Reyes: Flashing the Leather

Logo for Flashing the Leather column. - Graphic / Spencer Reyes

The Metro is Firing on all Cylinders 

One of the most competitive divisions in professional hockey is back to playing some of the best hockey on television for the 2022-2023 season. 

Currently, the Metropolitan Division is led by the New Jersey Devils, who have a total of 18 points this season. Carolina is in second place with 17 points, and there is a three-way tie for third. The Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and New York Rangers all have 14 points.

Although the season just started a month ago, it is interesting to see how flip-flopped these Metro teams are in their division.

The Devils and Flyers being at the top of the Eastern Conference makes little to no sense for hockey fans since these both teams have struggled for the past decade to put forth a winning team.

Carolina is on pace to be a playoff team again this season with a record of 8-2-1. Somehow, Philadelphia and both New York teams are tied for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers have fed into Philly’s fandom, winning six out of their 11 games, losing three and going into overtime twice. All five professional Philadelphia sports teams have been on a winning stretch, but with losses from the Phillies and Union on the big stage, fans ponder if the Flyers will be next to fall. 

Sitting at the bottom of the Metro are the Columbus Blue Jackets, who only have six team points from three wins in 12 games. Right on top of the Blue Jackets are the last two teams at the sixth and seventh seeding, the Washington Nationals and the Pittsburgh Penguins respectively. 

The Metropolitan will be another difficult division to play in this season, as the Capitals, Rangers, Penguins and Hurricanes look to repeat their appearance in the playoffs while the rest of the division is poised for a chance to prove their worth en route to the Stanley Cup.

Houston Takes it All

The Houston Astros for the second time in franchise history have won the World Series — well, their first if you count 2017. 

The Astros took Game 6 to win the series 4-2 at home in Minute Maid Park. The well-fought series went to the higher seed, as Houston was able to produce 22 runs in six games, while the Philadelphia Phillies brought in 16 runs throughout the series. 

Games 1 and 2 flipped both ways as each team won a game to start the World Series in Houston. The third game was slated to be played on Halloween but was postponed due to rain. That changed how some of the pitching matchups played out for the rest of the week.

Game 3 was owned by the Phillies as they shut out the Astros 7-0 with the help of Lance McCullers, Jr’s leg kick. He accidentally tipped his pitches to the Phillies’ offense by changing the height of his leg during his motion based on the type of pitch he would throw. 

Houston came back in Game 4 to no-hit the home team 5-0, with help from pitchers Christian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly, who was added to the roster for the World Series.

The last game in Philly was a thrilling battle that ended in a 3-2 Astros win to close out the road portion of the series for Houston. Home runs from Jeremy Peña and Kyle Schwarber during the first four innings pumped up the fans. The fifth, sixth and seventh innings were scoreless up until the eighth.

That’s when Jose Altuve walked and Pena followed with a single to right field. Yordan Alvarez moved the runners with a groundout to first, allowing Altuve to score from third and moving Peña to second.

The bottom of the eighth started with another walk, sending Nick Castellanos to first base. Alec Bohm struck out on a 1-2 count, and Montero gave up another walk to move Castellanos to second and Bryson Stott 90 feet to first. Jean Segura came up to bat and hit a line drive to right field which brought in Castellanos to get their second run.

Zach Eflin of the Phillies was able to finish the top of the ninth unscathed, and Ryan Pressly did the same for Houston.

The final game of the 2022 season finished with a 4-1 win at home for Houston to win the title. Zack Wheeler took the bump for Philly and Framber Valdez took the win at Minute Maid Park.

Neither team scored until the sixth inning. Philadelphia got on the board first with a home run from Kyle Schwarber but followed up with two groundouts and a strikeout from the meat of their batting order.

The Astros came in hot in the bottom of the inning, which started with a walk for catcher Martin Maldonado. Altuve grounded into a fielder’s choice as he essentially switched spots with Maldonado at first. Peña singled to center field to put men on the corners. Yordan Alvarez hit a home run four pitches into the pitching change from Zack Wheeler to Jose Alvarado.

Corner infielder Alex Bregman walked next, Kyle Tucker struck out and Christian Vasquez singled to left field to bring in Bregman for the fourth run. Trey Mancini ended the inning by grounding out to Jean Segura at second base. Neither team could score any more runs as the confetti covered the field, and players jumped up and down as they took the title at home.

The 2022 season is officially over, and the Astros have been named the victors of this year. The rest of the baseball world is now on hold until March 8, when the World Baseball Classic returns for the first time since 2017. Until then, let the speculation begin of where the top free agents will sign.

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