After a crazy postseason in the MLB, the 2022 Fall Classic is upon us as the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros will be battling it out for the title of baseball’s best.
How They Got Here: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies finished the regular season with an 87-75 record and beat out the Milwaukee Brewers for the final Wild Card spot in the National League to put an end to their 11 year playoff drought.
They swept the three seeded St. Louis Cardinals in the best of three Wild Card Round (2-0), then slugged their way past the two seeded defending champion Atlanta Braves in the best of five Division Series (3-1) to advance to their first National League Championship Series (NLCS) since 2010. In the NLCS, they beat the five seeded San Diego Padres in five games (4-1) to advance to their first World Series since 2009.
How They Got Here: Houston Astros
The Astros finished with a 106-56 record, which was good enough to get the top seed in the American League and win their division for the fifth time in six years.
After getting a bye in the Wild Card Round, the Astros swept the five seeded Seattle Mariners (3-0) in the Division Series to advance to their sixth straight American League Championship Series, where they swept the two-seeded New York Yankees (4-0) to advance to the World Series for the fourth time in six years.
Team Overview: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies season has been like a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs and unexpected turns that no one saw coming, like when they fired their manager Joe Girardi on June 3. Since that date, the Phillies have been one of the best teams in baseball, finishing the regular season with a 95 win pace (66-46) under new manager Rob Thomson.
In order to get into the playoffs, Thomson and the Phillies had to navigate key injuries to players like Jean Segura, Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler, but members of the “Phillies DayCare” like Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm and Bailey Falter kept the Phillies afloat until their stars returned.
Atop the Phillies rotation is Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, two legitimate aces who have stepped up their game as the postseason rolled along. Bryce Harper, the NLCS MVP, and Rhys Hoskins have gotten hot at the right time, as the Phillies duo combined to crush six home runs in the NLCS. Plus, a lineup that contains JT Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber, and Nick Castellanos should never be taken lightly.
Oh, and good luck trying to win in a game in Citizens Bank Park with how electric that crowd is.
Team Overview: Houston Astros
Houston’s half-decade long dominance over the rest of the MLB continued once again this season, leading them to yet another World Series.
Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel add a calming veteran presence to a lineup that has had a few young players take over the spotlight. Rookie Jeremy Pena, the ALCS MVP, and Yordan Alvarez have carried their regular season success into the postseason, and the Astros haven’t lost a game because of it.
Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez headline a deep rotation that contains Lance McCullers and Cristian Javier on the back-end of it. Even with guys like this in the rotation, the Astros bullpen has been the strongest part of the team, as they combined to strike out 42 Yankees in the ALCS and hold New York to a .127 batting average against them in 33 innings.
One thing that can’t be underestimated is the Astros experience in these moments, as five members from the 2017 World Champion team are still on the team. The majority of the roster has already played in a World Series after their loss to the Atlanta Braves last season.
After putting a message on the scoreboard that read “Congratulations Philadelphia” after the Phillies clinched the final Wild Card spot in Houston, the Astros are going to be faced with that same fate yet again.
The Astros lose their third World Series to an NL East team in the past four years. Phillies in 6.
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