Donny Diamond is an indy league baseball legend. Stories of him are told throughout the country and his slider possesses a mythological legacy. He watches four times more baseball than your therapist would recommend and devotes much of his other time to thinking about baseball. He is back to share his frenzied World Series preview.
Ladies and germs, it’s time for the main event!
In the blue corner we have The Terrors of the 3rd Coast. The disgraced dynasty, risen from the flames of the dumpster fire of their infamous trash cans. The American League representative in the Fall Classic three outta the last five years. The Houston Astros.
In the red corner, the Bashers from The City of Brotherly Love. The postseason team with the second fewest regular season wins. The third team to ever reach the World Series with a mid-season managerial change. The most improbable of challengers: the Philadelphia Phillies.
Folks, this is the finest example of what the new playoff structure has to offer. An absolute juggernaut of a team that has been the cream of the crop in the American League for the last six seasons matched up against the team that would still have the longest playoff drought in the National League if not for the additional postseason spots instituted with the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement.
When you put it that way, it sounds like an absolute massacre waiting to happen… Or… or… maybe it will be one of the biggest World Series upsets in history. Either way, it’s gonna be entertaining and we might could make a little extra scratch while we take in the madness.
The Astros are good. Like, very good.
It’s been said for decades that offense wins in the regular season, pitching and defense win in the postseason. Speaking of things that have said before; Trey Wilson, legendary Skipper of the fictional 1988 Durham Bulls, once said, “This is a simple game. You throw the ball…”
The Astros pitching staff won the American League pitching triple crown.
Wilson continues, “You hit the ball…”
There might be one soft spot, Machete Maldonado, in the Houston lineup, and he still seems to find the Crawford Boxes in big spots and contribute productive outs when he doesn’t.
Back to Wilson, “You catch the ball.”
The one minor defensive deficiency in the Astros starting lineup is Yordan Alvarez in left field, and Minute Maid and Citizens Bank are not exactly challenging, particularly given the fact that he’ll have Chas McCormick hangin out a few feet to his left.
Skip concludes, “You got it?”
The ‘Stros do, because Dusty is one of the most effective communicators at the helm of a team. Furthermore, he instills a confidence in his players that can only be rivaled by astronaut candidates and Paul Wall. All this has resulted in the Astros riding their brooms through both the DS and CS to host the World Series. Again. All this to say that the Houston is by far the most complete team of 2022 and are a matchup nightmare for everyone.
Wait, there have been other teams to sweep their way to the final final, right? Of course there have been! The 2014 Kansas City Royals and the 2007 Colorado Rockies both swept their way through the Division and Championship Series. Both teams were met with crippling defeat in the World Series. Did either of those teams seem as dominant as this Astros squad? If you answered “yes” to one or both teams then you may need to readjust your grasp of reality, but this is still historically relevant to Dusty and the boys. Let’s find out why!
How about those Phillies?
The Phillies are an incredibly flawed team, there’s no way around it.
The top five hitters in their lineup are as dangerous as any in the league, but they’re also about as streaky as they come. The remaining four spots have generally been more bust than boom with a smattering of timely booms in this postseason.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 28, 2022
The pitching staff is similarly constructed with two thoroughbred stallions in Zach Wheeler and Aaron Nola anchoring the rotation, and two high risk/high reward arms in the ‘pen in Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado. Ranger Suarez has served as the Swiss Army Knife of the staff and has gotten some huge outs for them.
The Philly defense has been well documented as one of the most limited in baseball and yet, here they are competing for that piece of metal, as Mr. Manfred so affectionately refers to it.
At this point you may be wondering how the Phillies have emerged as the National League champs and how they could possibly topple the vaunted Astros in the World Series. Lemme tell ya, I’m right there with ya.
Digging into the numbers has done very little good for my predictions this postseason, so we’re gonna rely heavily on some surface level observations.
The Astros are The Big Bad. They are the Boogeyman. They are the Final Boss. They’re everything you don’t wanna see across the field. They have the highest quality depth on the mound, the saltiest veteran catchers you could ask for in Machete and Christian Vasquez leading the defense, and a lineup that’s more potent than the day is long.
These Phillies are the little ponies who could. They have an innate ability to pick each other up. When the defense makes an error, the pitchers make big pitches to bail them out, then the bats show up in the most crucial of moments, usually with homers. They are incredible at manufacturing momentum. It doesn’t hurt that Philadelphia has been one of the more raucous crowds of any stadium in recent memory. All cobbled together, they are the the dictionary definition of a “Team of Destiny.”
My dumb brain and the results of the previous series tell me that all these off days are beneficial to the pitchers’ stuff and hugely detrimental to the hitters’ rhythm. Considering those facts, it should be pretty obvious to pick the ‘Stros in 5 (+500), but when a team that has fumble-fucked their way into the World Series meets a bonafide bruiser there’s only one way for it to play out: the Phils win in 7 (+650). The only explanation for this outcome is that the Baseball Gods are still punishing Dusty for some reason unbeknownst to the general public. In an effort to make this latest near-victory sting that much more, they have positioned the least likely, yet still very deserving club to take home the glory. I have no reason to believe that this is how it will actually unfold aside from the fact that most of these playoff series have been wildly unpredictable. Therefore, I’m sticking with my completely irrational pick, if for no other reason than rooting for a Game 7.
While I don’t feel strongly about my prediction for the winner, I do very much like these prop bets available on the Draft Kings Sports Book:
Bregman to get a hit in every game of the series: +1300. Bregman plays with a Texas-sized chip on his shoulder. He’s gonna take it out on Philly pitchers every time they pitch around Yordan.
Tucker to get a hit in every game of the series: +1200. Sweet payout. Tucker is yet another in the long line of Astros mashers. He’s gonna go hammers in this series.
Game 1 combined homers Bregman & Peña: Over 0.5, +320. Start the layup line. Yeah, Nola dominated in Houston his final start of the regular season, but it’s hard to say he’s going 9 innings in Game 1.
Happy World Series, everybody! Here’s hoping for Game 7!