Underdogs yet again, the beloved Philadelphia sports team, the Phillies, has made it to the coveted World Series. How will the team fare against the notoriously apt Houston Astros in games three, four, and five? Are residents of the Philadelphia area confident in their abilities? Who do the statistics support?
A consistent theme for the Philly baseball team has been the “underdog” trope, the underrated team that happens to win it all with some stroke of destiny, kismet, or just simply luck. Before the glory of a potential win, which the Phillies haven’t experienced since 2008 against the Tampa Bay Rays, the predictions pulsate with dreariness and overarching pessimism.
The MLB took a poll pertaining to the final winner of the World Series and the results don’t look great. The respondents answered, Astros: 58 votes, Phillies: 17 votes. Testimony from Mike Petriello said, “The Phillies are good at a lot of things, but everything they're good at -- the rotation, the lineup, the bullpen -- the Astros are just a little better at, except on defense, where the Astros are a LOT better.” With the second-largest win disparity of all time between World Series opponents, tensions for Phillies fans rise as the 106-win Astros take on the 87-win Phillies. The singular matchup with a wider gap occurred in 1906, with the 116-win Cubs and the 93-win White Sox.
The pessimistic stats don’t extinguish hope completely though. Beloved players, Realmuto, Harper, and Nola, among others are fueled by the cultish support of the team’s fans. Bryce Harper’s homer was the sixth time in MLB history that a player hit a two-out home run in the eighth inning or later to clinch a series. It was the player’s fifth home run of this postseason, the fourth-most in franchise history in a single postseason, along with his 11th extra-base hit, which is a franchise record.
Courtesy of the team’s supernatural winning streak, the Phillies have had an aura of kismet following them. Executive Reporter Mark Feinsand referenced the baseball team as a “team of destiny”, saying, “this Series will come down to which starters pitch better, and I'm going with [the Phillies]". Beat writer for the MLB, Anthony Dicomo agreed with Feinsand, voicing his opinion as, “I picked against the Phillies to make the playoffs. I picked against the Phillies to win the Wild Card Series. I picked against the Phillies to win the NLDS. I picked against the Phillies to win the NLCS. I'm not going to make the same mistake five times.”
In light of the closing of the first four games, the Phillies and Astros both had exciting victories. The initial opening of the World Series, Houston seemed to have swept Philadelphia, with a comfortable 5-0 lead, and the roles were reversed, the Phillies became one of six teams to overcome a five point trail. Framber Valdez was the star of the second game, on the other hand, where the Astros won 5-2. Down by one game, the Phillies need to pull out a win tonight to bring home the victory to Philadelphia.