2022 World Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Houston Astros

It’s hard to believe it, but the Philadelphia Phillies (9-2) are four wins away from the third World Championship in franchise history.  The path to another title runs through the two-time defending American League Champion Houston Astros (7-0).  In fact, Houston has represented the AL four of the last six seasons.  

The series, a rematch of the classic 1980 NLCS, has been billed as David versus Goliath.  

But this David –the 2022 Phillies– carries a big stick and is filled with a dangerous, never say die confidence. That makes them an incredibly dangerous team as the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, and San Diego Padres found out.  

While Houston is being billed as the Goliath, the pressure is squarely on the Astros.  Houston’s last two trips to the World Series have ended with white hot NL East teams –the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, respectively– celebrating a championship on the field at Minute Maid Park.  Houston’s only title in their six-season AL dominance was overshadowed by a cheating scandal that brings into question the legitimacy of that title. 

Road to the World Series

The Phillies path to the World Series has been a magical ride since clinching a postseason berth on October 1 against the Astros.  The Phils used a one-two punch from Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, along with timely hitting to sweep the Cardinals in the NLWCS. 

The NLDS against the defending World Champion Braves was a lot of the same, but the timely hitting started to come in the way of big at-bats from the key pieces of the lineup.  Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and Kyle Schwarber all started to “lock in” during the NLDS.  The Phils rode the suddenly hot bats and the arms of Wheeler, Nola, Noah Syndergaard, and the bullpen to a dominant 3-1 series win over Atlanta.  

The NLCS against the Padres –wait for it– was a lot of the same.  

The Phillies offense continued to come to life and really picked up the Phillies pitching in the NLCS.  The Phils exploded for 25-runs in the LCS thanks to 10-home runs, including four from Hoskins, two from Schwarber, and two from Harper. Wheeler and Suarez carried the Phils starters and a solid enough bullpen led the Fightin’s to a 4-1 series win and the NL Pennant.


Houston’s path to the World Series hasn’t been as dramatic as the Phillies.  The Astros owned the American League’s best regular season record –106-56–, won the AL West, and earned a first-round bye.  

Much like the Phillies, Houston has relied on the arms of starting pitchers Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier to carry them.  Combine that with –here it is again– timely hitting and you have a recipe for success.  

Houston used this recipe to sweep the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS including a tremendously entertaining 18-inning marathon in Game 3.  They finished off the New York Yankees –because the roof was open, lol– in four games in the ALCS.  In fact, Houston’s last loss came to the Phillies on October 1 when the Phils clinched a postseason berth.  

Head-to-Head in 2022

The Astros took the season series from the Phillies 2-1 in 2022.  Both teams met in the final series of the regular season in a bizarre, almost Spring Training like series. The Phillies took the first game 3-0 behind 6.2 shutout innings from Nola in the postseason clincher.  Houston won the next two games in which nearly every player on both rosters played. 

World Series Storylines to Watch

  • Can the Phillies continue their hot hitting after a four-day layoff
  • The Astros have yet to lose a 2022 postseason game
  • Will the Phillies steal a game in Houston and swing homefield advantage as they have all postseason
  • Astros starter, and likely AL Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander is 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA and 9 HRs allowed in the World Series
  • Can the Phillies first three starters –Nola, Wheeler, and Suarez– matchup against the Astros first three starters –Verlander, Valdez, and McCullers Jr/Garcia/Javier/whomever
  • Can the Phillies play perfect or almost perfect defensive baseball
  • Will the Astros lack of LHP in the bullpen hurt them against the Phils lefty bombers
  • Can the Phillies bullpen shake a shaky experience in the NLCS
  • Will the bottom of the Phillies order continue its timely hitting
  • Former Phillies closer Hector Neris versus his old team

The Moment of the Series

Astros reliever, and former Phillies pitcher, Hector Neris is going to serve up a series altering hit to Phillies outfielder Brandon Marsh.

Prediction

Phillies in 6-games. The Phillies are playing with their hair on fire right now and that makes them extremely dangerous.  The Astros, despite being undefeated, have shown a lot of the same faults the Phils previous opponents have.  Throw out the statistics and the analytics, there’s something special going on in the Phillies clubhouse and that means more than OPS, WHIP, and whatever else.  This isn’t a homer pick –the Astros are a good ballclub– but right now, in this moment, the Phillies are better. 

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