The Philadelphia Phillies versus the Houston Astros in the World Series looks like a mismatch in the standings. The 19-win disparity between the two clubs is the second-largest between World Series opponents. The only matchup with a wider win-loss gap occurred in 1906.
Houston is a clear favorite to win the series, listed at -185 on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook.
But with how both of these teams are playing right now, this has the look of an extended, exciting World Series. Here is a prediction for the 118th Fall Classic.
Phillies vs. Astros: World Series pick
The last time the Astros lost a game, they were playing the Phillies. It was Oct. 3, game No. 160 of the regular season, and Philadelphia shut out the Astros in Houston, 3-0. Both teams have been red-hot since. The Phillies upset the Cardinals and the Braves in the first two playoff rounds before beating the Padres in five games in the NLCS. Meanwhile, the Astros are 7-0 this postseason; no team in MLB history has begun their playoff run with a longer winning streak. Both of these squads possess a lot of potent lumber, but you probably have to give a slight edge to the Phillies in that area right now. They have piled up 57 runs and 39 extra-base hits over 11 playoff games. The Astros have recorded 31 runs and 22 XBH in seven games.
When it comes to pitching, however, the Astros have a decided advantage. Not that Philly is totally bereft on the mound; Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are solid workhorses, and the team’s bullpen is MUCH improved compared to earlier this summer. But no team can compete with the Astros’ pitching depth. Headed by presumptive American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, Houston’s staff trailed only the Dodgers in ERA and opponents’ batting average during the regular season. Houston’s team ERA in the playoffs is 1.88, and its bullpen has been absolutely lights-out (0.82 ERA). That group will have to quell a bunch of big bats, but after shutting down the Mariners and Yankees, the Astros’ arms should be up to the task.
The Astros’ home-field advantage should count for something, as should the wide expanse in playoff experience between the two managers. Phillies manager Rob Thomson has managed 122 games in the majors. Dusty Baker has managed 91 postseason games in the majors. If you want to take a walk down narrative street, the 73-year-old Baker is the winningest manager without a World Series title; it’s time that he got his ring.
Prediction: Astros in 6 games.