The World Series is set, featuring the Phillies from the National League and the Astros from the American League. Both teams handled their opponents with ease. The Astros pitching dominated the Yankees, who hit the most home runs this year. The bullpen has posted a 0.82 ERA in the postseason, an astonishing number. This Astros team has been one of the best in postseason history and seems unstoppable. However, the Phillies will be a challenge for them.
The Fightin’ Phils nearly missed out on the playoffs with a poor finish to the regular season. The team right behind them, the Brewers, somehow played worse. They miraculously beat the Cardinals in Game 1 of the Wildcard from an unusual collapse by closer Ryan Helsley. This is all they needed to spark their momentum. They swept the Cardinals and won a gritty series against the defending champions. In the NLCS, they were challenged by the Padres, who were also hot. The Padres bats were hot, but 1B Rhys Hoskins and RF Bryce Harper showed up, combining for 6 homers.Embed from Getty Images
Game 1 Prediction
The Astros are currently favored, but that doesn’t mean that the Phillies can’t make noise. Game 1 will take place on Friday at Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros. On the mound for the Astros is AL Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander. At 38, Verlander has had a record season, putting up a 1.75 ERA and 185 strikeouts. He had a rough outing against the Mariners but is expected to bounce back. The Phillies starter Zach Wheeler has also had a solid season. Wheeler has established himself as the Phillies ace, posting a 2.82 ERA and 163 strikeouts.
While the Astros have the better starting pitching, the Phillies bullpen edges the Astros bullpen. Relievers Seranthony Domínguez and José Alvarado broke out this year and have continued their success recently. Overall, the pitching is pretty even. It comes down to how the bats perform. While the Astros bats were better in the regular season, the Phillies bats have dominated the postseason. I expect multiple bombs this game considering we have two of the best home run-hitting teams in the league.
Game 1 will be close, but I think the Phillies will continue their hitting success against Verlander and win, 6-4 Phillies, with the player of the game being Bryce Harper.Embed from Getty Images
Impact player of the Series: Rhys Hoskins
Rhys Hoskins has had elite power in the postseason, cranking 5 homers and 11 RBI, but he is also hitting .182. When Hoskins is hot, he’s one of the best hitters in the league, but when he’s cold, he looks lost. Rhys will need better plate discipline, as well as timing his swing right. If he does those two, then we’re looking at Albert Pujols. If he doesn’t, we’re looking at a slumping Chris Davis. Rhys’ performance will significantly influence this series, making him the top-impact player for the Phillies.