The Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros play Game 1 of the 2022 World Series on Friday night at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The Astros are competing for their second championship in the past six years and second in franchise history, as the Phillies aim to top the MLB hopes for the first time since 2008 and the third time in franchise history.
The Astros reached the Fall Classic by defeating the Yankees in the ALCS. In all competitions, the Phillies defeated the Padres in five games in the NLCS.
In this series, the Astros come in as the heavy favorites. That’s because Houston surpassed Philly by 19 games in the standings and 157 runs in run differential during the regular season. Yes, the Phillies played the tougher schedule as measured by the opponents’ average win rate, but that’s not enough to close the gaps mentioned above. Also, the Astros come in more rested — they’ve played seven playoff games against Philly’s 12 — and they have home field advantage. That said, baseball is built to defy such expectations, and the Phillies lived up to many expectations this October.
As for how it could turn out, your four CBS Sports MLB writers and two editors are here to provide (theoretically) informed guesses about who will win the 2022 Fall Classic. Please note that accuracy is not guaranteed or even encouraged.
Staff Selection World Series 2022
RJ Anderson: Anything can happen in the course of four to seven games. I pick the team that was arguably better during the regular season, and pick them in the maximum number of games so I can plausibly deny that I’m wrong. (Plus, I think Houston is the better team.). CHOOSE: Houston in seven; World Series MVP: Kyle Tucker.
Mike Axis: I think the Astros are the better team, but if this post season has shown us anything, it’s that the better team doesn’t always win a short series. The Phillies have two studs on top of the rotation, a lineup that’s deeper and more complete than it takes credit for, and impeccable vibes. As in 2019, I predict a long, entertaining and hard-fought series ending with a NL East team celebrating a title at Minute Maid Park. CHOOSE: Phillies in seven; World Series MVP: Kyle Schwarber.
Dayn Perry: By any reasonable standard, the Astros are the better team, and they are generally much more equipped in this series. That said, the vibes gap between these two teams is almost incalculable, and that’s the most important thing at this time of year. CHOOSE: Phillies in seven; World Series MVP: Zack Wheeler.
Matt Snyder: I have little conviction about this. The Astros are much better. They have more talent and more depth. The Phillies also have a special run and I can’t shake the feeling that seven wins in a row on the side of the Astros means a cold streak is on the way. On the other hand, for much of the season I said the Phillies are the most variably good team we’ve seen in a while; they can win the World Series or lose 12 in a row and miss the playoffs. There is a higher chance of a cold streak on the Philly side. I’m going to MVP with Jose Altuve. He started the playoffs 0 to 25 and he’s better than this. A hot series of games lurks around the corner. CHOOSE: Astros in six; World Series MVP: Jose Altuve.
Stephen Pianovich: At the start of these playoffs, I picked the Phillies to win the World Series. In the 20 days since, the Phillies have gone 9-2, eliminating two division winners and another upset darling. Bryce Harper had the swing of his life. Rhys Hoskins has an enchanting new bat flip seemingly every game. Kyle Schwarber hit a ball 488 feet. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler set up zero after zero. Three of my colleagues pick the Phillies based on vibes. Sure, the Astros are the more rounded team on paper, but you don’t have to be Jose Altuve in 2017 to know what’s coming for my prediction. CHOOSE: Phillies in five; World Series MVP: Rhys Hoskins.
Kate Veldman: The Astros are better than the Phillies in almost every measurable way and yet I have no doubt that the Phillies are going to win the World Series. The vibes are just too good. Bryce Harper is going to hit a 150 foot bomb in Game 4 and the Phanatic and Miles Teller will recreate a scene from “Top Gun” and the city will burn and Rob Manfred’s piece of metal will rise from the ashes. Men will cry and women will tell stories to their grandchildren and the streets will be doused with beer and there will be joy in the world one night. CHOOSE: Phillies in six; World Series MVP: Bryce Harper.