The main storyline of the Astros-Phillies World Series

The matchup for the 118th World Series has been confirmed. With a win in the League Championship Series on Sunday, the Astros and Phillies face off Friday at the Fall Classic at Minute Maid Park. For Philadelphia, this is unfamiliar territory. The Phils haven’t played in the World Series in 13 years. The area is very familiar to the Astros (the first team since the 1976 Reds), who want to be the first team in the wild card era and take the lead in the postseason. The Phillies beat the thriller 4-3 against Padres in Game 5 of the NLCS thanks to series MVP Bryce Harper’s dramatic eight-inning home run at Citizens Bank Park. Hours later, the Astros defeated the Yankees in a 6-5 win over the Bronx to advance to the World Series for the fourth time in the past six years. Here are seven key stories ahead of World Series Game 1. Will Harper’s heroism continue? Harper has been in the spotlight since he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 16-year-old genius. In the years that followed, he lived up to the hype in every way, except that his team had no postseason success. Things have changed this month, and the two-time NL MVP is a big reason. Harper’s iconic opening home run in Sunday’s pennant clincher was .400 (8 in 20) in the NLCS with three doubles, two home runs and five RBIs. Throughout the postseason, he is averaging .419 (18 with 43) with six doubles, five home runs, and 11 RBIs. I can’t believe the man just turned 30 last week. On Sunday, Harper hit the biggest home run of his life, half of which was spent under the collective scrutiny of baseball. Can he keep running Cinderella of the Phillies to the World Series Championship? Which Kyle Schwarber will we see in the World Series? Over the first two rounds of the postseason, Schwarber was 20 hits and one at-bat with eight strikeouts. But his bat came to life when he hit six hits (.400) in 15 at-bats with three home runs in the NLCS. Includes a huge 488-foot explosion and 6 walks of Game 1 of the longest hit in Petco Park. Schwarber will play in his second World Series after winning everything with the Cubs in 2016. He scored .412 in the fall classic against Cleveland, and the Phillies hope to see more similarities to that performance this time around. It represents a continuation of what he did in the NLCS. Can Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola lead the Phils to a quick start? As Houston showed in this playoff, the Astros’ pitching knows it’s deeper than it is deep. With hot bats from Harper, Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins, the Phillies’ lineup will stop working. But on the other side of the ledger, can Wheeler and Nola put Philadelphia in a good position when the World Series returns to Citizens Bank Park for Game 3? The old adage is that if you start a playoff series with two games, you’ll be content with a split. But the way Wheeler and Nola have pitched this postseason is no big deal to imagine Nola stealing two games from Houston aside from a rough outing in Game 2 of the NLCS. Wheeler has a 1.78 ERA in four starts this postseason, and Nolan conceded an ERA in two games between the NL Wildcard Series and the NLDS (12.2 innings) until he scored six points in Game 2 of the NLCS. . Is Jeremy Pena A Stage Too Big? The 25-year-old has provided some of Houston’s biggest hits in this playoff, including an opening solo home run as evidenced by the difference in completing the Mariners’ sweep in Game 3 of the ALDS in 18 innings. Adding two more home runs, including a big three-run home run, three doubles and a bit of a shiny defense from shortstop, in Game 4 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium makes it one of the greatest rookie postseasons in history. With a .303 batting average in the playoffs so far, Peña has been named ALCS MVP and looks as laid-back as someone in the first postseason as well as the third or fourth postseason. With the confidence he has on the field and the form he has shown so far this month, it will be very interesting to follow Peña in his first fall classic. Can Jose Alto break free from postseason funk? Altuve has been instrumental in the Astros’ success, and it’s noteworthy that Houston has 2 hits and 31 losses at bat while Houston is 7-0 this postseason. Of course, it helps Peña and the others take it to the next level, but even a club as good as this one would have a hard time winning everything without Altuve’s little offensive contribution. Astros are looking forward to Altuvee’s return this month, posting a .286/.361/.547 with 23 home runs in his postseason career. Meanwhile, they also want to see Kyle Tucker get to the plate. He’s batting just .214 this postseason. Jordan Alvarez went two at 19 before offering a tying single in Game 4 of the ALCS Houston after a great start to the playoffs with two home runs, including an end in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Mariners. I’d love to see him get hot again. Even if Houston’s bullpen is as good as this, can they really sustain this? We knew Astros’ bullpen was deep and very good. But what Houston’s relievers have done this postseason is simply extraordinary. In 33 innings between the ALDS and the ALCS, they conceded only three runs (0.82 ERA). Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez et al. No matter how good your opponent’s lineup is in the starting rotation, it’s hard to win. Can Astros’ Pens Keep Extinguished Against the Phillies in the World Series? If the answer is yes, then it will be a big problem for Philadelphia. I have something to give you. Will it be Baker or Harper who finally wins that difficult World Series? Harper and Astros manager Dusty Baker stayed with the Nationals for two seasons in 2016-17, both years Washington failed to make it past the NLDS and lost to the Dodgers and Cubs. And both go into the 2022 World Series without a ring. In his 25th season as a major league manager, Baker led five clubs to the postseason: Giants, Cubs, Reds, Nationals and Astros. He made it to the World Series once before this year with the 2021 Astros, where Houston lost to the Braves in six games. Meanwhile, Harper is one of the greatest superstars of this generation, but will be playing for the first time in the Fall Classic. Someone will get the first World Series ring. Who will it be?

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