World Series Game 1 Preview: facts and storylines for Astros vs. Phillies

Mandatory Credit: Photo by AARON M SPRECHER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13508496t) World Series signage is displayed on the infield prior to a 2022 World Series Media Day in Houston, Texas, USA, 27 October 2022. The American League champion Houston Astros will face the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies in the best of seven game World Series at Minute Maid Park beginning 28 October 2022. Baseball World Series, Houston, USA – 27 Oct 2022

World Series Game 1 Preview: facts and storylines for Astros vs. Phillies

Two very different paths have the Astros and Phillies ready to square off in the Fall Classic. Philadelphia fought their way into the playoffs by earning the final Wild Card spot in the NL and have fought against the odds versus every team they’ve faced to make it here. Meanwhile, Houston cruised to the AL’s best record and has not lost a game yet in the postseason. 

Now they meet with the Commissioner’s Trophy on the line. Although the Astros are favored to win and are the better team on paper, things rarely go the way you’d expect in the playoffs, as evidenced by the Phillies being the last team standing in the National League. Here’s a look at Game 1:

Game Facts

 When: Friday, 10/28/2022, 7:03 p.m. CT

Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

TV/Streaming: FOX / FOX Sports App

Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander (18-4, 1.75 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA)

Series: Tied 0-0

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central)LocationPitching Matchup
Game 1Fri 10/28, 7:03 p.m.Minute Maid Park, HoustonVerlander vs. Nola
Game 2Sat 10/29, 7:03 p.m.Minute Maid Park, HoustonValdez vs. Wheeler^
Game 3 Mon 10/31, 7:03 p.mCitizens Bank Park, Philadelphia McCullers Jr. vs. Suarez^
Game 4Tue 11/1, 7:03 p.m.Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Javier vs. Syndergaard^
Game 5*Wed 11/2, 7:03 p.m.Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia TBD
Game 6*Fri 11/4, 7:03 p.m.Minute Maid Park, HoustonTBD
Game 7*Sat 11/5, 7:03 p.m.Minute Maid Park, HoustonTBD
* If neccessary.
^ Projected starters

Verlander on the bump

In what could be the ultimate way to cap off one of the best comeback years for a pitcher in recent memory, Justin Verlander, the likely winner of the 2022 AL Cy Young Award, will get the ball in Game 1 against the Phillies. He’s fresh off an ALCS Game 1 start against the Yankees, where he went six innings while allowing just one run, a solo home run, en route to his win.

He’ll be going against another strong lineup in the Phillies, who have power hitters up and down the batting order. The result, over 40% of their runs scored this postseason have been a result of the long ball. Verlander, who will make this start on seven days rest, will be looking to get a good, long start before passing the ball to Houston’s dominant bullpen, who will also be well-rested. As has been the case with almost every starter and in every game, the key will be finding a quick rhythm in the top of the first, getting a scoreless inning to set the tone. 

Home-field advantage

With the Dodgers, who held MLB’s best overall record, getting bounced from the postseason early, that left the Astros as the owners of a potential home-field advantage should they make it to the World Series, and here we are. While the Astros showed in the ALCS that they could do just fine on the road, another key for them is getting things done at home in Games 1 and 2 so that the Phillies are not in a position to go back to Philadelphia, where they are 5-0 this postseason, with a chance to take control of the series.

Look for Houston’s lineup to take advantage of the Crawford Boxes any way they can while hoping their arms keep the Phillies at bay. Notably, with Jose Altuve breaking his postseason slump at the end of the ALCS, it will be interesting to see if he can carry that over to this series and be the spark to start Houston’s offense. 

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