How the Phillies got here
Well, it wasn’t for their regular season performance. The Phillies went 87-75 in the regular season and just barely snuck into the playoffs via the Wild Card after landing in third place in the NL East. However, the team was a different team heading into the postseason, having found a new identity under interim manager Rob Thomson while riding Bryce Harper’s hot bat.
So far, the Phillies defeated the St Louis Cardinals in two games in their Wild Card series. They then beat the Atlanta Braves in four games in the NLDS and wiped out the San Diego Padres in five games NLCS. It’s been an impressive run, it’s just that their opponents have been slightly more successful.
The Astros vs the Phillies
So now is the time when we ask: which team deserves it more?
Well, believe it or not, the Astros, despite their recent success, have only one World Series win to their name (in 2017) in contrast to the Phillies, who have won two (in 1980 and 2008). That one World Series win was considered somewhat tainted, given that it occurred while the team had a system in place that was based around the team illegally stealing signs.
It’s partly because the Astros have won the AL pennant three times since winning that disputed title that they have emerged as a juggernaut. They won’t have many non-local fans cheering for them now.
It won’t help that the Phillies are historical underdogs (although the “lovable loser” tag is not one that fans ever embraced). Considering that the Phillies were established in 1883, well before the first World Series was played in 1903 (in comparison, the Astros were formed in 1962 as the Houston Colt. 45s). Until their first series win in 1980, the Phillies were considered a perennial failure in MLB. While, say, Mets fans probably are not going to root for their rivals, it’s easy to understand why they might be sentimental favorites.
Where to watch Game 1 of the World Series
First things first. Where exactly do you want to watch tonight’s World Series Game 1?
In the US, it’s relatively simple, you can watch live on FOX and also listen on your local ESPN Radio affiliate or, barring that, ESPNradio.com. The start time, again, is 8:03 pm EST.
In the UK, you can screen it on BT Sports starting at 1:03 BST and, online, through the BT Sports app. I’m sure there are other ways of going about it, but I am going to keep away from any ethical grey area here.
So much for making predictions. When trying to guess the fate of the various teams before this year’s MLB playoffs, this writer listed the Philadelphia Phillies as being the eleventh-ranked team out of twelve, just above the swiftly booted Tampa Bay Rays. Here’s what I wrote about their chances:
They might have the worst defense of all the remaining postseason teams and are limping into the playoffs. Plus they have a lot of uncertainty in their bullpen so everything needs to go right for Philadelphia for them to make a deep run.
Well, guess what: everything has gone perfectly right for the Phillies, they didn’t even need an opening round bye to improbably make their way to the World Series. Now, of course, they are facing their ultimate test, going against the heavily favored Houston Astros: the team that everybody was expecting to be here.
The best team in the American League made a relatively easy go-around in the postseason. The Astros haven’t lost a game and even when they’ve gotten into trouble, the outcome really hasn’t felt all that much in danger.
For tonight’s crucial Game 1, tonight we have future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander on the mound for the Astros, the Guardian’s Daniel Levitt wrote about him earlier in this season. Meanwhile, while, ace Aaron Nola will be on the mound for the Phillies. That suggests that we’ll be in for a pitcher’s duel this time around, although these playoffs have been going out of their way to defy expectations.
If you want to join in the discussion, contact us and we’ll be including your thoughts along the way. You can email us (to email@example.com) or send a Tweet (if Elon Musk hasn’t driven you off the site, you can send those to @HunterFelt) and we’ll reproduce it in these spaces.
It’s Game 1 of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies against the Houston Astros at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The game is scheduled to start at 8:03 pm EST but I suspect that the networks won’t let it start for a few minutes afterward. We will be back before then to fill out some backstory about how both of these teams made it this far.
Hunter will be here shortly. In the meantime here are our writers’ predictions for this year’s Fall Classic.