We preview Game one of the World Series between the American League champions, Houston Astros, and the National League winners, the Philadelphia Phillies.
|What||World Series Game One of Seven, Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies|
|Where||Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas|
|When||01:03 BST Saturday 29th October|
|How to watch||Fox|
|Odds||Philadelphia Phillies +145, Houston Astros -165|
The Houston Astros have been the American League favourites and number one seed for a while, taking over as the New York Yankees slipped up. They have had a perfect postseason, winning every game they have played and advancing to their fourth fall classic in six seasons.
Houston manager Dusty Baker has won most things in the game, except a World Series ring as a manager (Baker won one as a player with the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers). The 73-year-old has guided a side to the fall classic on two other occasions, he was manager of the San Francisco Giants in 2002 as they lost to the Angels and the Astros last season as they fell short to the Atlanta Braves. Baker has a 5-8 record in the World Series games. Is the story being written for Baker to gain his first World Series after managing the Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals prior to the Astros?
Speaking to MLB.com, Baker said: “If I win one, I want to win two. So you have to win one first, and then we’ll work on number two at that time.”
When the Phillies signed Bryce Harper to a multi-year, million plus dollar contract, Harper in his introductory press conference said that he wanted to win a World Series ring with Philadelphia. He’d been an MVP with the Washington Nationals prior to that, as soon as he left he watched his former team lift the Commissioner's Trophy in 2019 (the same season after he departed), he’s won another Most Valuable Player award and this season, he has spent much of it on the injured list. He’s red-hot now though, bludgeoning a mighty home run in the NLCS against the San Diego Padres, is it Harper’s time now?
Speaking to MLB.com, Harper said: “We’re excited to be here, and grateful for the opportunity. Excited to be able to go out there and play a great game.”
The Houston Astros won 19 more games than the Philadelphia Phillies over the course of the regular season, however that goes out of the window when game one arrives.
Despite the Phillies squeezing into the new playoff format via the Wild Card position and sacking their manager during the close season and nearly blowing a position to get to the playoffs in the end, they are here and loving it. Philadelphia easily defeated the St Louis Cardinals 2-0 in the best-of- three Wild Card series at Busch Stadium. The Phillies defeated the Braves in the NL Division Series 3-1, before dispatching the Padres 4-1.
The Astros are yet to taste defeat in the postseason, in fact they have only lost one game in October and that was to the Phillies in Game 160 of the regular season, the Astros still won the overall series 2-1. Houston swept the Seattle Mariners easily in the American League Division Series 3-0 and then brushed aside the New York Yankees in the AL Championship series 4-0. They will host the first two games at a raucous Minute Maid Park, hoping to get off to a perfect start before the next challenge which will see the Astros travel to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for game three.
For game one of the World Series, both sides unleash their big guns on the mound. For the Phillies, they have Aaron Nola, the right-hander has a 2-1 record in the postseason with a 3.12 ERA. Nola pitched 6 and two-thirds of an inning against the Astros on 3rd October at Minute Maid Park, allowing a couple of hits where Philadelphia clinched the third NL Wild Card spot in a 3-0 win. Nola had a bad start against the Padres in the NLCS where he gave up six runs in just under five innings.
The Astros have veteran star Justin Verlander pitching game one, the 39-year-old has a 1-0 record with a 6.30 ERA in the postseason. Verlander gave up six runs to the Mariners in game one of the Division series; he pitched much better against the Yankees in the ALCS. It’s likely that Verlander will win the AL Cy Young Award for a third time after his exceptional season.