A mission impossible for the Phillies?
The World Series of Baseball kicks off on Friday, and if the Philadelphia Phillies are to win their first title since 2008, they’ll need to do four things that no one has done once in the playoffs: win a game against the Astros. of Houston.
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They seem to have saved the best for last this year, having won all seven of their post-season games. After sweeping the Seattle Mariners in the Division Series, the Western Division champions wiped out the New York Yankees in four straight games in the American League Finals.
And the representatives of the National think to sow panic in the opposing ranks, they risk becoming disillusioned. The Astros look well-equipped to weather the storm: they erased a two-run deficit late in the ninth inning in the opening game against the Mariners, they won an 18-inning game against the same opponents to close their series and came back from behind in their final meeting with the Yankees.
So, in a 6-5 win on Sunday, they scored four runs in the third inning to take a 4-3 lead, thanks in part to a homer from Jeremy Pena, the series’ MVP thanks to his two long balls and a batting average of .353.
“It’s unrealistic. You dream of all this when you are a child. Kudos to my teammates. We showed up to work every day and we were ourselves all year. We are only one step away from our ultimate goal,” Pena told MLB.com.
The Missing Element in Baker’s Resume
For his part, manager Dusty Baker has nothing more to prove in the big leagues. The former player distinguished himself on the field with two appearances in the All-Star Game, two Silver Sticks and a Golden Glove. As a head coach, he was named the most outstanding manager three times, but is missing a World Series title.
« To get there, you have to go a long way, » said the man who won the major league finals as a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981. « From training camp, a lot of things happen in the months leading up to here. It means that we have persevered and that we have remained united. We have also completed the required transactions to improve aspects of our training. These guys are a tight-knit group. »
Game 1 of the World Series is Friday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The two clubs met at the same place recently, in the last series of the regular season. The Astros have won two of three games held Oct. 3-5.