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Gamethread: Phillies at Astros (World Series Game 2)

After a thrilling opener, can Philadelphia capitalize on the momentum, or will battle-tested Houston even up the series?

2022 World Series Game 1: Philadelphia Phillies v. Houston Astros Logan Riely/MLB Photos via Getty Images

After an all-time great game one that saw the Philadelphia Phillies come back from down 5-0 early to score six straight and win in extras thanks to a J.T. Realmuto line drive over the right-field fence, we are back in Houston for Game 2.

(Side note: Thanks, Philly, for making sure that the Astros won’t go undefeated and at best can only tie the 2005 White Sox for best wild card-era postseason record.)

The Phillies have become a lot of fans’ team of choice for this postseason. They’re a likable team, especially when compared to the Astros, who get booed by almost everyone outside of the greater Houston area.

For the Phillies, it will be Zack Wheeler on the mound. Wheeler has been the ace of this rotation, and during the postseason he has shown it. In four playoff starts in 2022, he has gone 1-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 25 13 innings and has 25 strikeouts vs three walks.

The Astros will be sending out Framber Valdez, who has done his fair share of postseason pitching in a relatively short career. In two October starts this year, he is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 12 23 innings. He has struck out 15 and walked three.

Both teams hope that their starters can go deep, as on Friday night Aaron Nola only went 4 13 innings and Justin Verlander went five, with both giving up five runs on six hits with five strikeouts. If tonight’s game is anything like last night’s, expect some fireworks and some worn-out relievers as the series will take a travel day Sunday and start back up on Monday in Philadelphia.

Something to look out for is to see if the Phillies can get to Valdez early. Perennial All Star and MVP candidate Bryce Harper doesn’t exactly love lefties, as he is only batting .256 against them this season, versus .300 on the dot against righties. Kyle Schwarber is even worse against southpaws, batting below the Mendoza line, at .193. The team might have to look for Rhys Hoskins, who has batted .286 against lefthanders.

Astros, meanwhile, would love to see more from José Altuve, who is in the middle of a miserable 2022 postseason (four hits, .108 average). Then there’s Yordan Alvarez, who started off hot against the Seattle Mariners with two soul-crushing home runs, but has all but disappeared since then. Kyle Tucker and rookie sensation Jeremy Pena have been great, but the Astros need their two biggest stars to show up when the lights are brightest.

Lineups are below:

Philadelphia Phillies

1) Kyle Schwarber
2) Rhys Hoskins
3) J.T. Realmuto
4) Bryce Harper
5) Nick Castellanos
6) Alec Bohm
7) Jean Segura
8) Matt Vierling
9) Edmundo Sosa

Houston Astros

1) Jose Altuve
2) Jeremy Pena
3) Yordan Alvarez
4) Alex Bregman
5) Kyle Tucker
6) Yuli Gurriel
7) Aledmys Diaz
8) Chas McCormick
9) Martin Maldonado

As always, the planned start time is 7:03 p.m. CT and you can catch all of the action on FOX.