Jeremy Pena Celebrates His MVP Winning Perfrormance
Jeremy Pena #3 of the Houston Astros is announced as the American League Championship Series MVP after defeating the New York Yankees in game four to advance to the World Series at Yankee Stadium on October 23, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Elsa/Getty Images Getty Images

Opposites attract in this Fall Classic match. The top-ranked Houston Astros are set to take on the sixth seed in the National League playoffs, Philadelphia Phillies.

The Astros were dominant during the regular season finishing with over 100 wins. While the struggling Phillies gained a resurgence in 2022 after promoting bench coach Rob Thomson to General Manager, after a lack luster 22-29 start to the season with Joe Girardi.

Here are 5 key factors to an Astros World Series title:

1. Shutdown Pitching

Justin Verlander led the Astros pitching staff, to a combined no-hitter throughout eight innings, in a 10-0 victory to close out the 2022 Major League Baseball regular season.

Don’t be surprised to see Lance McCullers Jr. start game three and see more of Christian Javier in a relief-role joining an already deep bullpen roster in set-up man Rafael Montero and closer Ryan Pressly.

Evenly matched in the post season Verlander, Valdez, McCullers have a combined 42 strikeouts in seven games, compared to the Phillies 41 over the stretch of eight games amongst Philidelphia’s projected starters Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Ranger Suarez.

Ranking second in ERA across the big leagues, made the difference for the Astros bullpen, resulting in more wins and better postseason positioning.

Undergoing Tommy John surgery fall of 2020 and sitting out most of the 2021 season, Velander the two-time Cy-Young award winner and nine-time All Star, is set to take the helm as the projected game one starter. Setting the tone towards adding another World Series title to an already impressive resume.

2. Altuve The Great

Starting the 2022 post season 0-25, Jose Altuve left fans wondering if they were witnessing the twilight of the five-time Silver Slugger’s career.

Altuve ended the longest hitless streak at the start of a postseason in Major League history, in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. The Venezuelan-born infielder, belted a double down the right-field line, while facing former teammate and Yankees ace Gerritt Cole, in the fifth inning.

The 5-foot-6 second baseman has been nothing short of a titan in the Astros clubhouse throughout his career. Having 23 career postseason home runs, Altuve ranks second in MLB history behind Manny Ramirez (29). Despite his struggling offensive efforts this postseason, the Astros remain undefeated. Rekindling some postseason magic from number 27, could sway the momentum in Houston's favor and fend off the flaming hot bats of the Philidelphia Phillies.

3. Ride The Wave of Momentum

The Houston Astros will make it tough for an on-fire Phillies’ squad to overcome a series deficit.

The Astros have benefited throughout the postseason with home field advantage. Houston did not wait to win the pennant at home, defeating the Mariners in Seattle and the Yankees in the Bronx.

What is possible, however, is a chance that the Stro’s become the first team to go undefeated throughout the entire postseason since the 1976 Big Red Machine, the Cincinatti Reds. No team has come close, except for the 1999 New York Yankees losing once to the Boson Red Sox in the ALCS, before later going on to sweep the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.

4. Slay The Dragon

Keeping Aaron Judge at bay helped leverage the Astros to win their fourth pennant in six years. The Amercian League home run record holder was held to one hit in 16 at bats in the ALCS. And now the Astros face a new behemoth of a challenge in NLCS MVP Bryce Harper.

Harper brought the Phillies back into the lead with a two-run home run in the eighth-inning of the NLCS Game 5 to clinch a ticket to the World Series. The former Washington Nationals golden child became the youngest position player to play in the All-Star game at age 19, and now hopes to swing the Phillies into a World Series title at age 30.

5. Rookie Jeremy Peña Plays Like A Superstar

Hitting 22 home runs and accumulating 63 RBI’s during the regular season, Rookie of the Year candidate Jeremy Peña turned it up in the playoffs, sporting a .303 average along with three homeruns, one of those HR's was a game tying three-run blast to left field, in the third-inning of ALCS Game 4.

Playing like a veteran, the 25-year-old rookie shortstop has stepped-up to fill the role of former Houston All-Star Alex Correa, who left via free agency to the Minnesota Twins after the 2021 season.

The Dominican Republic born and Providence, Rhode Island native has made a splash in the big leagues. Growing up 40 miles outside of Boston, Peña launched a HR over Fenway Park's Green Monster, in his first-at-bat at the legendary stadium.

After playing an intricate part in sweeping the Yankees, Peña became the fifth rookie to win ALCS MVP honors. That kind of performance in the World Series could catapult the Astros towards emerging as 2022 World Series champions.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.