By MLB Correspondent Mia Barahona
After a rapid thrilling Championship Series, the World Series is finally here! This year’s “Fall Classic” features the American League pennant winner, the Houston Astros, and the National League pennant winner, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Astros appear in their fourth World Series since 2017 while the Phillies are appearing for the first time since 2009. The previous meeting of both teams occurred in the 1980 NLCS when the Phillies won 3 games over the Astros 2 games, before Houston made the switch from National League to American League in 2013.
American League Championship Series Recap
The Houston Astros completed a four game sweep over the always heavily-favored New York Yankees. The series matchup between the Astros and Yankees marked the third time both teams have met each other in the Championship Series previously in an infamous 2017 ALCS and 2019 ALCS. This meeting marked the first postseason meeting since the reveal of the sign stealing scandal used for Houston during the 2017 season and an infamous Jose Altuve walk-off home run off of the Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman during the 2019 ALCS.
National League Championship Series recap
The Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres came into the postseason as massive underdogs with little to none expectations of competing for the National League pennant. Against all odds, the Phillies defeated the fan favorite Cardinals and defending champion Braves to advance; the Padres defeated the Mets and the profound 111-win Dodgers to advance.
The Phillies defeated the Padres 4 games to 1. Game 2 marked the first time that brothers have played against each other in a postseason game as a pitcher and batter: Phillies’ pitcher Aaron Nola against his older brother, Padres’ catcher Austin Nola.
American League Championship MVP: Jeremy Peña
Jeremy Peña came into the season as a rookie with big shoes to fill in after longtime Astros shortstop, Carlos Correa, signed a 3-year-contract worth $105.3 million this past offseason.
Peña not only helped the Astros win the American League pennant, but he ended his championship series campaign with a batting average of .353, slugging percentage of .824, and an ops percentage of 1.176. He hit a then game-tying 3-run home run off of Yankees’ starter Nestor Cortes in game 4 that led the Astros in route of a 6-5 win.
National League Championship MVP: Bryce Harper
When Bryce Harper debuted for the Washington Nationals in 2012 at the age of 19, he quickly gained a reputation of being a “five-tool” player with an arrogant attitude problem. After reaching free agency during the 2018-2019 offseason, Harper signed a then record contract of 13 years worth $330 million. In a 2019 MLB Poll, written by The Athletic, Bryce Harper was voted most overrated player gaining 62% of votes.
Harper finished his Championship Series campaign with a batting average of .400, hitting 2 home runs, 3 doubles, 5 runs batted in, and scoring 4 runs in a span of the series. With his campaign, he helped the Phillies win their first National League pennant since 2009.
Why each team will win
The Astros had one of the best bullpens and starting rotations this year. Their pitching was good during the regular season, but when it came down to postseason, they were lights out. Their pitching needs to continue their form to win the World Series.
The Phillies had no expectations to go this far in the postseason, but they went as far as making the World Series. Their success starts with their offense led by NLCS MVP Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins, and Alec Bohm to just name a few. Their offense needs to score runs at every chance they get to win the World Series.
Why each team won’t win
The Astros’ offense is a force to be reckoned with the many talents of Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, and a rising star Jeremy Peña. But what about longtime Astros second baseman Jose Altuve? Altuve is currently in the midst of a huge slump this postseason while having a batting average of .094 and an OPS of .296. The Astros need him to start performing if they want to win with their calculated offense.
It is no surprise to anyone that the Phillies have two great starting pitchers on their pitching staff with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. Starting pitching will be a determining factor if the Phillies want to win. But, the Phillies need more from their starting pitching other than the obvious 1-2 punch of Nola and Wheeler.
Steal a base, steal a taco
Since 2015 and 3 times before then, Taco Bell has created a promotion that gives fans the opportunity to win a free taco when a base is stolen during the World Series. To collect your free taco, participants must be registered with the Taco Bell Rewards program while downloading the free Taco Bell app. To download the app, please visit your app store. To sign up for the rewards and learn more information, please visit tacobell.com. Enjoy your free taco!
World Series Schedule
All games on FOX
- Game 1: Friday, October 28
- Game 2: Saturday, October 29
- Game 3: Monday, October 31
- Game 4: Tuesday, November 1
- Game 5: Wednesday, November 2*
- Game 6: Friday, November 4*
- Game 7: Saturday, November 5*
*If necessary (Best-of-7 series)
World Series Predictions
Who will win the World Series: the favored Astros or the postseason underdog Phillies?
Prediction: Astros in 6 games