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Monday, December 5, 2022

Lift-off: Astros win World Series for first time since 2017

The Houston Astros win the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies in six games

 

By PATRICK FIGUEROA — sports@theaggie.org

 

On Nov. 5, the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in game six of the World Series. This marks the Astros’ first World Series win since 2017, a title that was more so marked by a cheating scandal rather than the championship itself. However, with this championship and prolonged seasonal success since 2017, the Astros have fought to prove that their 2017 championship was not just the result of their cheating scandal. In fact, the 2022 World Series will go down as one to remember. 

 

Game one: The Phillies come back from behind to take a 1-0 series lead

The 2022 World Series started off with a comeback in which the Phillies won after being down 5-0 after three innings. The Astros’ starting pitcher Justin Verlander, who gave up five runs early on, raised his World Series’ earned run average (ERA) to 6.07, the worst ERA in World Series history among starting pitchers with at least five starts. The Phillies evened the score, however, with five runs in the fourth and fifth innings combined to tie up the game at 5-5. Scoring then ceased until Phillies’ catcher J.T. Realmuto hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the 10th inning. Phillies’ relief pitcher David Robertson secured the 6-5 victory in the bottom of the 10th inning.

 

Game two: Astros win 5-2 to tie series at 1-1 

The Astros evened the series with a 5-2 win that featured an impressive pitching performance from their starting pitcher, Framber Valdez. Valdez pitched over six innings, allowing just one run and four hits, and striking out nine batters. The Astros’ offense struck early with a three-run first inning, featuring RBIs from Astros’ shortstop Jeremy Peña and outfielder Yordan Alvarez. Astros’ third baseman Alex Bregman hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to extend the Astros’ lead to 5-0. The Phillies would not get shut out, as they scored a run in each of the seventh and ninth innings, but it was not enough to come back. 

 

Game three: Phillies win blowout 7-0 

Game three was the first game in Philadelphia, and the Phillies dominated on their home field. The Astros’ starting pitcher, Lance McCullers Jr., had a disastrous performance; giving up seven runs, including five home runs. There was speculation that McCullers was tipping pitches or inadvertently giving signals to the opposing batter and team as to his upcoming pitch plans. Regardless, the Astros’ offense could not muster a single run and were shutout 7-0. 

 

Game four: Astros achieve a no-hitter in 5-0 victory to even series

After an embarrassing pitching performance in game three, the Astros’ pitching staff tossed a combined no-hitter in game four. The no-hitter included performances from starting pitcher Christian Javier and relief pitchers Bobby Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly. The team’s offense scored five runs in the fifth inning thanks to outfielder Alvarez, third baseman Bregman, outfielder Kyle Tucker and first baseman Yuli Gurriel. With excellent pitching from the bullpen, the Astros cruised to a  5-0 victory.  

 

Game Five: Astros win 3-2, setting up the series-clinching game 

The Astros got their first series lead after winning game five 3-2. Both teams scored one run in the first inning; Astros’ shortstop Peña hit an RBI single and Phillies’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber hit a solo home run. Peña broke the tied game in the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run and the Astros added to their lead with a run in the top of the eighth inning, thanks to an RBI groundout from Alvarez. The Phillies’ second baseman Jean Segura hit an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning, thus making the score 3-2. Astros’ relief pitcher Pressly closed the game out with almost two scoreless innings, with the help of outfielder Chas McCormick making a leaping catch in the bottom of the ninth inning. 

 

Game Six: Astros win the 2022 World Series 

The Astros won game six 4-1, securing the series win. The game was scoreless for the first five innings, with impressive performances from Astros pitcher Framber Valdez and Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler. In the top of the sixth inning, Phillies’ outfielder Schwarber broke the tie with a solo home run, but the Astros responded with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, thanks to Alvarez’s three-run home run and catcher Christian Vazquez’s RBI single. The Astros’ bullpen once again shut out the Phillies’ offense, and the team cruised to victory.

 

World Series MVP: Astros’ Shortstop Jeremy Peña

The rookie shortstop Peña won the World Series MVP, the first rookie position player to ever do so. Replacing former Astros’ shortstop and 2021 Platinum Glove winner, Carlos Correa, was not going to be easy for the young player, but he managed to do so effectively. Throughout the World Series, Peña had 10 hits, one home run, three RBIs, a .423 on-base percentage (OBP) and a 1.023 on-base plus slugging (OPS).  

 

Dusty Baker 

Before winning the World Series, Astros’ manager Dusty Baker had the longest active tenure without a World Series. Not only did he break this titleless streak, but he also became the oldest manager to ever win the World Series. The future hall-of-famer was able to add a World Series win to his résumé

 

Written by: Patrick Figueroa — sports@theaggie.org