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Houston set off out of the traps against Zack Wheeler
  1. MLB

MLB: World Series game three preview

The Houston Astros travel to Philadelphia on Monday evening having levelled the series at one win apiece after a 5-2 victory in Game Two of the World Series.

No dramas

WhatWorld Series, Game Three of Seven: Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies.
WhereCitizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When20:03 EDT 31 October 2022
How to watchFOX 
OddsHouston Astros -130, Philadelphia Phillies +110

Following the exciting finale to Game One of the World Series, Game Two couldn't have been more different. Yes, there was a lead of five runs by the Astros and yes there was a comeback from the Phillies. However, Philadelphia’s assault on Houston’s score stopped at two and before extra innings.

Houston set off out of the traps against Zack Wheeler with three doubles off Jose Altuve, Jeremy Pena and Yordan Alvarez which scored two runs followed by a third after a wild throw to first base. Alex Bregman hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning. The Phillies pulled two runs back in the seventh and ninth innings, however it wasn’t enough and the Fall Classic enters Philadelphia for three games.

We didn’t get the drama of game one as Framber Valdez of the Astros was sensational on the mound for 6.1 innings, the top of the lineup did all the damage and the bullpen closed the game out.

The Phillies had their best opportunity for a big inning in the eighth off reliever Rafael Montero when Kyle Schwarber just missed a home run on two occasions. First, he hit a long foul ball that was originally ruled a home run before the umpires met and correctly called it a foul ball. Then he flew out to Kyle Tucker in front of the wall in right field.

Phillies have pitching concerns

It is a little concerning that the Phillies’ starting pitchers, Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, have been hit hard by the Astros in the opening two games. The path to the World Series has been led by their respective potency and so far that hasn’t happened.

Having given up three runs in the first, Wheeler spoke to after the game, saying: “It’s kind of everyone’s game plan against me to be really aggressive and just try and get that first pitch or hop on the fastball. I kind of expected that. But to swing at the first two pitches? It is what it is. I just need to execute a little better.”

Wheeler completed five innings but gave up five runs, four of them earned.

Altuve turn

Is Jose Altuve’s form turning for the better? The Astros will play the next three games at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia needing at least one victory to bring the series back to Houston. They have essentially lost home-field advantage, but they collected at least two positives from last night’s win. They have taken 10 runs from Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler and the other is that Jose Altuve’s form might be turning the corner.

Altube is an eight-time All-Star and three-time batting champion but he began this postseason in a 0-25 slump. However, he followed that with four hits in 12 at-bats heading into Saturday, then he broke out, hitting the first pitch he saw down the line for a double, and continued that form with two more hits.

Altuve spoke to the official Astros website, saying: “Early in the playoffs, I was swinging at everything and then getting slowly better at swinging my pitch. Yeah, I got a hit on a pitch almost above my head today. But it’s a hit, so it’s good.”

Home advantage

The Phillies have been awesome at home in the postseason, winning five games and not losing a single one. Noah Syndergaard will pitch for Philadelphia and the Astros will send Lance McCullers Jr. to pick up where Framber Valdez finished off. McCullers will be making his third start in the postseason having pitched in clinching games in the ALDS and ALCS. This will be his first start in the World Series since 2017 when he started game seven against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Syndergaard started game four of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves and while he has a 1.69 ERA he hasn’t pitched much, so this will probably be a bullpen game for the Phillies. This may work to Houston’s advantage.

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