.

And he takes ball four. A leadoff walk for the Braves.

Breaking: the Braves have an upper case “E” in amidst the lower case script on their uniform that I never noticed. @HunterFelt

— David Lengel (@LengelDavid) October 31, 2021

Now, this is all I can see.

Astros 2-3 Braves, Top 8th

Maldonado is up next and he works a full count just to strike out at the end. Here’s Houston today: they’ve been the better team in every aspect of the game except for the one where they score more runs.

And there you go: Altuve hits a loud booming shot that looks like it should be extra basses but Rosario runs it down and makes a fantastic catch to convert it into the inning’s final out.

Astros 2-3 Braves, Top 8th

Wow all of those missed opportunities to score earlier in the game certainly look really bad now, don’t they? (Note: They also looked bad then.) Okay, top of the 8th: Luke Jackson is pitching for Atlanta, Aledmys Diaz is pinch-hitting for Houston, the organist is playing “The Imperial Death March.”

Jackson thinks he has Diaz struck out on a check-swing on a called ball. He has not. At 3-2, he fouls off the next pitch. 3-2. He fouls off the next pitch. 3-2. An eight-pitch at-bat so far, very professional. Make that nine, he fouls off another one. He then hits a lazy fly for the first out of the inning.

@HunterFelt Canadian content; Truist Park organist is playing Rush tunes tonight.

— Glenn E (@Teng_Solanne) October 31, 2021

Yes but I also heard “Seven Nation Army,” so I had to subtract points.

Astros 2-3 Braves, Bottom 7th

Freeman faces Pressly with clear bases and two outs. That’s the good news for Houston, the bad news was the manner in which they became clear. Pressly does his job, striking out Freeman. Now the Astros have six outs here to avoid heading to the edge of elimination.

Astros 2-3 Braves, Bottom 7th

Ryan Pressly is facing Rosario here for the second out of the inning.

Astros 2-3 Braves, Bottom 7th

Alvarez put in a good run for that home run but it was tantalizingly out of reach. Meanwhile, Dusty Baker is removing Javier and heading to his bullpen in a double-switch.

Another home run! (Braves)

Astros 2-3 Braves, Bottom 7th

I hope you’re all ready for extra innings because that’s where we’re going from here. Everything in my bones is screaming this at me. Jorge Soler, however, is here pinch-hitting and he would like to just give Atlanta a lead and not have to worry about that.

HE DOES SO! HE HITS A HOME RUN TOO!

(This is suboptimal for Houston.)

Home run! (Braves)

Astros 2-2 Braves, Bottom 7th

Next up is Swanson, who falls down 0-2 in a blink. The next pitch heads into the stands, but those behind the foul line. Still 0-2. AND THEN SWANSON HITS A HOME RUN! WE ARE TIED!

Astros 2-1 Braves, Bottom 7th

Christian Javier is our new Houston pitcher. He gets a strikeout here to start the bottom of the seventh.

Seventh inning stretch

I figure if we’re in Georgia, a bluegrass rendition wouldn’t be inappropriate.

Astros 2-1 Braves, Top 7th

Gurriel is up and he’s not getting a free pass this time. Well, not intentionally at least, as he takes ball one. The next pitch, that’s a strike. He gets a good swing on the next pitch but that’s just a particularly loud out (it briefly fools Joe Buck, let the record show). To the seventh-inning stretch!

Astros 2-1 Braves, Top 7th

Kyle Tucker is up next and, nope, no 1-2-3 inning for a Braves pitcher. He hits a single to leftfield.

Astros 2-1 Braves, Top 7th

Carlos Correa is up next and he also promptly grounds out.

Astros 2-1 Braves, Top 7th

Tyler Matzek is pitching. Yordan Alvarez is hitting. It would now be time for the Astros to have that big inning they really should have already had. On 1-2, Alvarez… grounds out, as routine as you’ll ever see.

Astros 2-1 Braves, Bottom 6th

That was a sign of sheer disrespect to d’Arnaud, who has a chance to make Houston pay. Maton’s first pitch is a ball. The next pitch, d’Arnaud swings and gets nothing. 1-1. Same deal the next time around. 1-2. He fouls the next one off to stay alive. The fans do the chanting again and again their hitter strikes out immediately afterward, leaving the bases loaded.

This amuses me.

Astros 2-1 Braves, Bottom 6th

The Astros want to check whether they successfully tagged Riley at second. The review confirms the initial safe call, which is 100% correct. The Astros are going to walk Pederson here with first base open.

Run! (Atlanta Braves)

Astros 2-1 Braves, Bottom 6th

Austin Riley in here to see if he can be the Braves’ breakthrough bat. He falls into a 1-2 count, meaning Houston are a strike away from snuffing out Atlanta’s attempted rally. Riley checks his swing on a ball. 2-2.

AND HE GETS A BASE HIT! A runner scores and everybody’s safe on the bases.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Bottom 6th

Ozzie Albies is at the plate. Phil “Auto” Maton on the mound. This might be the key inning for Houston, pitching-wise. Albies fouls off pitch one. 0-1. The next pitch is a ball. 1-1. Albies takes a big old swing for strike two. 1-2. Maton’s next two pitches are both outside. Full count, a pitch away from loading the bases. The Astros were in a similar position earlier in this game, couldn’t cash in. Can the Braves?

Albies SWINGS… and fouls one off. Still 3-2. Tension time again and here come those chants and the Baseball Gods award those chanting fans by having their guy strike out here for the second out.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Bottom 6th

Look for Freeman to be aggressive here with a golden scoring catch in front of them, with just one out too. Freeman swings at Raley’s first offering, strike one. 1-0. Riley throws two outside, putting him right into a hitter’s count. The next pitch is outside as well. That’s 3-1, which is like a super-bonus-hitter’s count. Freeman however takes the next pitch for a strike. 3-2. Freeman fouls off the next pitch and then takes ball four.

So now it’s two on, one out. Manager Dusty Baker has had enough of Raley here. To the bullpen, he goes.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Bottom 6th

Rosario is up now and he hits a ringing double and man did the Braves need that. As dominant as the Astros have looked all game, this is just a two-run game.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Bottom 6th

The wheel in the pen keeps on turning… Brooks Raley is pitching for Houston. He will be facing in the pitcher’s spot, which will be occupied by Orlando Arcia, who promptly lines out.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 6th

However, Bregman grounds out on one pitch, so that’s as good as a 1-2-3 inning in my book.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 6th

Michael Brantley is up here and, well the Braves just can’t get a clean frame here ever, he hits a single. Two outs, one on.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 6th

Chris Martin faces Jose Altuve. He gets ahead 2-1, but Martin gets a high strike call to make it 2-2. The Braves fans love the umpire now, apparently. And they cheer even louder at his next called strike. Two down.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 6th

Chris Martin is now pitching for the Braves, hopefully, this isn’t an Adventure of a Lifetime for him out there. He’ll be facing Maldonado, who swings at the first pitch. Chris Martin will take it, as his ball finds its way into an infielder’s glove.

The FOX broadcast team’s regular “Stand Up To Cancer” events for MLB events are always genuinely well-done. I have nothing snarky here for once.

@HunterFelt d’Arnaud’s face during his at bat said it all; the ump has a flexible interpretation of the strikezone. It must make it hard on batters.

— Glenn E (@Teng_Solanne) October 31, 2021

The Gonzalez at-bat was the only one that I saw with egregiously bad home plate calls. I think the quality of the umpiring throughout these playoffs has been such that I’ve grown numb unless it’s absolutely unforgivably terrible.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Bottom 5th

Stanek gets Swanson into a 1-2 hole and then takes a strike. That’s five innings in the books!

Astros 2-0 Braves, Bottom 5th

Adam Duvall is up again and he gets ahead of the count 2-1 before swinging and just missing on a juicy pitch that probably was a mistake. 2-2. Duvall flies out to second on the next pitch. Two out, cleared bases, for Swanson.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Bottom 5th

Ryne Stanek is in for the Astros and this would be the time for the Braves to break out a big inning. Here is d’Arnaud to see if he can start things off.

No, he just grounds out to Altuve.

Updated

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 5th

Pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez comes in for a done Greinke (who probably was hoping he would get to bat here). Pitch one is a ball, but Braves fans are refusing to accept this. 1-0. The next pitch, a curve that may have scraped the zone, is also called a ball. Finally, Wright gets a call on his offspeed offering. 1-2. Gonzalez fouls off the next pitch. 2-2. The crowd gets up, doing the “attempt to will a third out” thing.

And it works, Gonzalez pops out to the outfield and that’s nine stranded baserunners.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 5th

Can Gurriel keep things going for the Astros?

Never mind, can Tucker? Tucker aims to steal a base here and, thanks to a d’Arnaud airmail job of a throwing error, reaches third. The Braves decided to just walk Gurriel here to put runners on the corners.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 5th

Battle Of The Kyles 3: Tucker falls behind 0-2 almost immediately. Advantage: Kyle The Pitcher. The next pitch? Outside. 1-2. Likewise, the next. 2-2. This time around, Kyle The Tucker knocks in a single-bagger. One on, two out.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 5th

Correa hits a broken-bat grounder and must Return to Forever. (Right now there is one fusion geek who caught that reference and nobody else, but listen we live bloggers have to amuse ourselves with things like these during the course of four-hour games).

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 5th

Greinke’s getting the Handshakes in the dugout. That’s usually a sign that a starter’s night is over. Wright, who basically was Atlanta’s starter today after all, is still out there. He, in fact, gets Alvarez to strike out to start the fifth inning.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Bottom 4th

Joc Pederson is up for Atlanta while the Astros get the bullpen heated up. Well, the Astros won’t need them right away as Pederson GIDPs (that’s grounds into a double play) to end the inning.

Ooh, I haven’t heard this Foster the People song in ages. Excellent choice in bumper music.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Bottom 4th

Riley is up here and—after an endless 2-2 count—knocks in a one-out single here. Now it’s time for a Houston mound meeting.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Bottom 4th

Greinke’s out there for another inning, here’s where pitch count starts to come into play. After going 1-1 to Albies, he’s at 45 pitches. If the Astros can get five innings out of him, they’ll take it. On 2-2, Albies grounds out. He could certainly use some help from his fielders to keep that count low.

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 4th

And then Wright easily gets Brantley to ground out. I guess the home run didn’t rattle him that much, he’s just going back there and getting out. He quickly gets Bregman to strike out to end the top of the fourth.

Home run! (Astros)

Astros 2-0 Braves, Top 4th

Maldonado grounds out at the top of the fourth. Maybe the decision to give Wright an at-bat to keep him pitching in the…

Oh never mind, Jose Altuve just his one right out of the park! 434 feet! The Astros are up 2-0!

Home town Cobb County Braves radio broadcasters are upset with the umpiring. “Dan Bellino is going to have to poke a hole in that mask at some point.” @HunterFelt

— David Lengel (@LengelDavid) October 31, 2021

This is puzzling, I’ve found absolutely nothing wrong about the umpiring on either end and I don’t particularly have a rooting interest here.

Email from Richard Woods:

Things I dislike Part Two: Walking a batter on two outs to load the bases and get to the pitcher. I have the Braves winning 4-2 overall but i was really willing Greinke to get a hit there

It would have been a story. I think the biggest moment of that inning was swinging at 3-0. Just poor judgment there, given he situation.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 3rd

Freddie Freeman falls into a 0-2 count, then takes a ball. (Insert pitch-out attempt here, with the accompanying boos from the Braves fans.) 1-2. Greinke throws one that’s quite wide. 2-2. On the next pitch, he gets Freeman to ground out into a double play.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 3rd

Greinke, perhaps rattled by that Wright move, allows a single from Rosario.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 3rd

Kyle Wright is HITTING FOR HIMSELF?

I don’t understand any of this anymore. Ian Anderson gets pulled during a no-hitter and Kyle Wright GETS A WORLD SERIES AT-BAT. Well he strikes out super-quick, so it might just barely count as an “at-bat.”

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 3rd

No hitting heroics for Greinke here, he grounds out to the end the inning and man that feels like it could be this game’s Turning Point. The Braves bullpen is doing its job early here, dousing all the fires that it itself is creating.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 3rd

Can Gurriel salvage anything here? Well, no, he won’t even get the chance because the Braves are going to walk him for the pitcher here. This is when I hate the whole pitcher hitting thing.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 3rd

The Battle Of The Kyles Part 2. Wright falls behind Tucker 2-0. That leads directly to a brief pitching mound visit, giving FOX time to do some extracurricular product & service promoting. The next pitch is quite outside. 3-0. The Braves are ball away from another bases loaded situation.

Instead, Tucker swings and hits into a fielder’s choice, putting runners on the corners with two outs. Oof that feels like a squander there.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 3rd

Wright walks Alvarez and then allows a single to Correa. The Astros once again having something brewing, with just one out. Let’s see if they can cash anything more in here.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 3rd

Wright gets Bregman to fly out for the first out of the third, that was super-quick. FOX quickly shows footage of our former president, it’s relatively brief. Yordan Alvarez Is coming up to bat next…

Email from Richard Woods:

Things I dislike: The Chop. Things I love: A raucous home crowd. Things I dislike: Pitchers batting. Things I love: Greinke smoking a hit to centre field. Baseball is confusing.

Indeed to all of this.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 2nd

Dansby Swanson is up next with one on and two out. He takes a ball outside an then his a longball that Alvarez tracks down in the outfield while making a running catch. To the third inning!

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 2nd

Greinke falls behind Adam Duvall 2-0. A hitter’s count, they tell me. Duvall makes it a stander’s count, as he just watches ball three. You wouldn’t think he would be swinging here, but you would be wrong: he muscles out a single to keep the inning alive.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 2nd

Travis d’Arnaud, who my shift key hates, is up next. He goes down 0-2 almost immediately, but with his power he’s still a threat when down in the count. Greinke’s next pitch is outside. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him stay away… or he could just throw another strike that leaves him paralyzed. Two down.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 2nd

Listen, if you starting pitcher gets a hit in a World Series game IT IS YOUR DUTY TO DRIVE THEM IN. Some runs are more painful to absorb than others in baseball. Greinke instead is back on the mound and he’s facing Joc Pederson and his Mysterious Pearl Necklace.

Greinke’s first pitch is a strike, the second is a ball. 1-1. Greinke throws another pitch, right down the middle that fooled Pederson entirely. 1-2. He makes contact on the next swing, but it’s a grounder right to Correa.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 2nd

Altuve is up and he hits a sharp rocket to Riley at third and he makes a fantastic play. Brantley grounds out to second and there’s another potential huge inning for Houston that all goes for naught.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 2nd

Now comes Martin Maldonado, who is feeling a little less sheepish about being demoted for a starting pitcher. He decides not to be outdone and he also hits a solid single. That’s runners on first and second with one out.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 2nd

There is Greinke hitting eighth! And he gets a base hit! Okay, maybe pitchers hitting is amusing every once and a while.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 2nd

Wright thinks he has struck out Yuli Gurriel on three straight pitches, but the plate umpire disagrees. No worries, Gurriel grounds out on the next pitch.

We were sold on Brian Snitker being an old-school manager and then watched him lift his starter on 76 pitchers after allowing zero hits with TWO bullpen games coming up. I've never felt so misled. @HunterFelt

— David Lengel (@LengelDavid) October 31, 2021

(Extremely trolling a National League baseball fan voice) Well the good news is that when the Universal DH becomes the rule of the land, managers will have one less reason to pull their starters early.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 1st

Austin Riley fouls off a pitch to start his at-bat, takes a ball and then a strike. He’s quickly down 1-2, Greinke’s a strike away from a clean first inning. He throws a ball, because he’s trying to completely kill my attempts to build up the drama. 2-2. Riley fouls off the next pitch. Still 2-2, the organ drowns out all the crowd noise and Riley swings…. and harmlessly flies out.

That’s one inning down, at least eight more to go!

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 1st

Albies is up—the announcers are all about the fact that he’s hitting right-handed while facing Greinke—and he takes ball one, swings and misses at the next pitch and then takes a pitch a bit too high. 2-1. Albies fouls off the next two pitches. 2-2. Greinke, however, gets his first strikeout on the next pitch. Two down, with a runner still on first.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 1st

Freddie Freeman and his superhero secret identity name immediately smacks a single off of Greinke.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Bottom 1st

Well, Greinke doesn’t have the length that he used to back when he was winning the AL Cy Young, but he has to be happy that he will probably give his team more than poor, outmatched Dylan Lee. The Braves’ Eddie Rosario will be facing him.

Rosario hits a long flyball out and Greinke gets his first out much quicker.

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 1st

Two out, runners on second and third. It’s a battle of Kyles here, with Wright facing Tucker. Kyle The Pitcher gets Kyle The Hitter in a 1-2 count, giving Braves fans a chance to finally root for the end of an inning. Tucker’s next swing just fouls a ball off. Still 1-2. The next pitch goes awry, but doesn’t skip far enough to allow a runner to score from third. 2-2. The next pitch: a swing and a miss! Good job by Wright just to allow the one inherited runner to score on a weird little groundout.

Run! (Astros)

Astros 1-0 Braves, Top 1st

Kyle Wright is facing Carlos Correa with the bases loaded and just one out. Correa could drive in the first run of the game with just a flyball out. The struggling Correa, however, gets into a 0-2 count super-quickly. The next pitch is low. 1-2. Wright’s next pitch takes a wacky loop and it’s 2-2. The next pitch… wow that looked like a strike but maybe the catcher just framed it properly. In any case, it’s a 3-2 count on Correa.

Correa hits a chopper to the first. Maybe not the ideal outcome for him, but it gets a run home.

Astros 0-0 Braves, Top 1st

Two on, one out. Yordan Alvarez at the plate takes a ball and another ball. And there are the Tomahawk Chop chants, might have to close-caption this one fairly quickly. The next pitch? That’s outside and now Alvarez has a 3-0 count and the Braves are a pitch away from walking the bases loaded.

And, yup, there it goes, the bases are juiced. That’s also the end of Lee’s night. The Braves just asked him to give them some outs and he gave them… one. Just one.

Astros 0-0 Braves, Top 1st

A perhaps overeager Alex Bregman swings and misses at Lee’s first pitch. Maybe not the greatest thing to do with a very green pitcher struggling with the strike zone. The next pitch, which Bregman takes, is called a ball. 1-1. As is the next pitch. 2-1. Oh man, there’s the pitch that Bregman should have swung at: it lands right down the middle. 2-2. Bregman swings instead at that next pitch and that’s a swinging k and the first out of the inning.

Astros 0-0 Braves, Top 1st

Michael Brantley is up next, with Altuve on first. Lee’s first two pitches are outside the zone. His third pitch is his first strike that doesn’t result in a hit. 2-1. The third pitch skips. 3-1. The next pitch is too high. Two on, nobody out. The Braves bullpen is already busy.

First pitch!

Astros 0-0 Braves, Top 1st

Here’s Dylan Lee to start the ballgame against Jose Altuve, who swings at Lee’s first pitch and makes contacts, legging it out for an infield single. He’s already on the basepaths, which is good for Houston.

Joe Buck helpfully places Zac Brown as being the lead singer of the Zac Brown Band. That means baseball is almost here!

The crowd has spotted Donald Trump and many are cheering and waving.

— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 30, 2021

I guarantee you that he doesn’t make it to the fifth inning.

National Anthem

And I just missed Jordan Fisher singing the anthem while switching to the FOX pregame. The last minute of it or so was great, however. Grade: incomplete (grader’s fault)

Okay, all the cool little details for this game definitely seem to be about our starting pitchers. Considering that the Universal DH is being proposed for the next MLB season, this might be the last time you ever see the following ever happen again:

Starting pitchers to not hit ninth, World Series history:

Zack Greinke, 8th tonight
Babe Ruth, 6th in 1918 WS Game 4 https://t.co/noVA5pOFQf

— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) October 30, 2021

Again, this would suggest that Dylan Lee is not actually going to be used as a traditional starter: he has never really done this before.

Braves rookie Dylan Lee will become the first pitcher in MLB history to make his first major league start in a World Series game. pic.twitter.com/kIRNoEvWOW

— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 30, 2021

Our former president

Oh no this is happening.

The former president, who called for a boycott of MLB after it pulled the All-Star Game from suburban Atlanta over Georgia’s more restrictive voting laws, confirms he is attending tonight’s Game 4 of the World Series in suburban Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/GkYxGW1obE

— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) October 30, 2021

Twitter suggests that he’s trying to find a place where he won’t get booed and he guesses that the stadium where they are still doing the Tomahawk Chop is his best bet. We’ll see.

Predictions

Email from S.B. Lewis:

Subject Line: 4th game

Do you feel the Braves will win the Series?

Tonight, I guess, the odds slightly favor the Braves. Home team advantage, I guess.

Errors big and small matter. Pitching errors most of all.

Pitching matters most.

Very true, although it might not be true for this particular game if my predictions come true.

See, I predicted that the Astros would win the World Series in six games so… well, they pretty much have to win out here for that to happen so I’m locked into an Astros win and an offensive-blowout. So, how about, Astros 9-8 Braves for a final? Someone’s going to hit a grand slam too. Maybe Altuve?

Also, I’m hoping for a solid Greinke start, he’s one of the game’s great characters and it’s truly heroic how he has accomplished all that he has in baseball despite his early struggles with social anxiety disorder.

Greinke is a veteran. He relies on location and throwing off the balance of the hitters. I trust him to do the job for Dusty and the @astros ; he doesn’t need the high speed fastball, he has good enough breaking stuff to hang in there for the relievers to come in #WorldSeries

— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 30, 2021

You have thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Send them over here and we’ll share them throughout these early innings. As mentioned earlier, the email is hunter.felt.freelance@theguardian.com and the Twitter address is @HunterFelt.

The End Of The Starting Pitcher?

The big news story about Game 3 ended up being Braves manager Brian Snitker taking out Ian Anderson after just five innings. Obviously, he would do it again as they ended up blanking the Astros regardless. Still, the incident is a reflection of just how bullpen-heavy this entire postseason has been and, for many baseball fans, the game is losing something when the starters aren’t going deeper into games.

(Honestly the real problem is just that the games go on too long and that there’s not enough activity for long stretches, but having starters last longer should help with both of these issues.)

Atlanta Braves starters

1. Eddie Rosario, LF

2. Freddie Freeman, 1B

3. Ozzie Albies, 2B

4. Austin Riley, 3B

5. Joc Pederson, RF

6. Travis d’Arnaud, C

7. Adam Duvall, CF

8. Dansby Swanson, SS

9. Dylan Lee, P

Houston Astros starting lineup

1. Jose Altuve, 2B

2. Michael Brantley, RF

3. Alex Bregman, 3B

4. Yordan Alvarez, LF

5. Carlos Correa, SS

6. Kyle Tucker, CF

7. Yuli Gurriel, 1B

8. Zack Greinke, P

9. Martin Maldonado, C

Yeah, that’s starting pitcher Zack Greinke batting eighth, we’re in a National League park after all, which is partly saying something about him one being one of the better hitting pitchers and partly maybe suggesting something about what Houston manager Dusty Baker thinks of Martin Maldonado’s bat.

Breaking news:

Yes, of course there’s Covid-19-related news in this World Series, just in case you could get a few hours of distraction.

The Astros have a roster substitution before World Series Game 4: Jason Castro is out due to COVID protocols, Garrett Stubbs is on.

— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) October 30, 2021

Preamble

Well, I was close. In our World Series predictions, I suggested that we would see a no-hitter followed by a slugfest of some sort. Well, we nearly saw the former that night as the Atlanta Braves did not allow a single hit to the Houston Astros lineup into the eighth inning. Atlanta has now taken a 2-1 World Series lead over Houston while the Astros would find themselves at the edge of elimination with a loss in today’s Game 4.

Well, we’ll see who does what. Welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the 2021 World Series! When we last spoke, the Astros had wrapped up an emphatic win over the Braves to even the series. Well, momentum only lasts as long as the next game’s starters and Atlanta’s Ian Anderson (although still only the second coolest Ian Anderson) stymied them with five no-hit innings before allowing the bullpen to close out the game with four additional scoreless ones. The Braves won 2-0.

Maybe that quick move to the bullpen will end up being to Houston’s advantage. After all, the last thing we should expect in this particular World Series is well-rested relievers. Today might all depend on how deep into the game today’s starters will go. The Astros had the advantage of knowing in advance that they would be going with veteran Zack Greinke while the Braves were undecided as of this morning, before finally settling on Dylan Lee (who might be more of an opener today).

As usual, if you want to contribute to today’s liveblog, just send your baseball-related questions and comments to us and we’ll use them throughout the game. You can either email hunter.felt.freelance@theguardian.com or tweet @HunterFelt. It’s Game 4 of the 2021 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves, playing at Truist Park (which I will accidentally call Turner Field at some point). The first pitch is scheduled at 8:09 pm EST, but we’ll be back before then.

Hunter will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s a look back at Friday night’s Game 3.

Contributor

Hunter Felt

The GuardianTramp

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