The Houston Astros are champions of the World Series for 2022. The Astros defeated the visiting Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 on Saturday-evening in Game 6, bringing the series to two with four games. For Houston, Framber Valdez was almost clear until he gave Kyle Schwarber a solo homerun in the sixth inning that gave the Phillies an 1-0 lead. However, the shortage was short-lived. In the bottom of the sixth, Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez wrote a booming three-run home run off Phillies reliever José Alvarado that gave Houston a 3-1 lead that wouldn’t give up the lockdown bulps.
In addition to the exploits of Valdez and Alvarez, rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña scored a couple of basehits and was on base for Alvarez’s homer. This is the second World Series title for the Astros franchise. The other came in 2017, a season later it was revealed that the Astros had illegally stolen plates.
Now for some takeaways from the clincher in Houston.
Yordan Alvarez Dropped a Bomb on Philly’s Hope
With two on and one out, Phillies manager Rob Thomson lifted his ace Zack Wheeler in favor of power left Jose Alvarado, who emerged as one of the Phils’ go-to, high-leverage relievers. Alvarado enjoyed the pack advantage against first batter he faced, Yordan Alvarez, but as you’ll see, it didn’t matter much:
Yes, that’s a 450 foot game-changing home run to midfield. Suffice to say this is a stunner, and it’s not Alvarez’s first time this postseason:
When Alvarez stepped up to the plate in the sixth, the game was basically a 50-50 coin flip. After touching the plate after his explosion of three runs, the Astros had an 84.3 percent chance of winning the game and thus the World Series. That’s exactly what happened.
Schwarber interrupted a pitching duel and gave the Phillies hope
Game 6 starters Framber Valdez and Zack Wheeler going into sixth were matching each other ahead, and it looked, felt, and smelled like one of those games the bullpens would hand over as a goalless draw. However, Schwarber was not in a accommodating mood in the top of the sixth, as Valdez dove into the Philly lineup for the third time. With a 2-2 count, Valdez confronted Schwarber with a low-and-inner sinker, and Schwarber turned it around for the game’s first run:
That left the bat at 107.3 mph and traveled 395 feet. Schwarber’s was the first home run Valdez allowed at Minute Maid Park since July 3, and it’s only the second time a lefty has homered to him all year.
That was Schwarber’s third home run of this World Series and sixth home run of the 2022 postseason. Speaking of which, here’s another piece of series history:
But most important of all, it gave the Phillies their first lead since Game 3. Unfortunately for Philly, it wouldn’t last.
Houston pitching was elite in the final games of the series
Pitching depth was the Astros’ calling card in the playoffs, and they played mostly to type in October and November. That depth provided dominance over the final three games of this series, as Houston’s pitching limited the Phillies to a total of three runs in Games 4, 5 and 6 combined (two of those runs came on Schwarber solo home runs). Game 4, of course, saw a combined no-hitter for the Astros.
The Astros have joined the next batch of franchises
The win in game 6 means the Astros have become the 21st MLB franchise to win multiple World Series titles. (The Phillies also happen to have two). Of course, the Astros haven’t been around that long in MLB franchise terms. Their first season came in 1962. Among the expansion franchises — that is, those founded in that first expansion round in 1962 or later — no team has more than two titles. The Astros now join the Mets, Blue Jays, Marlins and Royals as expansion teams to win multiple titles.
Baker joined elite company and probably has a spot in the hall
The Astros captain becomes only the third Black manager in MLB history to win the World Series, as he joins Cito Gaston of the Blue Jays (1992 and 1993) and Dave Roberts of the Dodgers (2020).
Baker has been a regular winner in the dugout for a quarter of a century. He has 2,093 wins to his name, and he has led five different clubs to division titles and postseason berths. Baker probably should have been on his way to Cooperstown one day (and this just doesn’t say anything about his damn good career as a player), and now that he’s won a World Series, he’s definitely on his way to a plaque. Baker came within five outs after winning a World Series with the Giants in 2002. Who would have thought he’d get the job done 20 years later?