We are now just hours away so today we will preview the biggest matchups to watch in the 2022 World Series. The Philadelphia Phillies have made an improbable run in October by handily taking care of every opponent that stood in their way. Will they be able to do the same against the powerhouse Houston Astros who have yet to lose a game during this postseason?
Biggest Matchups To Watch In The 2022 World Series
Harper vs. Verlander
The reigning, defending, undisputed National League MVP has been on an otherworldly tear throughout this postseason. Bryce Harper, the NLCS MVP, has hit .419/.444/.907 with five home runs and six doubles in leading the Phillies to their first World Series appearance since 2009. His biggest test is yet to come, however as he will be facing this year’s American League Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander.
So far in their Hall of Fame careers, they have only faced each other five times. The results have been slanted in Harper’s favor as he has gone 2-5 with two strikeouts. Verlander is still one of the best pitchers in the game today, and Harper is one of the best hitters in the game today and has been the best hitter in this postseason. This is clearly one of the biggest matchups to watch in the 2022 World Series.
Yordan vs. Wheeler
Despite being two years removed from George Springer departing in free agency, the Astros outfield offense has not missed a beat. With Kyle Tucker coming into his own and the emergence of Yordan Alvarez as a top-5 hitter in baseball, their outfield offense is as stacked as ever. Enter Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler has found his groove since coming to Philadelphia in free agency prior to the 2020 season, and in this, his first postseason, he has been even better. Through four starts so far, he has pitched 25.1 innings with a 1.78 ERA and 25 strikeouts. His fastball velocity has been up tremendously compared to his career average and it has been a huge reason for his success thus far.
Yordan is coming off of a regular season that saw him hit .306/.406/.613 with 37 home runs and a 187 OPS+. This postseason, however, he has struggled through their first seven games as he has only hit .241/.371/.517 with two home runs across 35 plate appearances. It will be interesting to see if Yordan can catch up to the upper-90’s fastball, or if Wheeler can punch Yordan out with his power slider and that is why this is one of the matchups to watch in the 2022 World Series.
Schwarber vs. Astros Righty-Heavy Bullpen
Kyle Schwarber is coming off one of the best regular seasons of his career after leading the National League in home runs with 46. The majority of Schwarber’s success, considering he is the quintessential lefty power hitter, has come against right-handed pitchers. Against righties this year, he has hit .232/.334/.566 with 36 home runs. Against lefties, he hit .193/.301/.386 with only 10 home runs. The Astros do not carry a single left-handed reliever in their bullpen.
The Astros used a lefty reliever less than any other MLB team this year as they did it in only 194 plate appearances. Despite that, their righty-heavy bullpen is still quite possibly the best in baseball. They held lefty hitters to a paltry .209/.289/.306 line this season even with the lefty hitters having the platoon advantage. Schwarber isn’t just any old lefty hitter, however, and this matchup will generally come late in games, which makes it one of the matchups to watch in the 2022 World Series.