For the first time since 2009, the Phillies are headed to the World Series.
The road to the championship series was far from pretty, but the team weathered the storm to reach the grandest stage in baseball. Carrying the underdog mentality that has become synonymous with the city of Philadelphia, the Phillies snapped an 11-year playoff drought and are now just four wins shy of ending their title drought as well.
The Phillies Wild Ride
After a 22-29 start to the season, many counted the Phillies out. Following an eventful offseason in which they added Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber, it seemed like the team was destined to fall short of expectations.
A midseason managerial change from Joe Girardi to Rob Thomson proved to be the winds of change that the team needed, though.
Once Thomson took over as manager, the Phillies went 65-46 over their final 111 regular season games and clinched a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.
Now, having earned a shot at the World Series title, the Phillies look to complete their roller-coaster season with championship glory.
Set for a best-of-seven series with the Houston Astros, let’s break down the 2022 World Series matchup.
Tale of the Tape
So, what happens when an unstoppable force runs into an immovable object?
In this year’s World Series matchup, we may just discover the answer.
In this scenario, the Phillies and their red-hot offense are the unstoppable force, and the Astros, who are making their fourth World Series appearance since 2017, are the seemingly immovable object.
One of the most balanced rosters in baseball, the Astros have yet to lose a single game this postseason. After sweeping the New York Yankees, they are a perfect 7-0 in the playoffs.
So far this postseason, the Astros rank third in hits (58), home runs (12), and runs batted in (31). The Phillies pitchers will certainly need to tread with caution, lest they suffer the same fate the Yankees did.
Thankfully, the Phillies pitchers should receive ample run support, as the Phils’ offense has been amongst the best in baseball this year.
Fueled by a historic run by reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper, the Phillies’ offense has the second-most hits (82) so far this postseason. They also rank first in home runs (16) and runs batted in (57) in the playoffs.
Expect the Phillies to try and get to the Houston pitchers early and often in this series. With so much firepower in the lineup, even Houston should struggle to keep the Philly bats silent.
Note: The Phillies and Astros have yet to release their official probable pitchers. Below is a projection.
Phillies: Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA)
Astros: Justin Verlander (18-4, 1.75 ERA)
Phillies: Zack Wheeler (12-7, 2.82 ERA)
Astros: Fraber Valdez (17-6, 2.82 ERA)
The starting pitchers have yet to be determined for Game 3 and beyond.
World Series Schedule
All World Series games will be carried by Fox. Because the Astros (106-56) finished with a better record than the Phillies (87-75), Houston has home-field advantage. That means the first two games and the last two games (if necessary) of the best-of-seven series will be at Minute Maid Park in Houston, while the middle three games (Game 5 if necessary) will be at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Game 1: Friday, Oct. 28 at Minute Maid Park (FOX – 8 PM)
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 29 at Minute Maid Park (FOX – 8 PM)
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 31 at Citizens Bank Park (FOX – 8 PM)
Game 4: Tuesday, Nov. 1 at Citizens Bank Park (FOX – 8 PM)
Game 5: Wednesday, Nov. 2 at Citizens Bank Park (FOX – 8 PM) if necessary
Game 6: Friday, Nov. 5 at Minute Maid Park (FOX – 8 PM) if necessary
Game 7: Saturday, Nov. 6 at Minute Maid Park (FOX – 8 PM) if necessary
This World Series matchup is loaded with talent on both sides, so predicting a winner is a bit tough, admittedly.
On one hand, the Phillies seem to be riding an insurmountable wave of momentum right now. On the other hand, the Astros are currently undefeated in the playoffs and possess the championship pedigree that the Phillies lack.
With that being said, I expect the Phillies to win this series in a tightly contested six-game series.
Although the Astros certainly have enough to challenge them, I feel like the Phillies simply may be too much for anyone to withstand right now.
Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins have been absolute money at the plate and the Phillies’ pitching staff has become a surprising strength late in the season.
It won’t be easy, but if the Phillies play up to their potential, they have a great shot at becoming the fifth Wild Card team ever to win the championship.