After splitting a pair of riveting games in Houston, the Philadelphia Phillies return home to Citizens Bank Park to host the Houston Astros tonight, continuing the 2022 World Series with Game 3. One can only hope we get a replica of Game 1, the see-saw tussle that saw a 5-run Astro lead created and dusted, with Philadelphia the surging victors.
(Game 2 wasn’t bad, per se, it was just no Game 1. Give me all the drama you can, World Series!)
Tonight’s starters will be Noah Syndergaard for Philadelphia opposite Lance McCullers, Jr. of Houston, a pair of hurlers still looking to regain their finest forms after arm injuries altered the course of their respective careers.
McCullers, Jr., despite only 8 starts in 2022, at least had the kind of limited production that suggests he’s closer to normal. After a 7th place finish in Cy Young voting in 2021, he pitched to a nearly identical FIP this year (3.49) as he did a season ago (3.52), and his ERA shows he was even luckier this time around. Obviously, Dusty Baker will be banking on that in tonight’s outing, too.
Syndergaard, meanwhile, finally returned in near-full capacity on the workload side of things in 2022, even though his once-elite velocity was down significantly. After plying his trade with the Los Angeles Angels for much of the year, he joined the Phillies at the trade deadline only to bounce between long relief and the back-end of their rotation for the remainder of the season. He’s been forced to lean more on precision than power, for once, and with free agency looming for him at season’s end, tonight gives him one more shot to show on the biggest of stages that he can be a rotation anchor for someone, somewhere going forward.
All that and a Game 3 victory and 2-1 series lead is on the line, after all.
First pitch is set for 8:03 PM ET on FOX, meaning ghoul Stephen Miller and his obscene political ads will once again bombard you every half-inning for four hours while you tune in. Rob Manfred cares not.