The World Series stage is set. For baseball fans, it is the most wonderful time of the year: the weather is getting colder, and the World Series is finally here. Here is our full 2022 World Series Preview, as well as our best bets for the matchup.
During the Championship Series rounds, the storyline was an ALCS pitting the top 2 seeds and an NLCS battle between the bottom-seeded teams. It was David vs. David and Goliath vs. Goliath. Now, the top seeded Houston Astros will take on the six seed Philadelphia Phillies in a classic David vs. Goliath in the Fall Classic. Houston won 19 more regular season games and has yet to lose in the postseason. However, just four wins separate each team from baseball glory.
These teams faced each other just three times in the 2022 regular season, Houston taking two of the three games. This making sense as inter-league play has not fully expanded as it will next season. However, Houston was once an NL team and battled the Phillies in what many consider the best NLCS series ever. That series had Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, and Deacon Jones. This one will feature Justin Verlander, Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Dusty Baker.
In the first postseason rematch since, baseball fans can expect just as many fireworks on the field for this 2022 World Series.
Make Any Bet on the World Series and Get $200 Free
Philadelphia Phillies (+160) at Houston Astros (-185)
2022 World Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies
It had been a decade since Phillies fans had even seen their team play in postseason baseball. Plus, another thirteen years since winning the National League, but in 2022 they’ll compete for their third World Series title. During the regular season, Philadelphia won 87 games. They took the third wild card spot in the first year of the expanded postseason. In the Wild Card round, they headed to St. Louis for a 3-game series where they swept the Cardinals in two games. That series was dominated by starting pitchers Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Their two aces combined for 13 innings of 6 hit, no run pitching. Both pitchers have been a cornerstone of the Phillies’ success, each expected to win their respective starts in these games.
In the NLDS round against division rival Atlanta Braves, the Phillies captured Game 1 on the road and Games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia for a series win. The Game 1 win was a bullpen-style pitching game where the bottom of the lineup carried the offense. The game featured seven RBIs, all from batters 5-9 in the rotation. Wheeler took the loss in Game 2 after only allowing 3 runs with no run support. Then Games 3 and 4 were won by Nola, who again allowed no runs. The bullpen pitching was key in these two, with an offense that scored 17 runs over the two games.
The NLCS had a similar feel to the prior series, just with new opponents. In Game 1, Wheeler pitched another gem with 7 innings, allowing only 1 hit and no runs. The stellar pitching allowed just 3 hits from Harper and Schwarber to be enough against Yu Darvish to win. Game 2 showed Aaron Nola is still human, as San Diego gave him the only earned runs he has taken on this postseason with 6 earned runs in under 5 innings. This ended up being the only game the Padres would take. In the next game, a 5-inning start from Ranger Suarez and bullpen pitching would be enough to win Game 5.
For the World Series, Philadelphia will look to pitching again for the support needed to win four games. In Games 1 and 2 in Houston, the Phillies will tap Wheeler and Nola for these starts. It will be crucial for each to go at least 6 innings while holding off the good Astro hitters. After that, it will be a “figure it out as we go” type of pitching game. The Phillies have four different pitchers who have earned saves, including Suarez who also has a win as a starter. When Wheeler and Nola aren’t starting, look for many of the same names to pitch multiple games in differing roles.
For the Phillies’ hitters, leadoff-man Kyle Schwarber has hit 3 homeruns after hitting 46 this season. Further down the roster, Bryce Harper, and Rhys Hoskins each have 5 postseason homeruns to deliver 11 RBIs a piece. While other guys like Nick Castellanos and Jean Segura have been able to get on base, it will be up to Schwarber, Harper, and catcher J.T. Realmuto to come through with the big hits when the time calls, as Harper did in the NLCS clincher.
2022 World Series Preview: Houston Astros
For the Astros, the road to the World Series has been a bit different. After winning 106 games this season, Houston claimed the top spot in the American League to begin the postseason. Following a Wild Card weekend full of rest, Houston took on the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS round. In three games decided by two runs or fewer, including an 18-inning 1 run game, Houston swept the Mariners.
In Game 1, ace Justin Verlander got hit around for 6 runs in 4 innings. However, the Astros were able to overcome the early deficit thanks to Yordan Alvarez who had 5 RBIs. In Games 2 and 3 the pitching rotation carried the team to wins. The bullpen threw over 14 innings of no run baseball through the two games.
After additional rest, due to the sweep, the Astros then took on the Yankees in the ALCS. At one point in the season, New York was the favorite to win the World Series. Even after a huge skid to end the season, they still managed 99 wins. In Game 1 of that series, Verlander came back stronger with 6 innings pitched but allowing only 3 hits and one run. Games 2 and 3 were also won on the mound, holding the Yankees to two runs through those two games. In a deciding Game 4, the Astros trailed twice but ultimately capitalized on a timely New York error and 3 RBIs from rookie Jeremy Pena.
In the World Series, the Astros will look to the rotation to keep them in every game. Houston’s star second baseman Jose Altuve only has 3 hits in 32 at bats this postseason. The 2022 acquisition Trey Mancini has yet to get a hit, and Yuli Gurriel had a disappointing season but has had more production so far in October.
The Astros starting rotation had the best Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in the league this season. They also have the advantage of having a full rotation set up with Verlander, Valdez, and McCullers. Then they have Cristian Javier ready for Game 4, who pitched a Game 3 gem against the Yankees. Out of the bullpen, Houston’s also strong; the relief pitchers for the Astros had the lowest ERA in the league. For this final series of the year, they’ll also be able to use Luis Garcia and closer Ryan Pressly if needed. In the playoffs the Astros’ bullpen has allowed 14 hits, 3 runs, in 33 total innings pitched, while striking out 42 batters.
It’s been no surprise to see third baseman Alex Bregman batting .333 this postseason with 7 RBIs and two homeruns. The surprises have come from the middle of the infield, in rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena and second baseman Jose Altuve. Pena took over this season for Carlos Correa where he instantly made a name for himself. In his first postseason, the young shortstop leads the team with three homeruns. This includes the game winner in the marathon game in Seattle to move on to the ALCS.
On the other hand, Altuve, known for his clutch postseason hits, started this postseason 0-for-25. Heand has yet to hit a longball but is second all-time in postseason homeruns. In the World Series, Houston will need more production from Altuve and similar hitting from Bregman, Pena, and Yordan Alvarez. They’ll need this to have any chance of getting to the Phillies pitching, especially Wheeler and Nola. The Astros would also like to see more offense from catching duo Martin Maldonado and Christian Vazquez. The latter being the big name who they traded for at the deadline. The two catchers have combined for just 5 hits and 3 RBIs in 24 at bats.
In the end, Houston will have a lot to play for. Manager Dusty Baker has the most wins all time without a World Series ring, so he’ll be looking to correct that. Also, the team has been to six consecutive ALCS with only one controversial championship. Not to mention, fan favorites like Yuli Gurriel and Michael Brantley will likely not be back next season. Plus, Verlander could be a free agent.
2022 World Series Preview Probable Pitchers
Game 1 – Friday 8:03 PM EST
Probable Starters – Aaron Nola (PHI) vs. Justin Verlander (HOU)
Game 2 – Saturday 8:03 PM EST
Probable Starters – Zack Wheeler (PHI) vs. Framber Valdez (HOU)
Game 3 – Monday 8:03 PM EST
Probable Starters – Lance McCullers (HOU) vs. Ranger Suarez (PHI)
Game 4 – Tuesday 8:03 PM EST
Probable Starters – Cristian Javier (HOU) vs. Noah Syndergaard (PHI)
Game 5 (if necessary) – Wednesday 8:03 PM EST
Probable Starters – TBD
Game 6 (if necessary) – Friday 8:03 PM EST
Probable Starters – TBD
Game 7 (if necessary) – Saturday 8:03 PM EST
Probable Starters – TBD
2022 World Series Preview Prediction and Wicked Wagers
In the first two games in Houston, the pitching duels will lead to a pair of hard-fought games. Since winning the Wild Card games on the road, the Phillies have split the opening road games of each series. Expect a similar start to the World Series, with Verlander taking Game 1 and Nola getting the edge in Game 2. When the series shifts back to Philadelphia, the games will become more focused on offense and specific bullpen pitching matchups.
The Phillies have yet to lose at home in the postseason, but Houston is also 3-0 on the road. These three games will determine the series winner as Games 6 and 7 back in Houston will look like the start of the series. In the end, the Phillies bats will carry them through the home games and a Game 7 victory.
Game 1 Under 6.5 (+105)
Series Correct Score Phillies 4-3 (+600)
Series Over 6.5 Games (+210)
Wicked Player Props:
Kyle Schwarber Most Series Homeruns (+370)
Yordan Alvarez Over 1.5 Homeruns in Series (+160) – Only at DraftKings