Baseball’s new expanded playoff format has resulted in a novel David vs. Goliath matchup within the World Collection. Within the first yr of a sixth playoff staff, the Phillies instantly turned the primary sixth seed to succeed in the Fall Traditional, scoring upsets over the Cardinals, Braves, and Padres alongside the way in which to say the Nationwide League pennant. Within the American League, the top-seeded Astros held serve and swept each the Mariners and Yankees for an ideal 7-0 file in these playoffs.
Satirically, the Phillies and Astros met of their ultimate collection of the common season, and Philadelphia didn’t really clinch its ticket to the postseason till a 3-0 win over Houston on October 3. 2022 was nearly like two seasons in a single for the Phillies, because the staff held a 22-29 file when Joe Girardi was fired on June 3, but the change to interim supervisor (and now full-time supervisor) Rob Thomson instantly supplied a spark. The Phils went 65-46 the remainder of the way in which to earn their first postseason berth since 2011.
The roll has continued by way of October, with the Phillies knocking out three higher-seeded opponents on account of a mixture of robust pitching and well timed hitting. Whereas a number of Philadelphia gamers have had heroic moments, the 2022 postseason is more and more trying like Bryce Harper’s second, because the slugger is batting .419/.444/.907 with 5 dwelling runs in the course of the playoffs. Trailing the Padres 3-2 within the eighth inning of as we speak’s Recreation 5, Harper crushed a two-run homer that put Philadelphia forward for good within the 4-3 clinching victory, and unsurprisingly captured NLCS MVP honors.
Harper and the remainder of the Phillies lineup can be challenged, nevertheless, by Houston’s dominant pitching employees. The Astros have a collective 1.88 ERA over 72 postseason innings, with extra strikeouts (89) than hits (46) and walks (21) mixed. The “weak hyperlink,” so to talk, is Justin Verlander with a 6.30 ERA over 10 innings, as Verlander was hit arduous by the Mariners in Recreation 1 of the ALDS — nevertheless, the longer term Corridor-of-Famer rebounded with a dominant six-inning efficiency towards New York in Recreation 1 of the ALCS.
Contemplating how Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker have been struggling on the plate all through October, the scariest a part of Houston’s 7-0 file is that the staff is arguably not even firing on all cylinders. The Astros cruised to a 106-56 mark in the course of the common season and is now again within the World Collection for the second consecutive yr, and the fourth time in six years. The one Collection triumph got here in 2017, and since that title is endlessly shrouded in controversy by the sign-stealing scandal, profitable one other championship could be the one manner for the Astros to flee that cloud and earn extra recognition as a mini-dynasty.
Houston is 1-4 in earlier journeys to the World Collection, whereas the Phillies are 2-5 with their final championship coming in 2008. This isn’t the primary postseason assembly between the 2 franchises — again when the Astros have been a Nationwide League staff, Philadelphia and Houston met within the 1980 NLCS. In what was when a five-game most, the Phillies wanted all 5 video games to barely outlast the Astros in a collection thought to be a basic. The Phils went on to win their first-ever World Collection crown that very same yr, and Philly followers can solely hope that karma repeats itself on this newest matchup towards the Astros.
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