Houston nabs World Series title and ends Phillies “Red October” dreams
The MLB season is officially over, and the Houston Astros came away from the Fall Classic as victors.
The upstart Philadelphia Phillies had enjoyed a magical run, dubbed by their fans as “Red October.” But they couldn’t pull it together when it mattered most.
The Astros are inevitable. That is what ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted out a few weeks back as Houston rolled through the entire AL playoffs. Dominant pitching from their bullpen and the best hitting core in baseball allowed them to go undefeated on their way to the World Series, where they met the Phillies.
The Phillies were never supposed to win a single playoff game, much less work their way into the World Series. Back in April and May, this team looked like its usual self, which is to say, pretty dang bad. Then, Rob Thompson, or “Topper,” took over for the team after former manager Joe Girardi started the season 22-29. Topper and the Phil’s went on an eight-game win streak.
The rest of the season was just as up and down as the team itself, with the team’s defense and bullpen becoming the brunt of jokes. With two games left in the regular season, however, the Phillies secured their spot in the playoffs, where they would face the St. Louis Cardinals.
No one expected them to come out of the series as the victor. Even Phillies fans like myself were happy we made it to the postseason for the first time since 2011. Then they won. Then they played their intra-divisional rivals, the Atlanta Braves, and they won. Then they played the Dodger-slaying San Diego Padres in the NL Championship. And they won.
With some sort of dark magic, the Phillies won their way into the World Series. Clearly, that series didn’t go their way, with the Astros winning it all in six games. However, this team won the hearts of Philly fans everywhere and had a run that was something to behold.
Let’s shift gears to talk about the Terminator of the MLB: the Houston Astros. The Phillies’ run was based on their lack of expectations and their underdog status. The Astros couldn’t have been more different. The Houston Astros went an astonishing 106-56 to claim the one seed in the AL and the second-best record in baseball (the Dodgers won 111 games). Their starters were either flamethrowers or genuine wizards, and the fielders backing them up were the best there is. It helps that the Astros brought in rookie Jeremy Pena, who not only won the Gold Glove at shortstop (the first rookie to ever do so), but also smashed a two-run home run in the Phillies home stadium. That homer, paired with his single, gave Pena all 3 RBIs from Game 5 of the World Series, which all but sealed the deal for the Astros. Oh, and he won World Series MVP as a rookie.
So, the Astros were the best team in baseball, and they played as such. In six games, they sucked the life out of the best sports moment the city of Philadelphia has seen since Nick Foles won the Super Bowl. But Philly can come away from this October feeling good, and the Astros finally got the monkey off their backs that was the sign-stealing scandal. Oh, and on top of that, their skipper Dusty Baker, 73, got his first ring as a manager.
“I didn’t know the time was gonna come when I couldn’t get a job, but I knew if I got a job, (a championship) was gonna come,” Baker told FOX Sports regarding the win. “You keep journeying, you keep hustling and you keep staying with it.”
The Astros showed the world how they got to 106 wins this year, adding on another six to give them another ring.
Palsgrove is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter