World Series Game 2 Preview: Zack Wheeler & Phillies look to send a message in Houston

Phillies world series
Philadelphia Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto, right, celebrates his solo homer with Philadelphia Phillies Bryce Harper during the 10th inning in Game 1 of baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

HOUSTON- After completing one of the most statistically improbable comebacks in Game 1, the Phillies hold a one-game series lead over the Astros.

Comeback Kids

Facing a steep deficit early in the game, the team climbed out of a five-run hole by scoring six unanswered points to secure the win. They become the sixth team to overcome a deficit of five or more runs in the World Series and the first to do so in twenty years.

“We got down early, but you should know what to expect, we are gonna fight,” Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm said in a postgame interview.”

Tonight, the Phillies look to continue the fight in Game 2 at Minute Maid Park. With a chance to take a two-game series lead back to Philly, expect the Phillies to play aggressively tonight.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2022 World Series Game 2 matchup.

Probable Pitchers

Tonight, the Phillies will lean on Zack Wheeler to extend the series lead. Since Rob Thomson had to burn through the bullpen in Game 1, the Phillies are hoping that Wheeler can pitch deep into tonight’s game.

Wheeler has 25 strikeouts against only three walks in the 2022 postseason, and opponents are hitting .118 against him. His 0.51 WHIP is the lowest single-season WHIP in league history (minimum 3 starts) and ranks ahead of Christy Mathewson (1956) and Justin Verlander (2013).

Wheeler was initially going to start in the World Series opener but was moved to Game 2 after Phillies skipper Rob Thomson decided to give him an extra day of rest.

Here is how Wheeler fared with extra time to rest this season.

Starts made on regular rest: 3.64 ERA

Starts made on five days rest: 2.57 ERA

Starts made on six or more days of rest: 1.67 ERA

Well rested from his impressive NLCS start in which he struck out eight Padres and surrendered just two runs, expect Wheeler to be ready to roll against the Astros.

Know Your Enemy

On the other side, left-hander Framber Valdez will take the mound for Houston.

Valdez has been solid so far this postseason but got rocked in his previous two World Series starts.

In just 4 2/3 innings, Valdez allowed more home runs (four) than he struck out (three), posting a 19.29 ERA and a 1.479 opponent OPS in his two 2021 World Series outings. Yuck.

This year, the southpaw starter reinvented himself, though. Valdez made 25 straight quality starts, which led to a major league single-season record.

“I think the biggest difference from last year to this year has been the consistency,” Valdez said. “I think I’ve been a little bit more consistent this year on everything that I’ve done. I feel good with the results that I’ve gotten and hopefully continue to get more.”

Perhaps the World Series jitters will get the best of him again, but the Phillies should enter tonight’s game expecting his best.

Offensive Juggernauts

The offensive firepower of both teams was on full display in the series opener last night. While it is unlikely that both starters surrender five runs, the offense will certainly play a huge role in the outcome of this game.

Against a lefty starter with a shaky World Series past, expect the Phillies to be aggressive at the plate. During the regular season, only five teams hit more home runs against lefties than Philly.

Additionally, the Phillies trailed only the Rockies and White Sox in batting average against lefties.

After fueling the Phillies to victory in Game 1, the offense may be the key to success once again tonight.

TV Schedule and Stream

Game 2 of the World Series between the Phillies and Astros is scheduled to begin at 8:03 p.m. Eastern on Fox.

Phillies-Astros will stream on the Fox Sports app, though it will only be available to those with a cable subscription.

The game will also stream on any so-called skinny bundle that carries Fox, including fuboTV, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and DirecTV Stream. Most offer a free trial.

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