World Series: 10 things to know about Astros-Phillies, including Houston’s perfection, Philly’s power, more – CBS Sports

World Series: 10 things to know about Astros-Phillies, including Houston's perfection, Philly's power, more - CBS Sports

The Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies are the battlers for the 2022 World Series. The first pitch of the Fall Classic isn’t until Friday, so we’re left with four full days of no baseball, thanks to each of those teams extinguishing their opposition for the pennant so quickly. The Phillies took down the fathers in five games while the Astros swept the yankees in four

In the coming days, we will have much more on the series. For now, let’s hit some of the biggest storylines and some fun tidbits for an early week introduction.

1. They have contrasting resumes

The Astros are definitely a powerhouse. They have been to the league championship series six straight times and they have 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 this six-year span and one of those years was a 60-game season. The one time they didn’t score 100 in a full season was last year when they scored 95. Pretty down year, huh?

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

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

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

Oh, another thing on the Astros…

2. Astros have been perfect so far

The Phillies are 9-2 so far this postseason, haven’t trailed in three series and haven’t faced elimination. That is some stellar work. It’s also lower than the Astros, who went a perfect 7-0.

The two wild card era teams that went perfectly to the World Series were the 2014 Royal family members and 2007 Rocky Mountains. The last time a team fully ran the table in the postseason was 1976 Reds, although they only had 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 pull it off.

That is such a tall order. 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 dating back to the regular season. Their last loss came on October 3rd … 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 in his 25th season as a manager, however, and while 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 absolutely be headed to the Hall of Fame, but surely he would love that elusive ring. Many will be rooting for the man who has long been incredibly popular in baseball circles.

4. The effect of Altuve and Bregman

The Astros have actually had a ton of turnover since their 2017 title run. Only five players remain: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Justin Verlander.

We zero in on Altuve and Bregman, for different reasons.

Altuve started the playoffs 0 for 25 before he got a hit. This is one of the most decorated hitters in postseason history. He is second in career playoff home runs, 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 certainly help them get the job done if he came.

On that front, Altuve got two hits in Game 4 of the ALCS. He hit a grounder and then blew a single into right field, pretty softly. “Looks like a line drive in the box score,” as my father always used to tell me. It’s true and maybe getting those hits takes place Altuve before the World Series starts.

Bregman doesn’t need help settling in. He was beaten in the World Series last year and the subject of questions everywhere. Baker ended up dropping him in the grappling sequence. In the seven games so far this season, Bregman is 10 for 30 (.333) with two doubles, two home runs and seven RBI.

With the way Jeremy Peña swings it in the two hole and how scary Yordan Alvarez is at third, Altuve and Bregman going well in the one and four spots gives the Astros such a ridiculously impressive top of the order.

Speaking of which…

5. The Phillies have a powerful punch

The Phillies aren’t too bad up there either.

Leadoff man Kyle Schwarber was the NL leader — and “non-judge” leader — in home runs 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 only hitting .182 this postseason, but of his eight hits, five have been home runs. He’s hit some huge ones, too, and has 11 RBI in 11 games.

Bryce Harper is the hottest hitter on the planet right now. Through 11 playoff games, he is hitting .419/.444/.907 with six doubles, five home runs, 11 RBI and 10 runs.

JT Realmuto is also not slacking off between Hoskins and Harper.

6. All that initial pitching (on both sides)

Much has been made of the Phillies pair of aces in Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Each is capable of putting the team on his back for 6-7 innings in any given start. If this series goes seven games, they will get the ball a combined four times. Guard Suárez is a very good #3 as well, as we saw in his Game 3 start of the NLCS.

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

We’re going to see a lot of great start launching 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 knocked some of those down to the bullpen for the playoffs, such as Javier (in the ALDS), Luis García, Hunter Brown and José Urquídy ​​​​(although he has not yet been used ).

Closer Ryan Pressly along with relievers Rafael Montero and Héctor Neris will likely get the top job, but they are so deep.

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

In the Phillies’ end, they will look to use lefty José Alvarado and righty Seranthony Domínguez for their highest-leverage moments, with some David Robertson, Zach Eflin, Andrew Bellatti and Brad Hand working in.

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

8. The Phillies have a suspect defense

In terms of 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 playoff teams. The Astros ranked third. Other measures, such as defensive runs saved, have the Phillies ranked similarly poorly.

The problem is mostly range, as they are stuck with some should be DHs in the corner outfields and probably first base as well. Speaking of which, we saw some playoff miscues from Hoskins early on and in some other areas as well. The eye test alone says they are inferior in this aspect of the game.

9. It is a personal story

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

On the family front, the Phillies just wrapped up a Nola vs. Nola (Aaron vs. Austin, the Padres’ catcher) matchup in Game 2 of the NLCS. They will not actually have another, although there is Maton on both teams. Astros reliever Phil Maton gave up a single to his brother, Phillies shortstop Nick Maton, on October 5. Shortly thereafter, Phil broke his hand punching a locker in frustration. He is 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. It’s their first ever World Series game

We’ve never seen this Fall Classic. All readers probably already understood that. The Astros just switched to the American League in 2013 and, well, the Phillies haven’t made the playoffs since then until now.

We are on a streak of these. Last year was the Braves and Astros for the first time. The year before, Dodgers vs. Radios never happened before, neither Nationals-Astros (2019). In 2018, it was a rematch, sort of. The Red Sox-Dodgers World Series hasn’t happened since 1916, when the franchise was the Brooklyn Dodgers.

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

The last time we got a World Series replay when both franchises had the same name? The Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinalsin 2013. It also happened in 2004, 1967 and 1946.

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