The World Series is set to begin Friday in Houston with the Astros taking on the Philadelphia Phillies. Some people look at this series as the super team vs. the super hot team, namely the Phillies. The Astros have not exactly been coasting along. Besides going 7-0 in the post season, they finished the season playing a little over .700 ball in September and October. Both teams, not just the Phillies are coming into the World Series at the top of their respective games. The Phillies are 9-2 in the post season and while their defense is still looking shaky, their hitting and pitching has been at the top of the scale. Looking at the teams from a statistic standpoint, the Astros are the clear favorite, and I would not be surprised to see them take the series. Rather than compare the teams’ position by position all the way down to the bullpens, I would rather look at how this series and the Phillies season bring back the memories of the 2019 Series. There are other oddities that might indicate that the stars on not really aligning themselves for the Astros to be able to redeem themselves.
The 2019 Series featured the Houston Astros coming off another big 107 win season and they were playing with that chip on their shoulder because of the sign stealing scandal of 2017. The players wanted to show the world that they could win a title without cheating. In my view they were lucky to have the opportunity, because I felt that MLB was far too lenient on the players and did not hand out any player suspensions. Their opponents were the Washington Nationals, who came back from a horrendous start to the season, to make the wild card and had a great post season going 8-2, defeating the L. A. Dodgers and then the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 in the League Championship Series. They too came into the World Series as a decided underdog. However, due to some spectacular hitting on the road and despite scoring only 3 runs in 3 home games, the Nationals won the Series 4 games to 3, with the surprising outcome of the visiting team winning every game. This had never happened before in World Series history. The Phillies are coming off the same kind of season. On June 1 their record was 22 wins and 29 losses. In 2019 the Nationals had a 25-33 record. The Phillies turned their season around being 6 games over 500 at the All-Star break and played the 2nd half exactly the same way to squeeze into the wild card series. The Nationals just kept getting better as the season progressed and were the home team for the winner take all wild card game in 2019. Then there is the strange fact that there have been only 2 other teams to go 7-0 in the 2 leagues series. The Colorado Rockies in 2007 and the Kansas City Royals in 2014, but both went on to lose the World Series. In fact, the Rockies were swept by the Boston Red Sox. Whether all this karma will prevent the Astros from winning the series, who knows. The final unusual occurrence is that these teams ended the season playing each other. I don’t know what that has to do with the price of oranges but just another strange fact. I will be rooting for the Phillies to take it all.