The best of 7 World Series is set to begin on Friday, 28th October 2022, as the Philadelphia Phillies take on the Houston Astros for the first game at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.
The first two games of the series will be held in Houston. Games three to five will be held in Philadelphia. If games 6 and 7 are needed, they will again be held in Houston.
On Sunday night, the Houston Astros finished in style at the Yankee stadium, as they beat the New York Yankees to become the American League Champions. It is the Astros’ fourth win in the last six years. They are going to the World Series for the second year in a row.
It is also the third time in the past six years and the fourth time in the past eight years that the Yankees have been swept out of the competition at the hands of the Astros in the postseason. While the past three wins had been easy with the Astros stifling the defence, the Sunday win had the Astros struggling initially and rallying up from the 3-0 deficit. Overall, the Astros scored 18-9 against the Yankees in the 4 games played.
On the other hand, the Philadelphia Phillies overcame the San Diego Padres in the 5th game of the postseason on Sunday and won the league Championship series by 4-1. It is the first time since 2009 that the Philadelphia Phillies are advancing to the World Series.
If we look at the pre-series odds, the Astros are favourites to win against the Phillies. While both teams have plenty of time to rest ahead of the first game on 28th October, let’s review how the game looks.
Houston Astros vs. Philadelphia Phillies Preseason Statistics
Before the season began, the Phillies were at +2500 to win the World Series. However, in August, when it looked like the team would not be able to make it to the playoff, the odds rose to as high as +5000.
On the other hand, before the season began, the Astros were at +1000 to win the series. The odds began to fall when the team continued to score consistent wins in the season, 106 in total. Although the team has won the World Series title only once in 2017, it has come close to frequently winning in the recent past and has all the chances of doing so now too.
The last time Philadelphia won the World Series was in 2008, while its last appearance in the series was in 2009.
The only time the two teams met in the postseason was in the NL Playoffs in 1980, when both teams were part of the same league. The playoff ended in favour of the Phillies after five games.
Houston Astros vs. Philadelphia Phillies World Series Game Comparison
If we look at the starting pitching, the Astros have a clear advantage. With veteran ace Lance McCullers Jr, record-setter Framber Valdez, and Verlander, who may win his third Cy Young Award this time, things are looking quite upbeat for the team.
Phillies pitchers, including Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, are expected to present a challenge to the Astro line-up, but overall, Houston has the upper hand.
Now coming to the relief pitching, the Astros take the lead again. Their bullpen ERA (the average number of opponent’s earned scores per the estimated nine-inning game) has been the best in the MLB. On the other hand, with a bullpen ERA of 4.27, the Phillies were really struggling in the playoffs and had to work hard to get the right mix for the game’s latter stages.
If we look at the line-up of the two teams, the Phillies hitters have given some classic performances, Bryce Harper, for instance. The player has been hitting .419 with five home runs and eleven RBI in the postseason games. Rhys Hoskins has also contributed impressively, with three home runs in the last three games of the NL Championship series. Kyle Schwarber scored three home runs in the playoffs, and J.T. Realmuto scored two home runs as well. Hence it would not be wrong to assume the Phillies as a formidable offence.
Meanwhile, the Astros have a long and probably more profound line-up for the series, but not all the players have performed equally during the postseason. However, role players, including Christain Vasquez, Martin Maldonado, and Chas McCormick, have stepped up and contributed impressively.
Overall, the Phillies’ line-up performance has performed better in the postseason. However, with a line-up with the likes of Jose Altuve, Jeremy Pena, Jordan Alvarez, Alex Bregma, and Kyle Tucker, Houston seems in pretty good shape to beat the Phillies. They have better wins above replacement record at each position, with the exception of first base and the catcher.
If we compare the two teams’ defence, the Astros are in a clear lead. In terms of efficiency, they are placed right after the Yankees and Dodgers as the best defence, turning a hit ball into an out. Also, four of their players are nominated to win the Golden Glove Awards.
The Phillies are on the other end of the spectrum and ranked 24th out of 30 teams in terms of Defensive Efficiency. They lag way behind the Astros when it comes to fielding.
Houston Astros vs. Philadelphia Phillies Prediction
Tough one to call. The Astros have been relentless so far, and it will not be surprising to see them take the World Series win. They can be beaten, but the Phillies may not be able to overcome the Astros’ unyielding offence from adding runs to the scorecard and maintaining their lead. The team’s bullpen is the major factor that gives them the edge and has made them the AL Champions.
Justin Verlander is expected to start for the Astros, while from the Phillies side, it may be Zack Wheeler or Aaron Nola. The first game on Friday will be followed by the second game of the series on Saturday, 29th October. The third and fourth games are due on 31st October and 1st November respectively.
Whether the Astros get to repeat the outcome of 2017 and take the trophy home or the Phillies give a surprise twist, it remains to be seen.