Dodgers, Astros play fastest World Series game since 1992

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Clocking in at just two hours and 28 minutes, Game 1 of the Dodgers-Astros World Series was the quickest World Series game since Game 4 of the 1992 Series, when the Braves’ Tom Glavine pitched a complete game loss against the Blue Jays in just two hours, 21 minutes.

Here are three factors that played into Tuesday’s speedy resolution:

1. Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel allowed a combined 10 baserunners.

For the first seven innings of Game 1, only 11 batters reached base. Ten of those came courtesy of Game 1 starters Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel, who would have enjoyed scoreless World Series debuts had it not been for a trifecta of home runs from Chris Taylor, Alex Bregman and Justin Turner. Aside from those three, only Austin Barnes reached past first base — and was promptly doubled off of second to end the third.

2. From the eighth inning on, the bullpen faced the minimum.

The Dodgers’ bullpen has been one of their biggest strengths this postseason, and Tuesday’s Game 1 win was no exception. Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen retired six batters in order, while the Astros’ Brad Peacock issued a free pass to Logan Forsythe before inducing a fly out to end the seventh and Chris Devenski closed out the Astros’ first loss of the series with a scoreless eighth.

3. Justin Turner mashed his first go-ahead home run of the series.

Without Justin Turner’s two-run go-ahead shot in the sixth, the Dodgers and Astros might still be duking it out on the mound. Kershaw was masterful from start to finish and Houston’s staff put together a solid performance on the road. Had Turner not broken the tie as quickly as he did — on the other hand, had the weather not been so warm or had the Dodgers put up another 11-run spread, à la Game 5 of the NLCS — they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to set this kind of record.

Breaking the all-time record for the shortest World Series game is a challenge of a different kind altogether. That distinction belongs to the Boston Braves and Cleveland Indians of the 1948 World Series, when Johnny Sain and Steve Gromek went toe-to-toe in two complete game performances for a Game 4 that lasted just one hour, 31 minutes. Perhaps the Astros can offer their rebuttal in the form of a Justin Verlander Game 2 perfecto tomorrow night.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.