2022 World Series: Ben Verlander’s takeaways from Astros’ Game 2 win

HOUSTON — The Astros had been on a revenge tour Saturday, taking no prisoners and besting the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-2, in Game 2 of the 2022 World Series in entrance of a sold-out crowd in Houston.

A 3-run opening body coupled with Framber Valdez‘s 9 strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings proved an excessive amount of for the Phillies to beat. Philly ace Zack Wheeler gave up 5 runs — and 4 extra-base hits — whereas solely putting out three in 5 innings.

The Series is even at 1-1 forward of Monday evening’s Game 3 in Philadelphia.

Astros bounce again towards the Phillies

Astros bounce back against the Phillies

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry recap Game 2 between Houston and Philadelphia.

Let’s get to a couple takeaways from Houston’s victory:

1. We have got a collection

You by no means need to go down 2-0 in these first two video games, and Houston didn’t. Clearly these two groups are in for fairly the battle. Philadelphia is 5-0 at residence within the playoffs, and now the collection shifts there. It could be an extended shot to say they win three in a row, but when they sustain with this development, the Phillies may win the World Series at residence. It’s an unbelievable environment we’re about to expertise. The Phillies simply need to cut up on the highway, proper? They did what they wanted to do. However as soon as they win that first one, it turns to, wait a second, the Phillies have their man on the mound, their 1A. So this shortly went to, this collection may very well be 2-0 heading to Philly. The Astros got here out and made positive that didn’t occur tonight.

2. Astros aggressive early

They swung early and infrequently. 4 pitches into the sport, the Astros had three doubles and two runs scored. So it appeared like they got here out with a recreation plan towards Wheeler: we’re not going to let this get deep into the depend, we’re not making an attempt to work his pitch depend and get him out of the sport early. Their thought course of was, we’re going to attempt to get him out of the sport early by knocking him round a bit. There’s a tactic to it. 

Jose Altuve swings early and infrequently just about on a regular basis; that’s just about his M.O. But when Altuve pops that first pitch of the sport up or will get out, the following batter has to take a pitch, proper? Each domino fell into place completely. Altuve winds up with that double. Subsequent factor you understand, the following batter Jeremy Peña is swinging first pitch. Subsequent factor you understand, the following batter Yordan Alvarez is swinging first pitch after which doubles on the second pitch. All people in entrance of one another did their job.

3. Framber Valdez dominates

He situated, and his curveball was on level. Valdez must have that curveball on level as a result of this Phillies group has a implausible offense. However they do swing so much. If you will get them swinging and lacking, you’re going to have success. If Framber’s curveball is on, it’s diving out of the zone. And guess what? Framber Valdez’s curveball was on. He punched out 9 guys, and 5 of them had been on that curveball.

4. Prime pitchers rocked

That is an attention-grabbing collection as a result of we virtually have a 1-A and 1-B on both sides of it, and of the 4 guys, three of them gave up 5 runs. These groups have two bona fide aces, you suppose that is going to be an awesome pitching efficiency throughout, and that hasn’t turned out to be the case, three of the 4 instances. That is the World Series, and as a lot as you’ll be able to apply for it and be prepared and say, I’m simply going to exit and do the identical factor, the feelings are far too completely different. It’s very troublesome. We’ve seen three of those 4 pitchers not on their A-game. We all know their stuff is nice. So why haven’t they accomplished properly thus far within the World Series? It may not be stuff. 

Within the common season and postseason, they’ve a novel means to have one thing occur within the different path and to maneuver on to the following higher and put it up to now. However after we’re within the World Series, issues are just a bit completely different. It’s not straightforward to simply transfer on as a result of when a runner will get to first base the place you may suppose, I made an awesome pitch there. I gave up a not-super-hard-hit single to left area and that eats at you just a little extra within the World Series since you’re questioning, hey, may I be out of the inning? That stuff, while you thought you had been going to be out of an inning, it’s actually exhausting to maneuver previous that, and you then let extra issues get to you. Perhaps that’s why we’re seeing these guys battle early on within the World Series. 

Ben Verlander catches up with the Astros’ Jeremy Pena

Ben Verlander catches up with the Astros' Jeremy Pena

Houston SS Jeremy Pena mentioned his recreation plan versus the Phillies in an unique postgame interview.

5. Altuve is out of his hunch

Altuve confirmed up in a giant means. He is been placing collectively higher at-bats lately, and tonight we received the Altuve we’ve seen all 12 months lengthy — the Altuve who hit .300 within the common season. Coming into the World Series, he had three hits within the postseason. He has 4 hits within the final two video games and three right here tonight. Unbelievable. That simply goes to indicate what Altuve can do. He’s by no means out of it, and tonight he confirmed simply that.

6. Astros stars shined

That is the primary time in World Series historical past {that a} recreation has ever been began with three consecutive extra-base hits. What makes that even crazier is that it occurred on 4 pitches. Discuss a punch to the face. That’s a giant one in case you’re Wheeler. That Astros’ lineup did nice tonight. Their superstars had been a bit quiet in Game 1, however they roared again tonight, they usually did it early. That’s the place postseason expertise comes into play, and it confirmed big-time in Game 2. 

Alex Bregman was so good tonight. That two-run residence run within the fifth inning was huge for the group. The sport was in management, if you wish to say that, however the Astros had been there Friday evening and issues received away from them shortly. That Bregman residence run type of put just a little little bit of an exclamation on it. For this reason he was my prediction for MVP. Bregman steps up within the greatest moments frequently. It’s so spectacular to look at him. He is accomplished it 12 months in and 12 months out, he has stepped up when it issues essentially the most. He was dominant in spherical one, he was dominant in spherical two, and now he is beginning to present within the World Series, the largest stage, simply how dominant he’s.    

7. Astros followers confirmed out

Baseball followers confirmed out tonight, they usually have been displaying out this whole collection. In Game 1, it was essentially the most in-stadium merchandise gross sales within the historical past of the World Series. That was topped in Game 2, and big kudos exit to each the Astros and the Phillies followers. This stadium was rocking tonight.

Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Previous Dominion College earlier than he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round decide of the Tigers in 2013. He spent 5 years within the Tigers group. Comply with him on Twitter at @BenVerlander.

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