HOUSTON — The Phillies have been waiting all World Series for their best players to play like it. Saturday night, with one swing of his mighty bat, Yordan Alvarez proved why he’s that guy for the Astros.
Alvarez destroyed a pitch from Jose Alvarado in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the struggling Phillies offense couldn’t get off the mat in the face of another stellar start by Framber Valdez, watching the Astros clinch a world championship with a 4-1 win in Game 6.
Alvarez provided all that the Astros needed, and then some. Kyle Schwarber homered to lead off the top of the sixth, the first run for either team. Given the quagmire his offense can’t escape, Rob Thomson managed like he was going to have to win this game 1-0.
But it backfired, in the time it took Alvarez to get every last molecule of a 98.9-mph that did not sink. Alvarez launched it 112.5 mph off the bat, with an estimated landing point 450 feet away into the Texas night, in the stands above the batter’s eye in center. For all that the Phillies had done to limit Alvarez, who hit 37 home runs in the regular season but had no home runs in his last 42 at-bats, one swing by the imposing Cuban decided a world title.
Thomson will go in for scrutiny for his management of the bullpen in Game 6, however academic the offense made it. He lifted starter Zack Wheeler after just 70 pitches with the middle-of-the-order lefties approaching for Alvarado to handle, as he had all series.
Wheeler was great until the sixth, having allowed just two singles on 59 pitches, striking out five. His fastball velocity, which had dipped to an average below 96 in Game 2, rose to 98 in the first inning and was hanging at 97.1 when he plunked plate crowding Martin Maldonado to lead off the sixth. A Jose Altuve forceout and Jeremy Pena’s single put runners on the corners with one out when Thomson went to get him.
Alvarado didn’t have it at the worst possible time, following the Alvarez bomb by walking Alex Bregman. Alvarado struck out Kyle Tucker but allowed Bregman to get to second on a wild pitch. Bregman would score when Christian Vazquez singled off Seranthony Dominguez, Thomson’s magic touch with the bullpen having abandoned him in the face of increasing desperation.
Not that any of it mattered with the way the Phillies bats haven’t shown up the last three games. Who would’ve thought being no-hit in Game 4 might have been the least painful of their offensive outings this week?
They finished the series with nine hits in the last three World Series games. They scored just three runs in the Series’ final 30 innings. And they posted double-digit strikeouts for the sixth straight game this series, setting the World Series record with 71 whiffs. (The previous record was 70, held by the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and the 2020 Tampa Bay Rays.)
Their five regular right-handed hitters this series, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos, Alec Bohm and Jean Segura, combined to go 19-for-115, a .165 average.
Valdez did the job of prolonging the Phillies’ misery again. While they made him work through 93 pitches, he still allowed just two hits – the Schwarber blast and a Bohm single in the sixth inning. He struck out nine and walked two.
He struck out the top five batters in the Phillies order in the third and fourth, retiring 10 straight before Schwarber’s home run. Five of Valdez’s strikeouts were looking, simply befuddling the Phillies batters with his breaking stuff.
Former Phillie Hector Neris roared through the seventh, as did Bryan Abreu in the eighth. Ryan Pressly worked around a one-out single by Realmuto in the ninth to close it out without drama, Castellanos popping out to Tucker in foul ground.
Source: Berkshire mont
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