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World Series Preview: Phillies vs. Astros

The Fall Classic is set to get underway on Friday with the Phillies opening on the road to take on the Astros in a best-of-seven series.

This year marks 75 years since the first time a World Series was televised and this year each game will be broadcast on the FOX television network.  ESPN will have the radio broadcast and that feed can be streamed by using this link.

Game 1 Friday, 8:03pm Eastern....in Houston.  RHP Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (18-4, 1.75 ERA).  In 16 road starts during the regular season this year, Nola notched a 5-9 record with a 3.00 ERA.  Nola has struck out 18 and walked three in 17 1/3 innings pitched this postseason.  Earlier this month, Nola tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings at Houston.  In 15 home starts during the regular season, Verlander sported a 10-1 record with a 1.64 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP.  Verlander has a 5.68 ERA and has not recorded a win in seven career World Series starts.  Verlander has 11 starts allowing one run or fewer in his postseason career.

Game 2 Saturday, 8:03pm Eastern....in Houston.  RHP Zack Wheeler (12-7, 2.82 ERA) vs. LHP Framber Valdez (17-6, 2.82 ERA).  Wheeler's home/road ERA splits this year during the regular season- 1.85/3.84.  Wheeler has tallied a 1.78 ERA in four starts this postseason.  Wheeler, who will be pitching on five days rest, has a 2.57 ERA this year in 11 starts when pitching on five days rest.  Valdez, a 28-year-old, led the American League in innings pitched this year with 201 1/3.  Valdez, an All-Star this year, was charged with two losses in Houston's losing effort in the World Series last year.  

Game 3 Monday, 8:03pm Eastern....in Philadelphia.  Pitching match ups have not been firmly announced, but the Phillies will likely go with Ranger Suarez in this spot with the Astros using Cristian Javier.  Suarez sported a 4.27 ERA in 13 home starts during the regular season this year.  The 25-year-old Javier has a 2.70 ERA in 13 career postseason starts.

Game 4 Tuesday, 8:03pm Eastern...in Philadelphia.

Game 5 (if necessary) Wednesday, 8:03pm Eastern....in Philadelphia.

Game 6 (if necessary) Friday Nov 3rd, 8:03pm Eastern...in Houston.

Game 7 (if necessary) Saturday Nov 4th, 8:03pm Eastern...in Houston.

The Phillies opened the season with a 22-29 record under manager Joe Girardi.  The team moved on from him on June 3rd, replacing him with bench coach Rob Thomson, who went on to lead the Phils to a 65-46 record.  

The Phillies' team batting average went from .245 under Girardi to .257 under Thomson.  The staff ERA also saw an improvement, going from 4.05 under Girardi to 3.93 under Thomson.

Houston third baseman Alex Bregman, a two-time All-Star, is a .188 hitter with five homers and 15 RBI in 20 World Series games.  Bregman has driven in seven runs in seven postseason games this year.

Slugger Yordan Alvarez is 7-for-35 (.200 avg) in seven postseason games this year.  The 25-year-old left fielder/designated hitter drove in just one run in the Astros' four-game sweep of the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

In the 2016 World Series as a member of the Cubs, Kyle Schwarber batted .412.  Schwarber, the National League's reigning home run king, blasted three home runs in the National League Championship Series against the Padres.

Phillies designated hitter Bryce Harper is batting .391 through 11 postseason games this year.  Harper posted a .923 OPS on the road during the regular season this year, compared to his .820 OPS at home.

Centerfielder Brandon Marsh is 4-for-7 (.571 avg) with a double against Cristian Javier in his career and has gone 3-for-9 (.333 avg) when facing Lance McCullers Jr.  Marsh was 0-for-13 in the NLCS.  

While the Phillies are returning to the championship round for the first time since 2009, the Astros are there for the second straight year and the fourth time in six years.  Cheers and enjoy the show.

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