By Benjamin Simon, Staff Writer
The 2022 World Series was an action-packed affair with plenty of drama and intrigue to have viewers continuously on the edge of their seats. Full disclosure before I continue: I’m a massive Philadelphia Phillies fan, but I will try to be fair to the World Series champions, who came out and played extremely well.
The Houston Astros flat-out played better baseball than the Philadelphia Phillies. Other than the extremely close game one, which featured the heroics of JT Realmuto and the stupefying defense of Nick Castellanos, and the homer-heavy game three, in which Lance McCullers Jr. could not keep the ball within our stratosphere while Phillies pitching absolutely smothered all Astros batters, the Astros simply were a better team than the Phils.
The Astros blasted Phillies ace Zack Wheeler in game two, chasing him out of the game in the 6th inning with four earned runs, punctuated by a powerful two-run homer off Alex Bregman’s bat which had the Houston home crowd going absolutely ballistic. But much more impressive than this was what the Astros did in game four, when Cristian Javier continued his brilliant pitching from the regular season and threw his second combined no-hitter of the year, the second no-hitter PERIOD in the World Series, and, to top it all off, all before the aggressive Philadelphia crowd, who were completely silenced by Houston’s domination.
Game five was an aggravating yet exciting affair. The Astros, under the masterful work of ALCS (and eventually World Series) MVP Jeremy Peña, who accumulated six total bases while bringing in two runs in an incredible three-hit night, ended the night with a win. The Phillies were unable to seize momentum on a lead-off Kyle Schwarber home run and could not capitalize on the relatively weak pitching from Justin Verlander, who was able to minimize the damage from the Phils to only one earned run during his five innings pitched. This was a game in which the momentum felt like it could switch at any time, but which remained firmly with the Astros during the whole duration of the game.
Finally, in game six, the bottom fell out, and despite a great pitching appearance from Zach Wheeler for five innings, the Astros ultimately came out on top, specifically through a Yordan Alvarez home run that will surely be replayed for years to come. The Phillies never responded to the Astros offensive onslaught in this game and lost the series 4-2.
So, what can be taken away from this? Well, for one, the Philadelphia Phillies exceeded expectations by an incredible amount, rising from wild-card underdogs to one of two teams to play in the World Series. That being said, once they got into the World Series, other than in game three, they were offensively quiet, hitting only .100 in the final 30 innings of the series, a paltry number that could never stand up to the premier hitting that Houston offered. This year, Houston had the more complete team, and could turn to a plethora of pitching and hitting in most situations to get them over the finish line; the Phillies could not, and they were felled by that. Maybe next year, things can click for Philadelphia and they can finally bring a trophy home. Or maybe this Houston dynasty is here to stay. Only time will tell.