Not that you were worried about the seeding – the Phillies are hot, but nobody is but hot — but the action in Game 2 on Saturday assured that this World Series would go at least five… The Astros’ 5-2 victory in Game 2 restored the Philly’s series is tied, with so many questions still unanswered.
Here’s a look at the five biggest storylines from Monday night’s Game 3:
1) Can Philly keep Jose Altuve?
As the Astros quickly wrapped up the AL West in the early going, many people lost sight of the significance of Altuve’s 2022 year. But the playoffs got off to the saddest start for him: Until his Game 2 ALCS double in the fifth inning, he was 0-for-25 for the playoffs. Since that double, however, he has gone 6-for-15 and is the 1st Game 1 hitter he has had in his entire Astros career.
Altuve led off the first three innings, going 3-4. The Astros have some issues at the bottom of their order, and Altuve’s early struggles have exacerbated those issues. But if he returns to being Altuve for the year, the Astros should be able to take advantage of the Phillies’ pitching staff that is currently out of the lineup.
2) How much can Noah Syndergaard give the Phillies?
There have been arguments that the Phillies should consider an opening strategy in Game 3, trying to get the Astros big bats out before allowing Syndergaard to attack the bottom of the order for two innings. That’s not how manager Rob Thomson went, instead planning to send Syndergaard to start his first World Series game since Game 3 of the 2015 World Series, when the Mets won against the Royals. he. This game has another significance similar to this one as it will feature fans who will be attending their first World Series home game in a long time. (See No. 5.)
Syndergaard is obviously a very different right now than he was before, as he is now more of a power hitter/slider than he was before Tommy John surgery. forcing him to miss most of the 2020 and ’21 seasons. This is his fourth appearance of the season and his second start; He went three innings in the NLDS-clinching Game 4 against Atlanta, giving up just one run. That’s probably the best-case scenario for Syndergaard and the Phillies in this game: Three innings, one run, then the bullpen is handed over. Thomson wouldn’t dare push him any further than that, would he? Can Syndergaard make it this far?
3) Will David Hensley get lucky?
The Astros have a DH problem. Trey Mancini and Aledmys Díaz, the two former All-Stars who DHed most of the postseason, were unproductive: They went 1-for-34. Manager Dusty Baker tried to fix that problem by switching back to Yordan Alvarez at DH in Game 2 with Díaz in left, but Alvarez’s defense looked good in the left field, especially the size of the outfield in both left fields in Houston and Philadelphia; might as well get it out there.
Is now the right time for Baker to go with Hensley? The infielder is a 26-year-old rookie who hit .345 in 16 games in the regular season but has made only two appearances this season. The first was a big one: A scoreless ninth inning in Game 1 of the ALDS against Seattle, the game in which Alvarez hit his famous homer. Hensley showed an ability to penetrate, which was more than Mancini or Díaz himself showed. The Astros need to lengthen their lineup a bit. Every World Series seems to have an unlikely hero; could it be Hensley?
4) When will Bryce Harper’s moment happen?
Entering this World Series, Harper seemed to be about to take his block from LeBron James at the time of the NBA Finals: Hall of Famer probably of all time, at his absolute peak, dominating in style we will talk. decades. It was like everything you threw at him was going to leave the park. Well, after a two-run home run in Game 1, Harper went 0-for-4 in Game 2, hitting just one hit in the series and never hitting an extra base hit. Obviously, the sample size is very small, but hey, that’s what the World Series is all about: Small samples.
The hope going into this Fall Classic is that Harper can take this team, almost single-handedly, on the right path. So far, the big Harper moment hasn’t happened, but all it takes is one big turnaround to make the Philly faithful. Which brings us to…
5) What will that people be like?
This is the first World Series game in Philadelphia since 2009. Citizens Bank Park crowd that has carried this team all season. It’s Halloween. The crowd in Philadelphia is everything you’ve come to expect and more, and they’re hot. The Astros may have to strike early and try to get rid of that crowd. Because if these idiots go, it will be noise and madness for three hours. Philadelphia fans have been waiting for this for a long time. Be careful.