PHILADELPHIA – The rain may have held off an extra day, but, in Game 3 on Tuesday night, a new character emerged in what has become a World Series between the Phillies and Astros.
This character has been waiting in the wings not only for Monday’s postponement but for the last 12 Fall Classics. It is waiting to unfurl its hood and strike fear into the hearts of the gray-clad men of the road.
That character is Citizens Bank Park, which has spent this month reminding the world that it could be a painful postseason. Think the energy and cacophony will be kicked up a notch now that the World Series is in town?
Well, that seems like a safe bet.
“We feel like it’s another thing the visiting team has to go through,” Phillies outfielder Kyle Schwarber said. “[The Philly fans] has been good throughout the postseason. “
Not only are the Phillies 21-9 all-time in the postseason at CBP (the best home record at any ballpark that has hosted at least 20 playoff games), but they are 5-0 at home in the playoffs year.
And 5-0 also just happens to be the lead the Astros built against Philly’s two aces, Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, in both Games 1 and 2. The first of those directives was dismissed, the second was confirmed. Now it’s up to Ranger Suárez to make sure the Astros don’t build one, and it’s up to Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. to pick up where the brilliant Framber Valdez left off in Game 2.
“We’re looking forward to getting the crowd,” McCullers said. “I’ve heard a lot about it. I’m a big fan of the game, and I think it’s going to be a great moment. “
When is the game and how can I watch it?
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Who are the first?
Astros: Despite Monday’s postponement, McCullers will still start Game 3, Astros manager Dusty Baker announced before the game was called. McCullers (0-0, 2.45 ERA this postseason) will make his third start of the 2022 playoffs, pitching in the clinching games in the ALDS and ALCS. He threw six scoreless innings in the Astros’ 18-inning win over Seattle in Game 3 of the ALDS and gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk over five innings in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees New. York. This will be his first start in the World Series since 2017, when he started Game 7 against the Dodgers and lasted 2 1/3 innings in Houston’s championship clincher.
Phillies: With Monday’s postponement, the Phils will turn to Ranger Suárez on regular rest for Game 3 in place of Noah Syndergaard, as originally planned. Aaron Nola will then start Game 4 on Wednesday – also on regular rest. Manager Rob Thomson noted that the revamped rotation would be consistent with Suárez starting a possible Game 7 on regular rest, if needed. As for Syndergaard, Thomson said the club will wait to see if the veteran right-hander is needed out of the bullpen for Game 3 or Game 4 before deciding whether to start Game 5. Syndergaard was used in relief for the next two games. , Kyle Gibson can get Game 5 by the head. Regardless, Zack Wheeler will remain the starter for Game 6 — and reap the benefits of an extra day of rest.
What might a starter list look like?
Astros: The Astros finally got production in Game 2 from their DH spot, only because Baker took away slugger Yordan Alvarez there. Rookie David Hensley will get his first shot at DH in Game 3 as Trey Mancini (0-for-16) and Aledmys Díaz (1-for-18) have struggled in the postseason.
Phillies: Thomson has been asked about possible changes in the postseason, but so far he has kept everything the same. If it worked in the past, he reasons, it can work again.
How will the bullpen line up behind the starter?
Astros: Consecutive days off on Sunday (scheduled) and Monday (rain) will allow the Astros to restore their bullpen for Game 3 on Tuesday. If McCullers can pitch six innings and earn a lead, the Astros will have Bryan Abreu, Héctor Neris, Rafael Montero and closer Ryan Pressly lined up for the final three innings.
Phillies: If we’ve learned anything this postseason, it’s that Thompson will be aggressive with his bullpen. So expect everyone to be available for Game 3, especially with an off day on Sunday and Monday. For most of the postseason, Thomson has used right-hander Seranthony Domínguez and left-hander José Alvarado in the eighth and ninth innings. But in Game 1 of the World Series, he used Alvarado in the fifth and Domínguez in 1 2/3 innings. Behind those two are Zach Eflin, David Robertson, Andrew Bellatti and Connor Brogdon.
Who’s hot and who’s not?
Astros: Altuve went 3-for-4 in Game 2 of the World Series and is looking for 100 hits in his postseason career. He has the fifth-most hits in Major League history in the playoffs. … Bregman is No. 2 on the World Series and hit his 15th postseason home run in Game 2, tying him with Babe Ruth and Jayson Werth for 14th all-time. … Peña’s eight extra-base hits this postseason are the fourth-most by a rookie in a single season. … Alvarez’s 18 RBIs since the start of ’21 are second only to teammate Tucker (20).
Phillies: Harper had his 11-game postseason hitting streak when he went 0-for-4 in Game 2, his first game without a hit since Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series in St. Louis. Louis on Oct. 7. Harper hit .455 (20-for-44) with six doubles, five home runs, 11 RBIs and a 1.410 OPS during the season. … Domínguez has a 0.96 ERA in seven postseason games. He struck out 18 without a walk in 9 1/3 innings. … Stott is hitting .267 (4-for-15) with two doubles and three walks in his last five games. They’re not eye-popping numbers, but he’s put together some really long at-bats. He worked a 12-pitch walk as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning in Game 2.
Anything else fans might want to know?
• In the postseason and the current 2-3-2 format, teams that split the first two games at home have gone on to win 47 of 86 times (55%). The split obviously means there is more risk in Game 3. In all best-of-seven series tied 1-1, the winner of the third game has won 68 of 98 times (69%).
• The Astros are 6-6 all-time on the road in the World Series, having won the past five Fall Classic games away from home.
• The Astros are 2-9 in their last 11 games at Citizens Bank Park, having played two series there (2014 and 2017) since moving to the AL in 2013.