Phillies simply lost to a better team

by Marc Narducci | Nov 8, 2022
Phillies simply lost to a better team
It was only natural to feel the collective disappointment of the Delaware Valley after the Phillies saw their World Series dream end with a 4-1 loss in Game 6 to the Houston Astros. Losing the series 4 games to 2 to the Astros is no disgrace.

The Astros, who won 106 regular season games, compared to 87 for the Phillies, were the favorite for a reason. So much was made of their stealing signs while winning the 2017 World Series, but that team was talented and so have all the teams since then. 

Houston has appeared in six straight ALCS and four World Series in the past six years.

The Astros had deep starting pitching, even without ace Justin Verlander being at his best. Lefty Framber Valdez was 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA and righthander Cristian Javier pitched six no-hit innings in his lone start, a 5-0 win in Game 4 when the Phillies were no-hit by four Houston pitchers.
Phillies righthander Aaron Nola just appeared to run out of gas, with an 8.64 ERA in his two games against Houston.

Zack Wheeler (0-2, 5.23) also wasn’t his dominant self, although he was strong in Game 6 and manager Rob Thomson’s move to pull him after 70 pitches only to see Jose Alvarado come in and serve a 3-run homer to Yordan Alvarez in the 4-1 loss, will be debated for a long time.

One of the key stats was that the Phillies struck out 71 times in the six World Series games, compared to 57 for Houston (which is still a high total).

The Phillies had three players with double-figure strikeouts – J.T. Realmuto (12), Rhys Hoskins (10) and Nick Castellanos (10).

Realmuto had a two-run double and the go-ahead home run during the Phillies 6-5 Game 1 win in 10 innings, but after that, he struggled mightily.
Hoskins, the No. 2 hitter, Realmuto (No. 3) and Castellanos (No. 5) were a combined 10 for 73 (.136) with 32 strikeouts.

While analytics people downgrade batting average, it is still a very important and telling statistic. The Phillies batted .163.

Even Bryce Harper, who carried the Phillies into the World Series, hit just .200 against the Astros (4 for 20).

While six games is a small sample, the Phillies simply had just about everybody go cold. Their leading hitter in the World Series was Alex Bohm (.286).

Compare that to Houston, which had series MVP Jeremy Pena hit .400, Yuli Gurriel bat .316 and Jose Altuve hit .308.

Houston didn’t tear the cover off the ball, but the Astros still hit .240.
There will be plenty of time to analyze for next season, but what the Phillies did this year was reintroduce postseason baseball to the Delaware Valley. So many of the fans who had drifted away from the sport fell in love with baseball all over again.

The Phillies helped revitalize the sport among the fan base. Season ticket sales have already gone up for 2023.

They played with great heart and captivated the fan base. It was truly a successful season., one in which they fell two games short of a superior team.


 

photo courtesy: Phillies Twitter 


Author: Marc Narducci

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