Two narratives are forming from the 2022 Postseason. One argument has formed that argues the top teams are at a disadvantage because of the layoff i.e, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves getting ousted in the Division Series with relative ease. The other argument is to never discount the Wild Card team in any given Postseason. The latter argument still holds water while the other I would retort with if you don’t handle your business when it’s your turn, why should anyone try to defend your poor play? Either way with this World Series matchup we have a Wild Card team in the Philadelphia Phillies. Their last appearance was in 2009. They won the World Series in 2008, but have been in rebuild mode for over a decade. Now they’ve returned and will go up against the Houston Astros who are making their fourth appearance in the Fall Classic in the last six seasons. So far the Astros haven’t lost a game this Postseason, but that could change with the Phillies vaunted offense and solid bullpen. Houston boasts a stacked lineup and a near shutdown bullpen, but their rotation could be the x-factor in this series. Lets hope for a good series that doesn’t involve a one-sided affair.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Houston Astros
Two players for the Phillies have hit 5 home runs and drove in 11 runs during this Postseason. They are Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. Harper has been batting .419 with 6 double and scored 10 times. Hoskins hit 4 of those 5 home runs in the NLCS and could have been named NLCS MVP had Harper not provided the go-ahead home run in Game 5 to clinch the series. Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto have been just as important to the Phillies success. Both get on base frequently and provide good protection for Harper and Hoskins. Realmuto also has been the stabilizing force for the pitching staff as one of the best overall catchers in baseball. Jean Segura, Nick Castellanos and Alec Bohm have been important pieces to the Phillies success, but were kind of a let down in the NLCS. If they bounce back the lineup gets an added boost. Aaron Nola had a rough start in the NLCS getting the lone loss, but his Postseason overall has been good with a 3.12 ERA in 3 starts striking out 18 batters while walking only 3. He does that in the World Series, the rotation is in good shape. Zack Wheeler was a stud in the NLCS striking out 16 batters while only walking one in his two starts. If Ranger Suarez can have a repeat of his NLCS start in the World Series that will lighten the pressure on the Phillies bullpen to perform. They’ve been great thus far with Jose Alvarado leading the way getting a save in the NLCS and not allowing a run in his 3 appearances. Seranthony Dominguez also got a save and struck out 7 batters in his 3 appearances. David Robertson and Brad Hand have to be better than they were in the NLCS.
There’s a reason why the Houston Astros swept their way into the World Series. Their starting pitchers gave up only 7 runs in the 4 games they played. The bullpen gave up only 2 runs. Their two best starters, Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez, combined to strikeout 20 batters in their 13 combined innings of work. Cristian Javier only allowed one hit in his start and Lance McCullers did allow the most runs (4 total, 3 earned), but did strikeout 6 batters in his 5 inning start in Game 4 of the ALCS. Houston’s bullpen as mentioned was dominant and look no further than closer Ryan Pressly who saved 3 games while striking out 6 batters, walking only one and not allowing a single hit. The Astros lineup has been as good as advertised with Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman driving in the most runs with 8 and 7 respectively. Jose Altuve got 3 hits in the ALCS and being that they were the first hits of his Postseason thus far that’s a good sign for them. Yuli Gurriel has a batting average of .367 in the Postseason. Jeremy Pena continued to crush the baseball hitting 2 home runs and driving in 4 runs in the ALCS thus being named the MVP of the series. Kyle Tucker has had a quiet Postseason, but that could change if the Phillies aren’t careful. If Houston still pitches the way they’ve been heading into the World Series they will be tough to beat.
Astros in 6 games