10 things to know about Astros vs Phillies World Series: Houston perfection, Philly power, more

10 things to know about Astros vs Phillies World Series: Houston perfection, Philly power, more

The Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies are the 2022 World Series fighters. The Fall Classic’s first pitch isn’t until Friday, so we’re stuck with four full days without baseball, thanks to each of those teams. who so quickly extinguished his opposition for the pennant. The Phillies beat the Padres in five games while the Astros swept the Yankees in four.

In the next few days we will have a lot more about the series. For now, let’s go over some of the biggest storylines and some fun info for a primer at the start of the week.

1. They have contrasting resumes

The Astros are undoubtedly a powerhouse. They’ve been in the League Championship Series six times in a row and they’ve won four of the last six AL pennants. The only other teams to do so in the playoff era were the Yankees. The Astros topped 100 wins four times in that six-year span and one of those years was a 60-game season. The only time they didn’t earn 100 points in a full season was last year, when they earned 95. Pretty flat year, huh?

This year, the Astros have won 106 games. The Phillies only won 87 in the regular season.

The biggest difference in World Series wins occurred in 1906, when the 116-win Cubs faced the 93-win White Sox. We’re not too far from that record of 23 this season, as it’s 19 games. Oh, those White Sox underdogs won, by the way.

The Phillies also hadn’t made the playoffs since 2011, hadn’t made the NLCS since 2010, and hadn’t won the pennant since 2009. They went without a winning record between 2011 and last year, when they were just a modest 82- 80.

Oh, another thing about the Astros…

2. Astros have been perfect so far

The Phillies are 9-2 so far in the playoffs, haven’t trailed in three series and haven’t been eliminated. This is stellar work. He’s also lower than the Astros, who went a perfect 7-0.

The two wildcard-era teams to go perfectly to the World Series were the 2014 Royals and the 2007 Rockies. The last time a team totally topped the playoff draw was the 1976 Reds. , although they only needed to win three games in the NLCS and four in the World Series. The Astros are already 7-0. They will have to go 11-0 to succeed.

It’s a big challenge. It must be said that there is no reason to believe that they have to do this to be remembered. 11-3 will do just fine. For what it’s worth, the Astros are on a nine-game winning streak since the regular season. Their last loss came on October 3… against the Phillies.

3. Dusty Baker is on a quest

Astros manager Dusty Baker won a ring with the Dodgers in 1981 as a player. He is, however, in his 25th season as manager, and although he has won a division title with five different teams (a record) and three pennants, he has never won a World Series ring as a skipper. The 73-year-old should definitely be heading for the Hall of Fame, but he sure would love that elusive ring. Many will support the man who has long been incredibly popular in baseball circles.

4. The impact of Altuve and Bregman

The Astros have actually had a lot of turnover since their 2017 title. There are only five players left: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Justin Verlander.

Let’s focus on Altuve and Bregman, for different reasons.

Altuve started the playoffs 0 for 25 before getting a hit. He is one of the most decorated hitters in playoff history. He is second in career playoff homers, third in runs, eighth in RBI, ninth in hits and fourth in total bases. The Astros managed to win all seven games without much, if any, help from Altuve’s bat. It would definitely help them finish the job if it came up.

On that front, Altuve had two hits in Game 4 of the ALCS. He beat a grounder and then sent a single into right field, quite softly. “Looks like a line drive in the box partition,” as my dad always told me. It’s true and maybe getting those hits sets Altuve up before the World Series starts.

Bregman doesn’t need any help settling in. He was bumped in the World Series last year and was the subject of questions throughout. Baker ended up dropping him in the batting order. In seven games so far this season, Bregman is 10-for-30 (.333) with two doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs.

With the way Jeremy Peña swings it in both holes and how scary Yordan Alvarez is in third, Altuve and Bregman are good at one and four points giving the Astros such a ridiculously imposing top.

Speaking of what…

5. The Phillies have a powerful punch

The Phillies aren’t too shabby at the top either.

Leader Kyle Schwarber was the NL leader — and the “non-judge” leader — in homers with 46 this season. He was brutal in the first two rounds of the playoffs this year, but hit three home runs in 15 at-bats in the NLCS. He now has 12 career playoff home runs in 145 at-bats.

Two-hole hitter Rhys Hoskins is hitting just .182 this postseason, but of his eight hits, five have been homers. He also hit some huge ones and had 11 RBIs in 11 games.

Bryce Harper is the hottest hitter on the planet right now. In 11 playoff games, he hit .419/.444/.907 with six doubles, five homers, 11 RBIs and 10 runs.

JT Realmuto is not left out either between Hoskins and Harper.

6. All that tee shot (both sides)

Much has been made of Phillies pocket aces in Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Each is capable of putting the team on their back for 6-7 innings in any given start. If this series lasts seven games, they will get the ball four times in total. Ranger Suárez is also a very good No. 3, as we saw in his NLCS Game 3 debut.

The Astros counter with Hall of Famer and likely 2022 Cy Young winner Justin Verlander in Game 1. All-Star southpaw Framber Valdez has led the AL in innings pitched this season and he’s the No. 2 starter. Then it’s probably an order from Cristian Javier and Lance McCullers Jr. Would it be an overstatement to say four have? Maybe. Maybe not.

We’re going to see a lot of great starting pitchers in this series.

7. The Astros have the bullpen advantage

The Astros had the best bullpen, judging by run prevention, in baseball this year. They also had more than four good starters, so they sent some of them back to the bullpen for the playoffs, like Javier (in the ALDS), Luis García, Hunter Brown and José Urquídy ​​(well that it has not yet been used).

Closer Ryan Pressly with setup men Rafael Montero and Héctor Neris are likely to get the bigger job, but they’re so deep.

In 33 innings of relief work so far this playoffs, the Astros have a 0.82 bullpen ERA and a 0.73 WHIP.

On the Phillies side, they will look to use left-hander José Alvarado and right-hander Seranthony Domínguez for their most powerful moments, along with David Robertson, Zach Eflin, Andrew Bellatti and Brad Hand.

The Phillies actually have a 3.19 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in the playoffs from their relievers, but the odds of this group missing a game are much higher than the Astros.

8. The Phillies have a suspect defense

In defensive efficiency, which is the very simple measure of the percentage of balls in play converted into outs, the Phillies ranked 24th this season. They were last among the playoff teams. The Astros placed third. Other metrics, such as defensive runs recorded, rank the Phillies just as poorly.

The problem is mostly range, as they’re stuck with some DHs who should be in the corners of the outfield and probably first base as well. Speaking of which, we saw playoff mistakes from Hoskins early on and in other areas as well. The eyesight test alone indicates that they are inferior in this aspect of the game.

9. There is a personal story

Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola and Astros third baseman Alex Bregman both went to LSU. At a time. And were roommates. Some might say it’s interesting or even fun.

On the family side, the Phillies just wrapped up a Nola vs. Nola game (Aaron vs. Padres wide receiver Austin) in Game 2 of the NLCS. In fact, they will not have another, although there is a Maton in both teams. Astros reliever Phil Maton gave up a single to his brother, Phillies serviceman Nick Maton, on Oct. 5. Soon after, Phil broke his hand hitting a locker in frustration. He came out for the series. Nick wasn’t on the Phillies’ NLCS roster either, so it’s just a matter of family pride as to who gets a ring.

10. This is their very first World Series game.

We’ve never seen this fall classic. Anyone reading this has probably figured this out already. The Astros just moved to the American League in 2013 and, well, the Phillies hadn’t made the playoffs since then until now.

We are on a sequence of these. Last year was the Braves and the Astros for the first time. The previous year, Dodgers vs. Rays had never been held before, nor had Nationals-Astros (2019). In 2018, it was a revenge, in a way. The Red Sox-Dodgers World Series hadn’t been held since 1916, when the franchise was the Brooklyn Robins.

In 2017 (Astros-Dodgers), it was also a first, as was 2016 (Cubs-Cleveland).

When was the last time we had a repeat of a World Series when both franchises had the same name? The Boston Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals, in 2013. This also happened in 2004, 1967 and 1946.

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