The Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 on Saturday night in Houston to claim the 2022 World Series championship title. The pennant, the Astros’ second in club history, came after they found themselves down 2-1 to the Phillies going into Game Four in Philadelphia. Dusty Baker’s Astros then limited the Phillies’ offense to only three runs over the next three games to take the series 4-2 overall.
Philadelphia now ends the 2022 season, one which included a managerial change as well as the club’s first postseason appearance since 2011 and their first NLCS pennant since 2009.
How it Happened
While Schwarber and Realmuto got on, Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper hit into groundouts on their respective first pitches. Hoskins’ became a 5-4-3 double play while Harper grounded out to shortstop Jeremy Pena to end the inning.
Zack Wheeler then stepped on the mound for the Phillies to begin the bottom of the first. Having been given two extra days of rest due to arm fatigue, there were concerns that Wheeler possibly had ran out of gas in the tank after having pitched.
Those concerns quickly faded as Wheeler returned to form with a 98.3 mph fastball to lead-off hitter Jose Altuve, eventually striking him out on four pitches. Wheeler then finished out a 1-2-3 first inning with a groundout to Pena and a fly-out to Yordan Alvarez.
Alec Bohm hit a one-out single into center field to put a runner on base in the top of the second inning. After a strikeout from Jean Segura put the second out on the board, Matt Vierling walked to put two runners on for the Phillies. Edmundo Sosa then hit a fly ball to the left field fence, caught by Yordan Alvarez for third out of the inning.
Valdez then returned to the mound in the top of the third, striking out the side against the top of the Phillies’ order.
Wheeler allowed his first hit of the day, a single to Trey Mancini kicking off bottom of the third before getting out of the inning unscathed. After allowing another single in the bottom of the fourth, Wheeler got out of the inning without issue, having allowed thrown 51 pitches through four scoreless frames.
Schwarber Gives Phillies the Lead
Going into the sixth inning, there were a combined three hits on the night between both teams. Kyle Schwarber then stepped up to the plate for the third time on the night. On a 2-2 count, Schwarber took a 95 mph sinker from Valdez and smoked it into the right field stands, breaking the ice and giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
The home run, Schwarber’s sixth of the postseason, went 396 feet and had an xBA of .820. The Phillies then went down in order as Wheeler returned to the mound with a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth.
Alvarado Allows Game-Changing Home Run, Fails in Relief
Martin Maldonado led off the bottom of the sixth with a hit-by-pitch. Maldonado changed his approach between at bats, crowding the plate much more then he had previously. Manager Rob Thomson came out to argue that Maldonado leaned into the pitch, but the call was confirmed and Maldonado was awarded first.
After Altuve reached base on a fielder’s choice with Maldonado out at second, Pena hit a single up the middle, putting runners on the corners.
With Yordan Alvarez due up at the plate, the Phillies went to the bullpen, bringing in left-hander Jose Alvarado. Alvarado had previously been called in relief against Alvarez in Game Four, an appearance that resulted in a 5-0 lead for the Astros.
Alvarado allowed a moonshot of a home run off of Alvarez into center field, giving the Astros a 3-1 lead over the Phillies.
Following the home run, Alvarado gave up a full count walk to Alex Bregman, eventually allowing him to advance to second base on a wild pitch. Alvarado managed to strikeout Kyle Tucker on a full count before immediately being taken out once he reached the three-batter minimum in favor of Seranthony Dominguez.
Dominguez then allowed a base hit into left field, scoring Bregman, and closing out the Astros’s scoring on the inning as they claimed a 4-1 advantage. Wheeler ended the day having thrown only 70 pitches through 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on only three hits while striking out five batters. Alvarado, meanwhile, recorded one out, allowing two runs.
The Phillies Last-Ditch Attempts
In a cruel turn of fate, after taking the lead, the Astros turned to former Phillies reliever Hector Neris for the top of the seventh inning. Neris worked a fly out to Nick Castellanos before striking out two former teammates in Alec Bohm and Jean Segura to end the inning.
Bryan Abreu, a right-hander then faced off against the Phillies’ left-handed side of their shortstop and center field platoons in Bryson Stott and Brandon Marsh. The pair hit a line out and fly out respectively. Kyle Schwarber, who was then unable to tie the game with one swing, was given the bunt sign, fouling out on the bunt to end the inning.
In the bottom half of the eighth, Alex Bregman hit a line drive into left field with one out. Kyle Schwarber laced a throw to Jean Segura at second base, applying the tag just as Bregman dove hands-first into second base. Originally called safe on the field, a review found that Bregman was out on the play after a beautiful throw from Schwarber.
With the season on the line, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, and Bryce Harper were due up for the Phillies in the top of the ninth against closer Ryan Pressly. Hoskins began the inning with a fly out into right field. Realmuto then took a first pitch into center field, putting a runner on for the Phillies with Harper due up. Harper swung at a first-pitch fastball, popping it up into left field for out number two.
With the season on the line, Nick Castellanos stepped up to the plate. Castellanos swung at the first pitch, flying out into foul territory for the final out.
The Astros then stormed the field, celebrating their second World Series title in organization history.
As a team, the Phillies only managed three hits on the night with their only run coming on a solo home run from Kyle Schwarber. An offense known for its explosive nature dissipated into the night as the Phillies failed to reclaim a World Championship.
It’s at this point in the article that I could go on about how the Phillies, who were not projected to make the playoffs in the preseason, should leave with their heads held high after a great season along with their first postseason and World Series appearance in over a decade, and look ahead to the greatness that is to come.
But, let’s be honest. No Phillies fan reading this article right now is truly feeling that way. In this series, the Phillies’ offense, which has been the team’s bread and butter throughout the postseason, went completely flat. The Phillies’ aces struggled, and even when they found their groove, they were pulled too soon in favor of a game of bullpen roulette.
Philly, there is a lot to be excited about with this team, but that is to be discussed in the days, weeks, and months to come. In the meantime, it is okay to be frustrated. Just remember to set your clocks back tonight or the frustration will only increase in the morning.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki