World Series Preview: Philadelphia Has an Edge on Houston in 2015
The Phillies have been one of baseball’s worst teams over the past 20 years. But for most of their current playoff run, they sat at the bottom of the league. Only once since 2000, however, has the Phillies been this bad after a wild-card game.
That comes all the way back to 2008. They won that ALDS home-field advantage in the first game of the 2007-08 regular season. Then, after a huge road series at the hands of the Texas Rangers, they lost the division in four games to the second-place New York Yankees. They won the Phillies’ first World Series since 1986.
That was great. It’s even more impressive after the Phillies have had to come back from a 3-1 deficit in their series against the Astros in the National League Division Series two weeks ago. But the Astros are much tougher a team to beat than the Phillies were on their way to the World Series.
Phillies and Astros Series Preview
The Astros (43-42) have the best record in the majors, and they have shown they can compete for championships year after year.
So what makes them so hard to beat in the regular season? The pitching.
Houston has the best pitching staff in baseball. And their most effective starters have been good throughout the season. The five starters with a sub-3.00 ERA have a 3.06 ERA, while Jose Altuve’s ERA has been 3.50 through 14 games.
Houston is also very good at limiting runs. They are only giving up one home run in the 14 games they’ve won, and they have the second-best team ERA against right-handed pitchers in baseball.
Not surprisingly, their defense is also formidable. They rank third in team defensive efficiency in the majors. And they have the fourth-best team ERA against left-handed starters. The Astros have the second-best team ERA against righty relievers (3.54). If the Phillies had to face a team with a better record and a better pitching staff in