Just four wins away from a World Series trophy, the Phillies need to capitalize on three things against Houston
The Philadelphia Phillies are just four wins away from being crowned World Champions of Baseball for the first time since 2008. The 2022 World Series will begin on Friday night in Houston. Aaron Nola will take the hill against Justin Verlander.
Pin the Pressure on Houston
The key to the World Series, or any championship, is to pin the pressure on the favorite. The Phillies come into this series as a pretty heavy underdog, currently sitting at +165 to win the series.
The Astros are no strangers to the big stage, with 2022 being the fourth time in six seasons they’ve found themselves in the World Series. Their only win* came back in 2017 against the Dodgers, as they dropped the trophy to two NL East teams, the Braves in 2021 and the Nationals in 2019.
The Phillies need to do exactly what they were able to do in the NLDS and NLCS in winning one of two games on the road to start the series. With Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler on the mound in those games, there is absolutely zero reason the Phillies can’t do that.
Quick Notes on Aaron Nola
The Phillies and the Astros faced off in early October during the final series of the 2022 regular season. It was a series that was never supposed to be played then, but thanks to the MLB lockout, and a delay to the start of the season, it was rescheduled.
Aaron Nola took the ball in Houston in Game 1 of that series and threw 6.2 PERFECT innings, guiding the Phillies to a 3-0 victory and clinching a spot in the postseason for the first time in 11 years.
Nola then pitched gems against St. Louis and Atlanta in the first two rounds of the playoffs before running into some trouble in the NLCS against San Diego. The Phillies jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before Aaron Nola got tagged for seven hits, including two home runs, and six runs over just 4.2 innings of work. It was the only game that the Phillies lost to the Padres in the NLCS, 8-5 final.
Limit the Big Hit
Don’t let the Astros write themselves in the “big hit” history books. Much like the St. Louis Cardinals with Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt in the middle of their order and the San Diego Padres with Juan Soto and Manny Machado, the Houston Astros are very strong in the heart of the order.
The Astros produced countless big hits in the past and in this year’s postseason, whether that’s Jose Altuve walk-offs or absolute tank shots by Yordan Alvarez. Even though actually winning the World Series hasn’t been easy, they still know what it takes to perform in the Fall Classic.
The Phillies starting pitchers have to be careful once they get back around in the order a third time. Arms start to get tired, and although it hasn’t been as present in the playoffs, we’ve seen all of our starters throw some pretty costly pitches late in games throughout their career.
Limiting the big hit also comes with proper bullpen management. Rob Thomson has put on a bullpen clinic through the first three series, and there’s no reason to change anything right now. As we witnessed with Ranger Suarez in the NLCS clincher, it doesn’t always have to be your closer in the 9th inning.
Trust Rob Thomson and the Phillies 1-5 Lineup
It sounds simple, but it’s the truth. Don’t change anything now, it’s working. Rob Thomson has been making all of the right decisions and the top of the Phillies lineup has been everything fans had hoped for since Spring Training.
Phillies 1-5 in NLCS
- Schwarber: .400/.571/1.000 6 H, 3 HR, 4 RBIs
- Hoskins: 4 H, 4 HRs, 7 RBIs, 16 TB, .889 SLG
- Harper: 8 H, 3 2B, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, 17 TB, 1 K, 1.250 OPS
- Realmuto: 4 H, 1 HR, 7 TB, 4 R
- Castellanos: 3 R, 4 H, 2 2B, 1 RBI
Rob Thomson spoke to the media yesterday and did mention the possibility of the lineup changing, which would protect Harper as the Astros don’t have a single lefty in their bullpen. The most likely switch seems like Harper is up to the 3-hole and JT slides back to the 4-hole.