The weather is cooling, the leaves are changing, pumpkin spice is making appearances everywhere, and the Fall Classic is here. Since catchers and pitchers first reported back in February, this is the moment that we have been building towards. The 2022 version of the World Series is a mix of the expected and surprise. The Phillies entered the playoffs as a Wild Card and the last team to make the playoffs in the National League. The potential was always there with Nola, Harper, Realmuto, and Castellanos, but they were also in the same division as the Mets and Braves. After firing Joe Girardi on June 3rd, the Phillies have gone 65-46 under new manager Rob Thomson. The surprising turnaround has already earned Thomson the promotion from interim manager to manager. Despite the teams put in front of them, Cardinals, Braves, and Padres the Phillies are the Cinderella of this year’s playoffs. That Cinderella theme continues into the World Series as they face the heavily favorited Houston Astros. The Astros are the number 1 seed in the American League and have home field advantage in this series. This will be the fourth time in the last six years that the Astros make an appearance in the Fall Classic and will be going for their 2nd ring in that same period. The 106 win Astros were managed by Dusty Baker and led by Verlander, Valdez, Altuve, Alvarez, and Bregman. America has not forgotten the Astros cheating scandal of 2017 and 2018 in which they are accused of stealing signs. That scandal still hangs over this franchise and will be brought back into the spotlight again as 2017 was the year the Astros won the series. Without any data to back it up, I am getting the sense that the country is pulling for the underdog Phillies. Regardless of who you are rooting for, rooting against, or your indifference, we will be all rooting for the “green”.
Aaron Nola OVER 5.5 Strikeouts (-110) 1.1 units to win 1 unit
Nola is a strikeout machine. He has hit this number in 7 straight games. In that span, he has still hit that number even when he as struggled. In the last series against San Diego, he gave up 6 runs in 4.2 innings, but still was able to get 6 strikeouts. A similar story last month against the Cubs. In that game, Nola went 6 innings and gave up 4 runs, but still got 8 strikeouts. Nola was 4th in Major League Baseball this season with 235 punch outs. I will give Houston credit though as they strikeout the second least in baseball this season. Regardless, I will still roll with Nola and his 10.3 K/9IP ratio.
Philadelphia Phillies to WIN the World Series (+160) 1 unit to win 1.6 units
I started to allude to this in the introduction, but the Phillies just seem like a team of destiny. They truly are the underdogs in every sense whether it be regular season wins, home field advantage, playoff experience, runs, ERA, etc. I certainly can respect the mountain of arguments and stats in favor of betting on the Astros instead. I am going to buck that trend and go with David instead of Goliath. Momentum is such a huge thing in the playoffs. We saw it last year with the Braves. Despite the Braves not being the best team, they had the momentum and carried that to a trophy. I see a similar outcome for the Fightin’ Phils. Do yourself a favor and look at the difference in ticket prices between games played in Houston and in Philadelphia for this series. A very stark difference. I say you go with the city that is buying adult lube to grease the light poles so fans won’t climb on them in celebration. One last argument I will make, is as a Cincinnati fan. I saw Dusty Baker blow it year after year. Despite numerous playoff appearances across over 20 years as a manger, Dusty has never won the big one. Fade Dusty.