Inclement weather postponed Game 3 from Monday to yesterday, so both teams had an extra day off to prepare for the first of three games in as many days in Philadelphia. It was the Phillies who looked the better-rested team with their offense exploding for seven runs on five homers while the pitching staff shutout the Astros en route to a 7-0 victory.
World Series Game 3
Philadelphia Phillies 7, Houston Astros 0
(PHI leads, 2-1)
The Phillies’ bats apparently took their silencing in Game 2 personally and responded by igniting for four runs through the first two innings. Kyle Schwarber led off the opening frame with a walk, and with two outs, Bryce Harper launched an absolute no-doubter to right-center to set an early tone for the game.
Alec Bohm led off the following inning with the 1,000th home run in World Series history, and two outs later Brandon Marsh contributed a solo shot of his own to make it 4-0, Phils.
Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr. was all over the place from the first pitch, missing either middle-middle with the slider or too far off the plate to be a competitive pitch. However, Dusty Baker had either dozed off, forgot about the bullpen’s existence, or has some private personal vendetta against McCullers, because he left the righty in despite the obvious struggles (and potential pitch-tipping). Things would only get worse from there.
Although the 2017 champion was able to work a scoreless third and fourth, McCullers put the final nail in his team’s coffin in his inexplicable fifth inning of work. After surrendering a one-out single to Marsh, McCullers served up back-to-back long balls to Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins to become the first pitcher in history to give up five home runs in a single World Series game. Thus his night would end after 4.1 innings with seven runs on six hits to his name.
Phillies starter Ranger Suárez was far sharper than his opposite number. He threw 11 pitches out of the bullpen in Game 1, but the rainout gave him an extra day of rest, allowing him to make a stellar start. He surrendered just three hits in five innings — two of which came in the second inning — holding the Astros scoreless while striking out four.
The quartet of Phillies relievers to pitch after Suárez followed suit, combining for four scoreless innings, allowing just four baserunners on a pair of hits and a pair of walks as the Phillies cruised to a 7-0 victory and 2-1 lead in the series.
World Series Game 4: Cristian Javier vs. Aaron Nola
Cristian Javier gets the ball for his third appearance of the postseason. His last start came a week and a half ago in ALCS Game 3 against the Yankees, when he allowed just a hit and three walks against five strikeouts in 5.1 innings. He’s never faced the Phillies in his career, but they’ll need to be on their “A”-game against this strikeout artist — Javier’s 32.6 percent strikeout rate as a starter was the third-highest mark among starters with at least 130 innings pitched in 2022. In 30 appearances (25 starts), Javier was 11-9 with a 2.54 ERA (152 ERA+), 3.16 FIP and 194 strikeouts in 148.2 innings pitched.
The rainout allowed Phillies manager Rob Thomson to call upon Aaron Nola earlier than expected. He’ll make his second start of the World Series, hoping to improve upon his performance in Game 1. The right-hander gave up five runs on six hits, including a pair of home runs in 4.1 innings of work, though his offense ultimately bailed him out scoring six unanswered to steal the series opener in Houston. Perhaps Nola can look to his final outing of the regular season — 6.2 scoreless two-hit innings with nine strikeouts against the Astros — to game plan for today’s start. In 32 starts, Nola was 11-13 with a 3.25 ERA (125 ERA+), 2.58 FIP, 235 strikeouts in 205 innings pitched and led all qualified starters with 6.3 fWAR.
The first World Series game in Philadelphia in 13 years could not have gone more according to plan. We will see if the Phillies can ride the momentum of their comprehensive victory to grab a commanding 3-1 lead in the series tonight.