World Series Game 1: Aaron Nola gets the nod for the Phillies against Astros Justin Verlander, for all things holy
Gotta be honest, we are roughly 12 hours away from Game 1 of the 2022 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros and tonight already feels like a win.
I can’t stop thinking about this quote and how it fits perfectly with the Phillies and Astros.
“When you decide to be the immovable object standing in front of the unstoppable force, you’d better pray that you’re right about being immovable, and they’re wrong about being unstoppable.’ ‘Otherwise, you’ll wind up like a bug on a windshield.”
The Immovable Object vs The Unstoppable Force
If the Houston Astros claim to be the immovable object standing in front of the Philadelphia Phillies, an unstoppable force, then they better PRAY that they are right about being immovable and the Phillies are wrong about unstoppable. Otherwise, they’ll end up like bugs on a windshield.
The Houston Astros, a team that everyone, despite being a franchise filled with cheating scandals, really believes they are an immovable object. They have been to the World Series four out of the past six seasons. They won 106 games in the regular season and have yet to lose a game in the postseason.
What the Astros and media members alike fail to realize, is that the Philadelphia Phillies are an unstoppable force.
After entering the playoffs as the sixth seed in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies swept the St. Louis Cardinals in “Baseball Heaven” during the Wild Card Round. Then, they knocked off NL East rivals and defending World Champions in the Atlanta Braves winning the NLDS 3-1. From there, they beat the San Diego Padres 4-1 in the NLCS, a team that took out both the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Philadelphia Phillies are not wrong about being unstoppable. The Houston Astros are definitely wrong about being immovable. Let’s break down tonight’s Game 1 matchup with Aaron Nola facing off against Justin Verlander.
Aaron Nola vs Justin Verlander
Aaron Nola will start Game 1 against Justin Verlander on eight days rest. 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.
Opposing Aaron Nola will be Justin Verlander, who has a long history of not being able to perform well in the Fall Classic. Verlander is a MVP winner, 2x Cy-Young, ROTY, Triple Crown Winner, 9x All-Star, and World Series winner. It’s no secret that his resume runs deep, and he’s been one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball over the last 20 years, but that tends to change when he arrives to the World Series.
In the 2022 postseason alone, Verlander has not pitched well at all for the Astros. He has started two games so far in the playoffs and is just 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA this postseason in just 10 innings pitched.
Despite What You’ve Been Told, The Astros Have Not Been Playing Well
Verlander is far from the only Houston Astros player that has struggled in the postseason and despite with MLB.com will tell you with their pathetic Player Power Rankings, almost the entire lineup has underperformed.
Outside of his monstrous game-winning, walk-off home run against the Mariners in the ALDS, Yordan Alvarez been the definition of average for the Astros in the postseason. Alvarez is slashing .241/.371/.517 with a .888 OPS. He has two home runs, two doubles, and 8 RBI over 7 playoff games.
Jose Altuve, one of the biggest cheaters in Major League Baseball is slashing a PATHETIC .094/.171/.125 with a .296 OPS. He has THREE HITS in 37 at-bats this postseason and only ONE EXTRA BASE HIT to go along with ZERO RBI.
Alex Bregman, who hasn’t been good at baseball since he stopped listening to trashcans and getting off by zapping himself every time a 4-seamer was coming his way slashing .333/.375/.600 with a .975 OPS.
Kyle Tucker, who for whatever reason thought this was a smart thing to say during yesterday’s media day, is slashing .214/.313/.321 with a .634 OPS. He has one home run and one RBI.
Kyle Tucker is an Idiot – Watch This…
“Hopefully we just win in 4. And make it easy as possible for us. But they are a really good team, so it may go longer. We’re hoping to get it out of the way early. But we’ll see”
We’ll leave it at that for now. I’m sure Phillies fans in left field when the series returns to Citizens Bank Park will have plenty to say to Kyle Tucker and for that, we thank them.
I will give credit to Jeremy Pena. The ALCS MVP is slashing .303/.324/.667 with three doubles, three home runs, and 5 RBI during the 2022 postseason. Still let’s look at the whole picture with Pena. He won ALCS MVP because the rest of the Astros are struggling at the plate, hitting two of his three doubles and home runs against the Yankees and notching four of his five RBIs during that series as well.
The Fighting Philadelphia Phillies
Bryce Harper is in MVP form heading into the World Series. The reigning NL MVP slashed .400/.400/.850 with a 1.250 OPS in the NLCS. Harper had eight hits, three doubles, two home runs, and five RBI in 20 at-bats during the series against San Diego and headlines a Phillies lineup that has all had their “moment” during this magical postseason run.
Kyle Schwarber, who struggled in the early rounds of the playoffs, returned with Schwarberfest slashing .400/.571/1.000 with a 1.571 OPS in the NLCS. The Phillies lead-off hitter had three home runs and four RBI to set the tone for the rest of the lineup.
Rhys Hoskins. Man on man, Rhys Hoskins. The Phillies first baseman, despite his flaws defensively, has battled back into the good graces of Phillies fans after what could have easily been an NLCS MVP performance against the Padres.
Hoskins hit four home runs and totaled 7 RBI against the Padres. Three of which, were monumental 2-run home runs to literally win ball games for the Fightins when it mattered most.
The Best Catcher in Baseball, JT Realmuto, added four hits, a home run, and three RBI to the stat sheet in the NLCS.
Nick Castellanos had two doubles, four hits, and an RBI in the NLCS.
Bryson Stott had three doubles, four hits, and an RBI in the NLCS with Jean Segura adding two RBI and Alec Bohm with a double and two RBI.
The Philadelphia Phillies are an unstoppable force.
World Series Game 1: Phillies @ Astros Odds
|Philadelphia Phillies||+1.5 (-166)||+138||O 6.5 (-124)|
|Houston Astros||-1.5 (+138)||-164||U 6.5 (+102)|
The recipe for success remains the same for the Philadelphia Phillies. Split the first two games on the road and get back home to Citizens Bank Park for the next three games. They managed to do that to both the Atlanta Braves and the San Diego Padres and we all know how those series ended.
Bugs on a Windshield
Any time you have Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler on the mound, you are expected to win at least one of those games. The Phillies have the perfect opportunity to jump on the Houston Astros early tonight with a struggling Justin Verlander on the mound.
Stay hot at the plate, let Aaron Nola return to dominance, and make timely defensive plays and the Phillies could easily win tonight. In fact, I think that’s exactly what they’ll do.