It’s been a strange postseason so far, and thankfully tomorrow the two “best” teams from the National and American Leagues will face off for the 2022 World Series. For the first time since 1950, the World Series will be played without a U.S.-born Black Player. The Associated Press has the story.
As Nationals fans sit and watch once again a division rival, what does this mean for the Nationals? I also give you a preview of the 2022 World Series.
Despite injuries to Byrce Harper, Jean Segura, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin, the Philidelphia Phillies got hot at the right time. The team went 41-19 from June 1 to Aug. 10, vaulting them into second place in the Wild Card race. They hung on despite going 8-13 to close out the regular season, then swept the Cards in the Wild Card Series, toppled the Braves in four games in the NLDS, and won three in a row to beat the Padres, 4-1, in the NLCS. Now they face a very powerful Houston Astros which has yet to lose in the postseason.
Thanks to Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel the Houston Astros are in the World Series for the fourth time in the past six years. The new trio led the Houston Astros to an AL-best 106-56 record during the regular season and a perfect postseason. The Astros however, have lost their two previous trips to the Fall Classic against teams from the NL East (Atlanta Braves in 2021 and Washington Nationals in 2019).
Looking for his first World Series win as a Manager will be Former Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker is in pursuit of his first World Series win as a manager. Baker has managed 11 trips to the postseason and two previous trips to the World Series.
Game 1 Starting Pitching Matchup
RHP Aaron Nola will be the Game 1 starter for the Phillies. During the postseason Nola is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA with 18 strikeouts.
The right-hander recently faced the Astros back on October 3rd where he pitched 6 2/3 perfect innings before allowing a couple of hits. Interesting enough that is where the Phillies clinched the third NL Wild Card spot.
During the Postseason, Nola has been extremely impressive where he has only allowed one unearned run over 12 2/3 innings.
RHP Justin Verlander is expected to be the Game 1 starter for the Astros. He has a 1-0 record with a 6.30 ERA during the postseason. In the ALCS against the New York Yankees, Verlander only allowed one run and three hits over six innings. According to the MLB Network, Justin Verlander will join Roger Clemens as the only two pitchers to start a World Series game in three different decades now.
Over his postseason career, Verlander is 15-11 with a 3.55 ERA over 32 starts and 33 innings. However, he hasn’t performed well when appearing in the World Series as he has yet to win a game. Verlander is 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA over seven World Series starts.
Former Washington Nationals in the World Series
Dusty Baker (Houston Astros)
As we already mentioned, former Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker is the coach for the Houston Astros. During his time with the Nationals, Baker lead the Washington Nationals from 2016 – 2017 before becoming the Astros Manager back in 2020. During his time with the Nationals, Baker lead the team to defeats in the NLDS in 2016 against the LA Dodgers and in 2017 to the Chicago Cubs.
Bryce Harper (Philidelphia Phillies)
Bryce Harper was drafted by the Washington Nationals back in 2010 as the first pick of that year’s draft. Harper made his MLB debut with the Nationals on April 28, 2012. Harper elected to go to free agency after the 2018 season and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Harper with Nationals
During his seven years with the Washington Nationals, Harper played in 927 games and hit a total of 184 home runs, 521 RBI, and had a batting average of .279, an OPS of .900. During his time with Nationals, Harper also won the 2018 All-Star home run derby at Nationals Park.
On October 13, 2017, Harper went 2–4 with an RBI in Game 5 of the NLDS and made the last out of the game by striking out against Chicago Cubs’ closer, Wade Davis, ending the Nationals’ NLCS bid. Harper was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 2012 with the Nationals.
Harper with the Philidelphia Phillies
In the three years that he has been with the Phillies, he has won the NL MVP (2021) and was named the NCLS MVP this season, leading the Phillies to their first postseason appearance in 11 years.
During the regular season, Harper batted .286/.364/.514 over 370 at bats scoring 63, hitting 18 home runs, 65 RBIs, and having nine intentional walks. Harper played 90 games at DH and eight games in right field during the 2022 season.
During this year’s postseason, Harper is hitting .419/.444/.907 in 46 plate appearances this postseason. His 1.351 OPS is the highest of any player in this field with at least 20 trips to the plate.
Kyle Schwarber (Philidelphia Phillies)
In his brief time with the Washington Nationals, Kyle Schwarber made an impact on the team before getting traded to the Boston Red Sox at the 2021 trade deadline. Schwarber signed a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals during the 2021 offseason.
During his time with the Nationals, Schwarber went on an unbelievable home run streak that was extremely fun to watch. During the month of June, Schwarber hit 16 home runs over an 18-game span. Additionally, Schwarber had 5 multi-homerun games during the stretch between June 12 to 29 including a three-home run game against the New York Mets on June 20, 2022.
In his only 72 games with the Nationals, he hit a total of 25 home runs, and 53 RBI, and had a batting average of .253 and an OPS of .910. Schwarber got hurt at the beginning of the month of July which corresponded with the team taking a nose dive and entering into a “re-tool.”
The World Series from a Washington Nationals Perspective
All eyes for Washington Nationals fans will be focused on Bryce Harper to see if he can win his first World Series after watching the Nationals win in 2019 a year after he left the team for Philidelphia. Can Harper add a ring to his growing list of achievements in the majors or will he have to wait another year to try to get that ring?
Additionally, This will be the second year in a row that a divisional rival will be playing in the World Series with the Atlanta Braves playing in last year’s World Series. The Phillies, Braves, and Mets are going to be contenders for years to come so the Nationals are going to really make serious moves to counter the three powerhouse teams in the NL East. Simply drafting top-tier talent in the draft and hoping that the minor league system will produce some great players, the Nationals need to sign that big free agent that will bring the team back from the depths of the NL East.
It’s a really tall task for the front office of the Nationals. A big question that needs to be answered: Who will that player or even players be?
Related Article: Perspective: Time to Step Up Washington Nationals; Act Like An MLB Powerhouse
What are the game details for the 2022 World Series?
Philidelphia Phillies vs. Houston Astros
RHP Aaron Nola (Postseason 2-1; 3.12 ERA) vs.
Friday, October 28, 2022 | 8:03 p.m. ET
Minute Maid Field, Houston TX