The Urena Express: 11/8/21

Steven Urena

By Steven Urena

Before I get into the World Series, I have a confession to make. First, let’s take a look at my picks.

Wildcard

 

National League

American League

Dodgers vs. Cardinals

My Pick: Dodgers

Winner: Dodgers

Yankees vs. Red Sox My Pick: Yankees Winner: Red Sox

Division Series

 

National League

American League

Dodgers vs. Giants

My Pick: Dodgers

Winner: Dodgers

Rays vs. Red Sox

My Pick: Rays

Winner: Red Sox

Braves vs. Brewers

My Pick: Brewers

Winner: Braves

Astros vs. White Sox

My Pick: Astros

Winner: Astros

Championship Series

 

National League

American League

Dodgers vs. Braves

My Pick: Dodgers

Winner: Braves

Astros vs. Red Sox

My Pick: Red Sox

Winner: Astros

World Series

 

Braves vs. Astros

 

My Pick: Astros

 

Winner: Braves

 

I’ll save you the time, I got 3 out of 9 picks correct. I stink at this. I always said I was no good at picking the winners because most of the time I bet with my heart and not my head. 

So here’s my confession…I noticed that the deeper I went in the playoffs, the worse I got at picking the winner. Part of me picked the Astros to reverse jinx them. I was not getting it right so I figured if I picked against the Braves, they would beat the Astros. Is that shady? Bad karma? Who knows? I’m not that powerful. All I know is the Braves did the MLB and their fans a favor. Ha!

What’s Next For The Champs?
The Braves need to bring back Freddie Freeman. He’s going to demand some money but the Braves do not win the World Series without his bat and his leadership in the clubhouse. The two other free agents are Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler. It’s going to get a little more tricky with these two. Joc Pederson and Adam Duvall are locked up for another season and Ronald Acuna Jr. is playing when he comes back from injury. Acuna is taking up one spot in the outfield so Pederson, Duvall, Rosario and Soler will take up the other two spots so that means two of them are riding the pine or they may not bring back Rosario or Soler. The universal DH would help the Braves cause but that’s still not a sure thing. All in all, that’s a good problem to have if you’re Atlanta. 

The future looks bright for the Braves. Max Fried is as good as they come. He’s got three more years before he becomes a free-agent. Ian Anderson will be coming into his second full season and he will continue to get better. Charlie Morton was on a one-year deal but I am sure the Braves will bring him back. When Acuna returns, their offense will be even scarier. Aside from their outfield, they also have Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley and Travis d’Arnaud. They instantly look like the frontrunners for the AL East.

What a run by the Braves. Tip your cap. They have a good squad and they got hot at the right time, which in baseball, that’s all it takes. It was their year. From the gutter to the penthouse in the blink of an eye. The Braves got the monkey off Atlanta’s back. The city of chokers now has something to brag about. 

What’s Next For The Astros

The Astros need to figure out who is going and who is staying. Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley, Yuli Gurriel and Kyle Tucker are coming back for sure. Not too shabby. All are either veteran bats or good young players that have shown potential. 

They return solid pitching as well. Lance McCullers is locked up for a few more years and the youngsters Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy are all pre-arbitration. McCullers is obviously the staple of the rotation. The youngsters have shown promise but at times got shelled. They will come back stronger next season. The Astros are not going anywhere.

The biggest hole to fill is going to be Carlos Correa. The writing is on the wall. Correa is going to want a huge contract and the Astros seem unwilling to pay him. My guess is he will be a Yankee. Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander are also due for free-agency. I don’t see either of them coming back. Greinke is looking a little long in the tooth and Verlander probably wants out of the most hated team in the MLB.

The Man At The Coffee Shop

One of my former scholar/athletes (when I scholar, I mean it. This kids got brains) works in downtown LA. He’s at a coffee shop close by and he spots a tall individual. He walks over to him and says “Hey, has anyone ever told you that you look like a big leaguer?” The man shrugged his shoulders and said “yeah.” My former player then asked him, “Has anyone told you that you look like BLANK?” He laughed this time and said “yes.”

The man at the coffee shop was one of the Braves starting pitchers. He was in town to play the Dodgers and staying at a nearby hotel. He asked my former player how it was going and he said “well, you’re beating up on my Dodgers so not too great.” At the time, the Braves had a 3-1 lead on the Dodgers. They chatted for about 10 minutes and he had some cool insight. Of course, he wanted to be off the record and just chit chat with a baseball fan. Which is pretty cool considering he was in the middle of a pennant chase!

The first thing Mr. Brave told my former player the Dodgers starting pitching looked tired. They seemed a bit off, he said. He said the Braves could see it right away. Mr. Brave was asked if he thought that had to do with the fact that some of the Dodgers starters were used in relief. He said “In my opinion, it totally does. You have a certain routine all year and then in the playoffs your role suddenly changes. It’s hard on your body and arm.” 

Lastly, Mr. Brave said he would hate to have to pitch in relief but these guys are gamers and of course they are going to say they want the ball. 

The Braves saw the Dodgers wounded and they jumped on them. After my former player told me about this interaction, I felt the Dodgers were not going to get past the Braves. I also had a feeling that the Braves were due. 

Former Dodger, Joc Pederson, was asked his thoughts about the Dodgers and Braves series. He said, “I have nothing but respect for the Dodgers and their organization but right now they’re in our way.” That was another sign it was the Braves time. 

Contact Steve Urena at:
Email: theurenaexpress@gmail.com
Twitter/IG: @theurenaexpress

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