4 Reasons The Phillies Can Beat The Astros In The World Series

It feels like a dream — a raging fever dream — that the Philadelphia Phillies have scrapped and slugged their way into the World Series.

Isn’t this the ho-hum group that won only 87 regular-season games? Isn’t this the squad that looked destined to get squashed by some NL behemoth? Isn’t this the team that has more holes than a golf course? Yes, to all of the above.

But then October turned red, and the Phillies crammed a year’s worth of thrills into three magical weeks. Here they are — swaggering into the Fall Classic — set to play the Houston Astros.

On paper, it looks like a godawful mismatch — something like a Yorkshire Terrier vs. a Doberman Pinscher. The Astros won 106 games during the regular season. They boast great pitching, great hitting, great fielding — great everything. And they just showcased this all-around greatness by humiliating the 99-win Yankees with an easy-peasy sweep in the ALCS.

So does Philly stand any chance of beating Houston? Yes, definitely. And here are four reasons — logical reasons — how the scrappy Phils can pull off the ultimate upset.

4. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler

The Phillies have arguably the best one-two punch in any rotation in the majors in Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler,

If the series goes six or seven games, Nola and Wheeler (barring injury) will start four of those games; that should quell some anxiety bubbling inside Phillies fans.

Nola, who will start Game 1, leveled the Astros in a dominant performance (9 Ks in 6⅔ scoreless innings) on Oct. 3 when the Phils clinched a playoff berth.

Wheeler, meanwhile, has dazzled this postseason, with a 1.74 ERA over 25⅓ innings. And here’s a noteworthy stat: Wheeler’s ERA drops from 3.64 on normal 4-day rest to 2.57 on 5-day rest. His Game 2 start on Saturday will be the latter.

3. Rob Thomson

The Phillies’ Rob Thomson is managing like a Jedi right now. He used 4 different relievers to close out 4 different wins in the NLCS. He’s managed two bullpen games to postseason victories. And, according to his players, the man known as Topper motivates them to play hard and play smart.

The proof is in the numbers: Since Thomson took over for the Phils on June 3, the team is 74-48 (including the postseason) — that’s a robust .606 winning percentage.

2. Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper is a real-life Roy Hobbs.

The man with the surgically repaired thumb and the torn elbow ligament is smashing cinematic home runs and delivering Hollywood lines: “Let’s give them something to remember,” Harper told his hitting coach moments before slamming this NLCS-clinching blast…

Look for Astros manager Dusty Baker to pitch around Harper every chance he gets. But also look for Harper — a man who adores the spotlight — to find his moment and shine on baseball’s biggest stage.

1. Citizens Bank Park

Phillies fans take home-field advantage to an insane level. Citizens Bank Park is the only stadium in the postseason where fans routinely posted screenshots of noise warnings from their phones.

The Phils are 5-0 at home this postseason. They are 21-9 all-time in the playoffs at The Bank; that’s the best record by any team in their home park in postseason history (minimum 20 games).

Expect Philly fans to show out in all their raucous, rowdy Philly-ness when the series shifts to The Bank for Game 3. And as Harper said of the fans: “The fight that they have, it rubs off on all of us.”

And who knows, maybe the Philly fans will inspire the Fightin’ Phils to fight all the way to their fourth World Series championship.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonystitt/2022/10/27/4-reasons-why-the-phillies-can-beat-the-astros-in-the-world-series/