2021 MLB recap: Braves, Ohtani and pitching dominate baseball

Atlanta lost the All-Star Game but won the World Series, in a season dominated by pitching that marked the return of stadium fans and in which the wonderful Japanese player Shohei ohtani achieved unprecedented achievements for Major League Baseball (MLB) of American baseball.

After a short tournament with empty stands in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the MLB was able to mount a 2,430-game regular season (162 for each team) without major setbacks and a spectacular postseason that was capped by the unexpected triumph of the Atlanta Braves against the Houston Astros in the fall classic.

The great rivals of the National League, San Francisco Giants (107) and Los Angeles Dodgers (106), and the two-time AL East champions, Tampa Bay Rays (100), won 100 games, but could not prevent Atlanta ( # 12 in MLB, with 88 wins) captured his first title since 1995, relying on a squad of modest reinforcements, led by Puerto Rican Eddie rosario, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Championship Series of the old circuit, and the Cuban Jorge Soler, the MVP of the World Series.

After a knee injury on July 10 removed the star Venezuelan outfielder Ronald Acuña for the rest of the year and an injury / family situation drove the Dominican away from the club Marcell ozuna, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos went to the market and got the outfielders Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs, to Soler from the Kansas City Royals, to Rosario from the Cleveland Indians and Adam duvall from the Miami Marlins, among others.

All of those acquisitions played a tremendous role in the Braves’ second championship win since they moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966.

It was a doubly sweet victory for Atlanta, which in April was stripped of the All-Star Game venue by MLB, a forceful response by the league to a new Georgia state voting law that experts say unfairly limits access. to the polls, especially for people of color.

The midseason classic was rushed to Coors Field in Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies, and was won by the American League with a score of 5-2. The Dominican first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., of the Toronto Blue Jays, hit a home run and drove in two runs to become, at age 22, the youngest MVP of the event.

At the center of the celebration was Ohtani, the astonishing two-way player for the Los Angeles Angels, who made history by being called up as a starting pitcher and designated hitter for the American League. As if that weren’t enough, Ohtani also participated in the Home Run Derby, which he won. Pete alonso, of the New York Mets, for the second consecutive edition.

Alonso beat in the final of the home run festival Trey mancini, who missed the season last year due to surgery to remove a tumor from his colon and months of chemotherapy.

The Baltimore Orioles slugger hit 21 home runs and 33 doubles during the season and won the MLB American League Comeback of the Year award.

In Ohtani’s case, the All-Star game was a small preamble to what he would accomplish during the most comprehensive dual-player campaign in the 145-year history of the major leagues.

As a left-handed hitter, the Japanese hit 46 home runs, 26 doubles and eight triples, drove in 100 runs and scored 103 and received 96 walks. As a right-hander, he was 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts (130.1 IP) in 23 starts, limiting opponents to a .207 average.

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) unanimously selected him as the MVP of the American League, MLB.com reporters presented him with the Edgar Martinez Designated Hitter of the Year Award and Rob Manfred honored him with the “Award of the Commissioner to the Historical Achievement “, among other honors.

Guerrero Jr. (311 with 48 homers, 111 RBIs and 123 scored) came in second in the MVP voting, but took the Hank Aaron Award for best hitter in his league, in addition to becoming the first winner of the Juan Marichal Award. for being the most outstanding Dominican of the year. The shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr, the Padres, and the gardener Juan Soto, of the Washington Nationals, escorted Guerrero in the Juan Marichal dispute.

Soto, 23, was second and Tatis, 22, third, behind Bryce harper, of the Philadelphia Phillies, in the race for the MVP of the National League. The Cuban gardener Randy Arozarenaof the Rays, he won the Jackie Robinson trophy for American League Rookie of the Year.

With COVID-19 still in control of massive activities across most of the globe, MLB drew more than 45 million stadium fans, operating with varying levels of limitations for most of the first half of the 2021 tournament. The Blue Jays, for example, played home games in Dunedin, Florida, and Buffalo, New York, before receiving permission from Canadian authorities to return home to Toronto in the last week of July.

The Dodgers (2,804,693), Braves (2,300,247), San Diego Padres (2,191,950), Texas Rangers (2,110,258), St. Louis Cardinals (2,102,530) and Astros (2,068,509) exceeded two million fans and 18 other clubs received at least one million, modest figures in normal conditions, but outstanding in the special circumstances of the last 24 months.

In a year in which the MLB batting average was .244, the lowest since 1974 (also at .244), pitchers combined for nine regular games (of nine or more innings) with no hit or run, the all-time record in a season. The total does not include another two no-hitters or seven-inning run, on double-game rounds.

In May alone, four No-Nos were thrown, tying the record set in June 1990. The Indians received three No-Nos, another MLB mark. The figure does not include the gem of seven hitless innings five Rays pitchers threw against Cleveland on July 7.

The right Max scherzer, who pitched for Washington and the Dodgers, hit 3,000 career strikeouts Sunday, Sept. 12 against the Padres. The triple Cy Young Award winner and future Hall of Famer is the 19th pitcher with more than 3,000 fans.

The superiority of pitching, which surpassed 42,000 strikeouts for the second time in history, prompted MLB to announce midseason that as of June 21, new guidelines aimed at enforcing the rules against substance use would go into effect. strange in the balls.

A pitcher found with a prohibited substance on his person or who has applied it to a ball in play is expelled from the game and suspended for an additional 10 games. Repeat offenders will face an ever-increasing scale of punishment, and team leaders and employees may also be disciplined for failing to ensure compliance with the rules.

The Puerto Rican left-hander Héctor Santiago, of the Seattle Mariners, was the first victim of the rule, on Sunday, June 27, when he was expelled by referee Phil Cuzzi during a game against the Chicago White Sox for a substance on his glove.

Two other pitchers suffered the same fate the rest of the season: Lance Lynn, of the White Sox, was sent off for throwing his belt to the umpire during the review process and the reliever Caleb smith, of the Arizona Diamondbacks, for substance on his glove.

But the hitters also enjoyed their little moments of glory. And it wasn’t just Ohtani, Harper, Guerrero, Soto and Tatis.

On August 12, the shortstop Tim anderson hit a home run in the close of the ninth inning to lead the White Sox to a 9-8 win over the New York Yankees in Dyersville, Iowa, in a historic meeting at a stadium built in a cornfield next to the set of the popular film “Field Of Dreams”. It was a fitting movie ending to the first MLB game in the state of Iowa.

On August 22, the Venezuelan star of the Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera, hit his 500th home run, the 28th in major league history. Cabrera, who finished the 2021 season with 2,987 hits, is very close to becoming the seventh member of the exclusive club of players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.

Another historic man, Albert Pujols, was traded from the Angels to the Dodgers in the middle of the final year of his 10-year, $ 240 million contract.

Pujols, one of two players with more than 3,000 hits, 600 home runs, 600 doubles and 2,000 RBIs (the other is Hank Aaron) pulled 17 balls out of the park and drove in 50 runs in 109 games and was declared eligible to continue playing, mostly for Try to hit all 21 homers left to make the fourth of 700.

Venezuelan receiver for the Kansas City Royals, Salvador Perez, hit a season-high 48 home runs for a player with at least 75% of his games behind the plate. Marcus semien, Toronto, set the home run mark (45) for a second baseman defender.

With 32 home runs at 40 years of age, the Dominican Nelson Cruz He reached 449, tying for 40th with compatriot Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Jeff Bagwell, both Hall of Famers. The Canadian 1B of the Cincinnati Reds, Joey votto, reached 2,000 hits and Alonso hit his 100th home run in the 347th game of his career, the second-fastest in history, behind only Ryan Howard, who did it in 325 games.

On the final day of the regular season, Sunday October 3, Cleveland shut out the Rangers 6-0 at Arlington in their final game as the “Indians”, before being rebranded as the “Guardians” going forward. Cleveland, which has been called “Indians” since 1915 has changed its nickname five times (Blues, Bronchos, Naps, Indians and Guardians) in 121 years of existence.

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2021 MLB recap: Braves, Ohtani and pitching dominate baseball