As the World Series proceeds, the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros stand at a tie at one each. While the Phillies had won the first game, the Houston Astros bounced back on Saturday night and made the score even by defeating the Phillies at 5-2. With an even score, the series is now set to move to the east as the third game of the World Series is scheduled for Monday, 31st October.
The Houston Astros are at -175 odds to conquer the World Series, while the Phillies are valued at +145. The odds are bound to change prior to the game as Noah Syndergaard is set to play for the Phillies, while Lance McCullers Jr. will be playing for the Astros.
Before the World Series began, the Phillies were +2500 to win and were +5000 in August. Before the playoffs began, the team was +3000, which is the longest odds for any team. However, the tides have turned as the team is now on its way to claiming the championship title, which would be the Phillies’ first since 2008.
On the other hand, the Houston Astros were priced at +400 to win the series before entering the postseason. They were the second team after the Dodgers with the shortest odds. The Astros won 106 games in the regular season and achieved a perfect 7-0 score in their playoffs. The team has played in four of the last six World Series, and the last time the Astros won was in 2017. It’s not surprising to see them make it this far.
Their unlikely pairing with the Phillies is what has everyone surprised. The team managed to win 87 games during the season but improved their game where it mattered most. It would not be wrong to say that the team managed to get into the postseason due to the recently extended format of the postseason.
Here is a rewind of the performance of the two teams so far in the series and what we can expect in the upcoming games.
Houston Astros vs. Philadelphia Phillies Statistics
The World Series did not begin on a good note for the Astros after what can only be considered a painful loss to the Phillies on Friday, 28th October. However, the Phillies’ dominance was only short-lived as the next day, the Astros bounced back and won by 5-2 to even the score in game 2 of the World Series.
Houston’s offence has yet again proven to be one of the best in the league, with a score of 5 considering the pressure the team was under after having lost the first game to the opponents. The series is now likely to be a best-of-five.
The Astros were favoured ahead of the series, which is a reasonable assumption considering prior records. However, the Phillies seized the home advantage, despite subpar contributions from Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.
The Houston team had an early start with three runs in the first innings against Philadelphia, and that too when the starting pitcher was Zack Wheeler. The pitcher was ambushed by the Astros line-up as they hit three of the first four pitches for doubles even before spectators had settled in for the latter part of the first innings. The pitcher had flashed lessened velocity and conceded four earned runs in five innings.
His fastball in the second game averaged 96.2 mph in the 1st innings. It is quite lower than the first-inning average in the first game of the World Series, i.e., 98.3 mph. Wheeler, however, managed to recover the pace later in the game and improved his average for the outing.
Zack Wheeler is expected to start for the Phillies in game 6, if needed. His early fastball figures may depict whether his good run continues or his starting pitch quality was limited to the regular season only.
Meanwhile, Nola’s spin rate and velocity were higher in the first game; however, his command was another story. The pitcher pitched on eight days of rest for game 1 but struggled to harness the pace and spin on the ball. He is expected to start for the Phillies in game 5, and the team may be hopeful of leveraging his skill to limit long balls and his velocity, provided he has improved command.
For the Astros, their starting pitcher Framber Valdez dealt through 6.1 innings and conceded a single run on only the four hits allowed while striking out nine hitters. Moreover, the two-run home run to the centre-field in the 5th innings by Alex Bregman was enough to put the game out of the Phillies’ reach.
The team’s closer Ryan Pressly was near to closing the game, but the first baseman Yuli Gurriel’s error allowed the Phillies to make another run.
For the third game at the Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, the Phillies will be sending Noah Syndergaard as the starter. He last pitched in the fourth game of the National League Division series. Syndergaard pitched three innings and allowed only one run. Power pitching may no longer be his forte, but he works well when relying on the slider, sinker, and change sequence.
Meanwhile, it will serve the Astros well to score early in the game. It will enable them to prevent getting inundated with the Phillies bullpen, as the Houston line-up will face a different pitcher in every inning. It will also help them drive most of the Philadelphia crowd away from the game. The Phillies have not lost a game at their home field in the postseason. If Houston wants to break the chain, they will have to win the game and, consequently, the series.
Astro’s starter Lance McCullers has made the starting pitch twice for the Astros in the World Series. There is a strong likelihood that the Phillies’ offence may crumble against McCullers’ changing arm angles, which can equally fluster right and left-handed hitters.
The upcoming match could very well be the game changer for both teams, so they will need to pull all the arrows from their quiver to turn the tide in their favour.