Well, would you look at that? We have baseball in our lives once again. The swift end to the Championship Series round left us out in the cold for nearly an entire week. What did MLB do in the meantime to maintain interest in the crown jewel of their sport? Nothing.
Perhaps that isn’t entirely true. The league did unveil the finalists for some of their year-end awards. But they did so seemingly at random and in the middle of the week. The creativity coming out of the league office remains at an all-time low.
Anyway, the series is finally here, so we can be thankful for that. Of course, first pitch is at 8 p.m., and World Series games are notorious for taking four hours to complete, so this remains a tough sell for the east coast contingent. But we will do whatever it takes to see Trey Mancini at the plate in a World Series game. That man deserves everything good that this world has to offer.
Beyond the presence of Mancini, it is becoming a tad boring to see the Astros this late into the postseason every single year. At the same time, it is encouraging to know that the Orioles’ current boss, Mike Elias, cut his teeth in that organization for several years. Decision-makers in Houston have changed since Elias’ time there, but the winning has been a constant. It would be neat to see that carry over to the O’s as well.
8:03 - Phillies at Astros, Game 1, FOX
Starting pitchers: Aaron Nola (PHI) vs. Justin Verlander (HOU)
One benefit of the short LCS round is that both teams were able to set up their pitching staffs, allowing for ace-on-ace action in Game 1 and a fully stocked bullpen in support.
Nola had been lights out in the playoffs prior to his last outing on October 19. Prior to that, the righty had tossed 12.2 innings without allowing an earned run. But then the Padres touched him up for six runs on seven hits, including two home runs, in a Game Two loss.
This will be Nola’s second start ever at Minute Maid Park, but the last one came only 3.5 weeks ago. On October 3, he struck nine over 6.2 scoreless frames against an Astros team that was, clearly, coasting into the postseason. Jose Altuve, Jeremy Pena, and Alex Bregman were all subbed out mid-game. Even still, a nice little boost.
Verlander is the favorite to win Cy Young in the AL, and he showed why in his start against the Yankees. The future Hall of Famer struck out 11 and allowed one run over six innings in a a win to open the ALCS. He also pitched in that series at the end of the season when the Phillies visited Houston. He tossed five hitless frames and struck out 10 that day.
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Rhys Hoskins, 1B
- J.T. Realmuto, C
- Bryce Harper, DH
- Nick Castellanos, RF
- Alec Bohm, 3B
- Bryson Stott, SS
- Jean Segura, 2B
- Brandon Marsh, CF
- Jose Altuve, 2B
- Jeremy Peña, SS
- Yordan Alvarez, LF
- Alex Bregman, 3B
- Kyle Tucker, RF
- Yuli Gurriel, 1B
- Trey Mancini, DH
- Chas McCormick, CF
- Martin Maldonado, C