It is hard to fathom that it had been over a quarter century since the Atlanta Braves won a World Series. I mean, we are talking about one of the model franchises in baseball. The Braves have been a model of consistency year after year. The consistency paid dividends this year.

The Atlanta Braves are World Series champions for the first time since 1995. The Braves won the World Series on Tuesday, defeating the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game 6 to take the series, 4-2. The Braves scored early and often and received an excellent pitching performance from starter Max Fried in the title-clinching win.

Atlanta jumped out to a lead, thanks to two home runs, early. Jorge Soler unloaded a massive three-run blast in the third inning to put Atlanta up early. Soler, who was named World Series MVP, finished the Series with three homers. The Braves added a pair of runs in the fifth on a Dansby Swanson homer. Freddie Freeman doubled later in the fifth and homered in the seventh to give Atlanta an insurmountable 7-0 lead.

Unlike the 1995 championship, this Braves team never seemed likely to appear in the World Series, let alone win it. The front office literally revamped the team’s outfield in July by acquiring four outfielders, including Soler. Atlanta entered August with a losing record, and they wouldn’t see first place in the NL East until mid-August.

The Braves were underdogs in every series they took part in. They took care of Milwaukee in the NLDS before surprising the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series. The Braves were then able to take it to the Astros, securing their first World Series championship since 1995.

ChubbaChubba HubbardMaking the Braves’ run all the more startling is that they were without arguably their best position player and best pitcher for most of the year. Outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL in July, while right-hander Mike Soroka didn’t pitch all season after re-tearing his Achilles tendon.

Panthers Turn To Ground Game

A few weeks ago, the Carolina Panthers stated they were going to run the ball more. It took a week, but they delivered on Sunday.

The Panthers defeated Atlanta with a 19-13 win by running the ball early, often, and successfully. Chubba Hubbard had 24 carries for 82 yards and the game-deciding touchdown in the fourth quarter, to lead a balanced rushing attack. Even quarterback Sam Darnold ran the ball (8 rushes for 66 yards). Their total 47 rushes for 203 yards were the most since head coach Matt Rhule took over last season.

Carolina evened its record at 4-4 and are now back in the playoff hunt within the NFC.