So it wasn’t to be for the Philadelphia Phillies as the Fall Classic proved one step too far and was ultimately won by the Houston Astros for the second time since 2017 as Dusty Baker’s men proved they were the best in Major League Baseball.
Having lifted the Commissioner's Trophy in 2017, twice the Houston Astros endured defeat in the fall classic by the Washington Nationals in 2019 and the Atlanta Braves in 2021, was another National League East Division side about to halt their path to a second World Series title?
The answer was no, eventually. Even if it took six games to dispense with the pesky Phillies, who shocked Baseball with their performances in the postseason, Astros’ manager Dusty Baker finally had his World Series ring as a manager, 25 years after he started in the dugout.
In the 4-1 Game Six series clinching win over the Phillies when Kyle Tucker caught the last out, Baker’s coaching and support staff jumped all over him in the dugout as he held onto the railing to avoid toppling over. At 73 years old, he became the oldest manager to win a World Series since Jack McKeon’s mark in 2003.
Speaking to MLB.com after the victory, Baker said: “Well, I thought about it a lot. I tried to not dwell on it, but tried to have faith and perseverance and knowing that with the right team and the right personnel and right everything that this is going to happen.
“Had this happened years ago, I might not be here. So maybe it wasn't supposed to happen so that I could hopefully influence a few young men’s lives and their families and a number of people in the country though showing what perseverance and character can do for you in the long run.”
Houston became the first team to win on home soil since the 2013 Boston Red Sox and it also cemented the Astros as a modern dynasty. They have reached the American League Championship series on six consecutive occasions, winning four AL pennants and two World Series titles.
Since 2017, Houston has averaged 98.4 wins per 162 games played, only the Los Angeles Dodgers have won more on average with 105.8 wins over 162 games and are regarded as their rival to a dynasty in this era, however the Astros have two World Series crowns compared to the Dodgers’ one.
Only the 21st century New York Yankees have won more playoff games over six seasons. Only five members of the 2017 World Series side are still on the roster, so the Astros know how to evolve which is worrying for the rest of baseball.
The perfect example is Jeremy Pena as the 20-year-old just won the World Series Most Valuable Player award and became just the ninth player and second rookie to win the LCS and World Series MVP awards.
Nobody predicted he would take over from Carlos Correa, one of the most gifted players in Astros’ history and would prove more than worthy.
In the postseason Pena hit four home runs and showed his defensive skills. He already won the ALCS against the Yankees and completed a fine World Series with the MVP crown.
The Philadelphia Phillies were so close to winning another World Series crown, or were they? There is no doubt that momentum was key throughout the course of the playoffs for the Phillies.
They fought their way into the playoffs, even sacking their manager Joe Girardi in June to battle to the postseason via the new wildcard system. They shocked the St Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card series, they even saw off their Divisional stablemates the Atlanta Braves in the Division series and even ended the San Diego Padres’ surprising run in the NLCS to make the World Series.
However, this appeared to be one step too far for this talented yet unexpected side, despite leading the series by two games to one following Game Three at Citizens Bank Park. The Astros were forced to win the next three games to win the World Series and they did that to clinch the fall classic.
Since Rob Thomson took over as manager on June 3rd the Phillies were 76-52 including the postseason, they improved a lot and they will be back next season to challenge for the NL East Division against the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets. In the end the Astros were just too good for the Phillies winning the World Series by four games to two. Could the Phillies return next year? Definitely.