Series Recap: Phillies take 2 of 3 in World Series Rematch

Philadelphia Phillies' Cristian Pache
Philadelphia Phillies’ Cristian Pache hits a two-run home run against Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland during the third inning of a baseball game, Saturday, April 22, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Phillies started off the 2023 season on the wrong foot, but have since returned to the same winning play that got them to the World Series.

The latest chapter of the 2023, was a brief flashback to the conclusion of 2022, as the Phillies went down to Houston in a rematch with the Houston Astros. Unlike the last time they played in Houston, the Phillies walked away with a series win. Taking two games from the Astros to start their road trip.

Game 1 Recap

The opening game of the Phillies and Astros rematch was shared with the 9 people who actually have Apple TV. Thousands of Philadelphians were upset when they tried to turn the game on and had to be told that it was an Apple TV exclusive.

As for the in-game action, Philly should be really proud of what they saw out of their ballclub. The Phillies would go on to win 3-1.

W: Aaron Nola (2-2)

L: Framber Valdez (2-3)

S: Jose Alvarado (5)

Like We Never Left

The Phillies clearly had something to prove when they stepped foot in Minute Maid Park on Friday night.

They wanted to show the Astros that this team is just as good as the one they saw in October. Kyle Schwarber wanted to prove that his power from the World Series is just as legit as it was then.

Schwarbs would hit a solo home run in the top of the first to get the Phillies on the board 1-0.

Later in the first inning, Nick Castellanos would make the greatest catch of his career (and he’s had quite a few big ones for the Phillies). Casty would rob Alex Bregman of a home run in right field and sold the catch only as Nick Castellanos can.

New addition Cristian Pache would drive in a run with an RBI double. Pache’s growth has been tremendous with the Phillies so far. Unfortunately, Cristian would get injured and be forced to leave the game. It was reported that he tore his right meniscus and will require surgery. The Phillies are hopeful he can return to the club again this season.

The Ace Arrives

Aaron Nola had his best game of the season Friday night against the Astros.

Nola went 8 innings, allowing 1 earned run and striking out 6 batters as he was having his way with Houston’s lineup.

This start was Aaron’s longest of the year and coming off a 7-inning performance in his last outing, it feels like Nola is starting to get his legs back underneath him.

Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola leaves the game with bases loaded during the fifth inning in Game 4 of baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

His velocity has been down later in games, which is a little concerning. But after the number of innings he pitched in 2022, it is safe to say he might just need a little more time to get going. If he keeps pitching into the 7th and 8th innings of games, however, I won’t complain.

Aaron Nola took the ball and delivered his team a win, something that I have been asking for all season.

Game 2 Recap

Game 2 of the Phillies-Astros was even more exciting than the first one. The Phillies’ offense exploded in Game 2, and they had no trouble this time around with Cristian Javier, the man who no-hit them in Game 4 of the World Series.

The Phillies would win this game easily, by a final score of 6-1. The roughest part of this matchup was when Zack Wheeler hit Martin Maldonado with a pitch. The bullpens emptied, but there was no scuffle in this one. Both teams were warned and we did not see the first benches-clearing brawl of the season.

W: Zack Wheeler (3-1)

L: Cristian Javier (2-1)

Ball Go Boom

The Phillies have sluggers in their lineup…. checks notes… Nick Castellanos and Kody Clemens?

Both Castellanos and Clemens went deep in this game, helping give Zack Wheeler a comfortable lead in this matchup.

This was Nick Castellanos’s 4 homerun of the season and 4th in the last week. His power has returned and while he might not hit 30+ bombs this season, if Nick Castellanos can hit 25, the Phillies will be in a really good spot.

Revenge Game

Zack Wheeler was removed after 5 innings during Game 6 of the World Series. The move was questioned then, and still remains questioned to this day. Wheeler did not agree with it but understands his manager has a plan, and will follow Thompson’s lead any day.

Wheeler did have a chance to get some revenge this time around in Game 2 of this series.

Zack went 6 innings without allowing a run and punching out 7 batters. He again shut down the Astros lineup and in consecutive games, the Phillies’ two best pitchers delivered.

Game 3 Recap

The series finale came under the bright lights of Sunday Night Baseball.

The Phillies battled the Astros, but trailed for the large majority of this game. JT Realmuto and Kody Clemens homered, but some poor defense and timely hitting by the Astros was just enough for Houston to win 4-3.

The Phillies left 8 runners in scoring position in this game. Star shortstop Trea Turner continues to struggle and is having one of the worst slumps of his career. I still have plenty of faith in the best shortstop in baseball, but his struggles have hurt the Phillies in recent weeks.

Bailey Falter got knocked around in this start, allowing 4 earned. The Phillies bullpen was strong but the Astros’ pen was stronger, and the Phillies were unable to muster enough runs in this game. Their 4-game-win streak comes to an end, but they go 2/3 in the series and are 15-14 on the year.

W: Jose Urquidy (2-2)

L: Bailey Falter (0-5)

S: Ryan Pressly (3)

Bad Night from Bailey

Bailey Falter took the mound against Jose Urquidy in Game 3. Falter struggled in the first inning, loading the bases without recording an out. Bailey would get Astros’ first baseman Jose Abreu to ground into a double play but Houston would take a 1-0 lead. He would get All-Star Kyle Tucker out to end the inning and escape the jam with just 1 run. A really impressive response to a tough start.

Phillies Bailey Falter pitching
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Bailey Falter throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

In the top of the second, Falter would allow another run. This time unearned, as Brandon Marsh would drop a ball in center field on a difficult play. Some miscommunication with Kyle Schwarber forced Marsh into a slide, where the ball popped free. This run would come around to score on Martin Maldonado RBI double, that just got over the head of Nick Castellanos.

Bailey Falter would allow a home run in the 4th to Jake Myers. Benefitting from the short porch in the left field that Minute Maid Park has. In the 5th, a couple of bloop shots and weak contact would reward the Astros with their 4th and final run-off of Bailey Falter.

Homeruns in Houston

After a quiet first inning, JT Realmuto would get things going for the Phillies in the 2nd. A two-out, solo home run to left field would tie the game up at 1. It was nice to see the power come from JT, as he has gotten off to a slow start in 2023.

Kody Clemens would join the home run parade at the top of the 5th. Kody would also benefit from the short porch in left, cutting the Astros’ lead at that point to 3-2.

Not Enough Offense

The Phillies only scored 3 runs in this game.

The two solo home runs and then Kyle Schwarber scoring on an error in the 8th was all the Phillies got tonight.

Going 0-8 with Runners in Scoring Position is going to be tough to win any ballgame, but especially tough against the reigning champs. The home runs were good to see, but not capitalizing when Houston gave them opportunities was tough to see.

Heading to Hollywood

The Phillies head to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

After starting this road trip 2-1, it would be nice to see the Phillies win another series on the road. Heading back to Philly 4-2 on the trip would do wonders for the Phils and getting Bryce Harper back could be the difference.

It has been reported that if Harper’s final test with his surgeon goes well, he will return to the Phillies lineup on Tuesday. This would be the quickest recovery from Tommy John surgery in Major League Baseball history and might just prove Bryce Harper is superhuman after all.

The former 2-time MVP will DH to start, but could potentially see time at first base if he can learn the position well. It remains to be seen what will happen, but I think the Phillies getting back their best player can only be a good thing.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum