World Series Game 1 — Highlights and takeaways


Game 1 of the 2022 World Series is finally here.

From the American League, the Houston Astros continue to make their case as one of baseball’s best modern dynasties. This is their fourth World Series appearance in six years, and they’ve run roughshod over the competition in the playoffs, sweeping the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees in decisive fashion. Jeremy Pena and Chas McCormick were both on fire in the AL Championship Series, combining for four home runs and OPSing over 1.000.

In the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies continue their Cinderella run. After winning only 87 games in the regular season, the Phillies have gone on a roll in the postseason, rocking a 9-2 record, including a 3-1 domination of the defending champion Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series. The team has maintained its slugging ways throughout the playoffs, with Kyle Schwarber mashing a 488-foot home run and Bryce Harper hitting a legacy-defining series winner in the NLCS.

Will Philadelphia knock off the juggernaut, or will Houston add a second championship to its repertoire? It all started Friday night in Houston. We’ll be here with all of the best highlights, analysis and takeaways.

A whole new ballgame

The Astros added lefty Will Smith — the closer for the champion Atlanta Braves a year ago — to the roster for this round. Dusty Baker had a perfect situation to use him with lefties Brandon Marsh and Kyle Schwarber leading off the fifth against a tiring Justin Verlander. Marsh hit .188 against lefties and Schwarber .193 this season.

But there was Verlander back out there and Marsh doubled, Schwarber walked and J.T. Realmuto tied the game with a two-run double. These Phillies don’t quit, that’s for sure. In our predictions file heading into the series, I warned that Baker was likely to leave a starter in too long at some point — and we just saw it happen. A lot of baseball to go here, but a 5-0 blowout has surprisingly turned into a good game. — David Schoenfield

Phillies on the board

Just like that, the Phillies get right back in this game, scoring three runs off Justin Verlander with two outs in the fourth inning. Verlander appeared to catch a break when Rhys Hoskins held up at third base on Bryce Harper’s two-out line-drive single to right field, but Nick Castellanos rescued Hoskins with a base hit to left and Alec Bohm doubled down the left-field line to score two.

Now comes the big question: How long will Dusty Baker stick with Verlander? Houston has a deep, dominant bullpen that has allowed three runs in 33 innings in the postseason. After Verlander issued a 10-pitch walk to light-hitting Bryson Stott after the three runs had scored, on top of throwing 31 pitches in the inning, Baker should consider going to the bullpen for the fifth and the 9-1-2 hitters coming up. The Astros have the bullpen arms to cover five innings. — Schoenfield

The Kyle Tucker Game

This game is out of hand early as Kyle Tucker unloads on a 3-2 sinker from Aaron Nola for a three-run home run and 5-0 lead for the Astros in the bottom of the third. John Smoltz made a great point on the broadcast that Nola didn’t seem to want to go back to his changeup since Tucker had homered off it in the second inning. So even though Nola got ahead 0-2, he stuck with fastballs and curveballs. Tucker locked in on the fastball and crushed it at 105.3 mph and 395 feet to right-center, becoming the first Astros player with a multi-homer game in the World Series. We have plenty of time left to see if Tucker can match Babe Ruth (twice), Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols and Pablo Sandoval with a three-homer World Series game. — Schoenfield

Verlander is dealing

Justin Verlander has a reputation as a big-game pitcher in the postseason — mostly based on two dominant performances against the Yankees in the 2017 ALCS. His World Series history, however, is another matter: He entered this game 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA in seven career starts. That’s the third-worst ERA among pitchers who have started at least five World Series games. Early on, however, he’s cruising: Nine up and nine down through three innings with four strikeouts, including a three-pitch strikeout of Bryce Harper when he got Harper to swing and miss at three straight fastballs at the top of the zone. — Schoenfield

Tucker opens the scoring

Kyle Tucker, the under-appreciated star in the Houston lineup, puts the first run of the World Series on the board with a home run to right field off a poorly located 1-1 changeup from Aaron Nola. That’s a bad sign for Nola. He was great in his first two postseason starts, allowing one unearned run over 12.2 innings, but served up two home runs in a Game 2 NLCS loss to the Padres, blowing an early 4-0 lead in the process. The Astros are also running his pitch count up through the first two innings, another bad sign for the Phillies, who don’t have the bullpen depth the Astros have in case Nola can’t go six or seven innings. One more piece of bad news for the Phillies: Martin Maldonado singles in a run to make it 2-0: The Astros have won 22 consecutive games when they’ve scored first, going back to the regular season. — Schoenfield

Simone Biles reps Houston

Eagles pulling for Phillies

More pregame fashion

Harper channels Mike Schmidt

Bryce Harper walked into Game 1 wearing the jersey of Philadelphia Phillies legend and Hall of Fame Mike Schmidt. It’s not the first time Harper has paid tribute to Schmidt — earlier this season, he did a photoshoot recreating Schmidt’s iconic 1987 Phillies Media guide cover.

Game 1 lineups and pitchers

Starters: Aaron Nola (11-13, 205 IP, 3.25 ERA, 235 K) vs. Justin Verlander (18-4, 175 IP, 1.75 ERA, 185 K)

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF (.218 AVG, 46 HR, .827 OPS)
2. Rhys Hoskins (R) 1B (.246 AVG, 30 HR, .794 OPS)
3. J.T. Realmuto (R) C (.276 HR, 22 HR, .820 OPS)
4. Bryce Harper (L) DH (.286 AVG, 18 HR, .877 OPS)
5. Nick Castellanos (R) RF (.263 AVG, 13 HR, .694 OPS)
6. Alec Bohm (R) 3B (.280 AVG, 13 HR, .713 OPS)
7. Bryson Stott (L) SS (.234 AVG, 10 HR, .653 OPS)
8. Jean Segura (R) 2B (.277 AVG, 10 HR, .723 OPS)
9. Brandon Marsh (R) CF (.245 AVG, 11 HR, .679 OPS)

Houston Astros

1. Jose Altuve (R) 2B (.300 AVG, 28 HR, .921 OPS)
2. Jeremy Pena (R) SS (.253 AVG, 22 HR, .715 OPS)
3. Yordan Alvarez (L) LF (.306 AVG, 37 HR, 1.019 OPS)
4. Alex Bregman (R) 3B (.259 AVG, 23 HR, .820 OPS)
5. Kyle Tucker (L) RF (.257 AVG, 30 HR, .808 OPS)
6. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B (.242 AVG, 8 HR, .647 OPS)
7. Trey Mancini (R) DH (.239 AVG, 16I’m HR, .751 OPS)
8. Chas McCormick (R) CF (.245 AVG, 14 HR, .738 OPS)
9. Martin Maldonado (R) C (.186 AVG, 15 HR, .600 OPS)

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