The Phillies have won three straight series. Seems like a good time to travel to Houston to face a team with which they have some recent history.
Record: 14-11, Second place in American League West (0.5 games back)
The last time they met
It was the World Series. After three games, things were going well. And then things stopped going well.
According to the national media, we were supposed to be happy for Dusty Baker because he finally won the World Series after 23 years as a manager. But really?
Would feel a whole lot less weird if Dusty Baker didn't thank Bill Cosby for his well wishes, but congrats Houston none the less.— Ian Riccaboni (@IanRiccaboni) November 6, 2022
What’s the deal with the Astros?
They got off to an uneven start but have won six out of their last seven. They’ve mostly been carried by their pitching staff which has yet to feel a negative effect from the departure of Justin Verlander. The offense has been a step behind, which isn’t entirely surprising since Jose Altuve is on the IL and newcomer Jose Abreu is struggling with a .554 OPS.
Naturally, Astros fans are very happy with their marquee offseason addition getting off to a slow start.
Dating back to June 14th of last season, Astros “slugger” Jose Abreu has just 6 HR in his last 534 plate appearances…— Blake Meyer (@Buhhlockaye) April 26, 2023
I hate to admit it, but I think the “His 15 home run season was just bad luck” notion needs to go away#Ready2Reign | #FantasyBaseball
One of the most surprising early-season storylines is Jose Abreu is terrible, and it wasn't the White Sox making him terrible.— Razzball (@Razzball) April 27, 2023
Boo this man
The Astros defeated the Phillies in the World Series, so boo all of them! Even Hector Neris? Especially Hector Neris! But especially Framber Valdez. Dude was definitely using some sort of substance on the ball.
Framber Valdez is doing exactly what a majority of pitchers have been doing as 2022 went on.— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) October 30, 2022
It’s been clear. Once focus went away from sticky stuff guys went back to it.
There were some people concerned that Jose Alvarado’s unfortunate performance in game six of the World Series might have negative long-term effects. Based on his numbers so far this year, that does not appear to be the case. Now that he doesn’t walk anybody and strikes almost every batter out, there’s a good argument to be made that he’s the best reliever in baseball.
Could you imagine reading this tweet a year ago?
Jose Alvarado has 34 Ks since his last walk.— schmenkman (@tgpschmenk) April 27, 2023
That's tied for 5th most in #Phillies history (since 1901), and most ever by a reliever.@TheGoodPhight pic.twitter.com/BqORrgNV14
You have to figure that he’d welcome a chance to face down Yordan Alvarez in a key spot this series.
Need a World Series rematch just so I can get the Jose Alvarado revenge tour against Yordan Alvarez— Milpool Fillmore (@tholzerman) April 9, 2023
The Astros as an MCU villain
Thanos was the “big bad” of the first three phases of the MCU. He was hated and feared throughout the galaxy because of his immense power and often underhanded tactics. He will basically do whatever it takes to win, and if you consider that cheating, then that’s your problem. And unfortunately, in both baseball and the MCU, sometimes the bad guys win.
Apple of our eyes
Reminder that Friday night’s game will be shown exclusively on Apple TV+. In theory, it makes sense for this game to be there since it’s a World Series rematch and ostensibly the biggest game of the night. This topic merits a separate article, so for now I’ll just express skepticism that anyone will sign up for a streaming service just to watch one baseball game.
We’ll have to wait a few years to see if the Eagles’ recent draft picks pay off, but there does seem to be logic in saying, “Let’s take as many players as we can from a historically great college defense.”
The Phillies could sweep this series and it won’t be “revenge” for the World Series, because there simply is no proper revenge for losing in a championship round. That said, I would like to see the Phillies take it to the Astros this weekend. Not only because I don’t like them, but it would also be nice to see the Phillies rack up some wins against a quality opponent.