The Phillies and Astros will play Game 3 on Halloween at Citizens Bank Park.
Game 2s and the Philadelphia Phillies do not get along. Except for the Wild Card series against St. Louis, the Phillies have not shown up in the second game of any series this postseason.
That trend continued on Saturday, and it was evident from the first pitch from Phillies ace Zack Wheeler. Three straight doubles to lead off the game quickly gave the Astros a 2-0 lead after just four Wheeler pitches.
Then, a routine grounder to shortstop Edmundo Sosa would appear to end the first inning. But, a low throw that first baseman Rhys Hoskins failed to handle gifted Houston another run — increasing their lead to 3-0.
In the bottom of the second inning, we learned an interesting tidbit about Astros catcher Martin Maldonado:
Now, back to the game. Wheeler would keep the Astros off the board in the next three innings. However, that changed in the fifth. With a runner on first, Alex Bregman hit a 2-0 pitch deep to left field to extend Houston’s lead to 5-0.
The Phillies would threaten in their half of the sixth. Kyle Schwarber walked to lead off the inning and would reach second on a hard single to the left side by Hoskins. But, Philadelphia failed to capitalize. J.T. Realmuto would strike out swinging for the first out, followed by Bryce Harper grounding into a double play.
Game 2 was all about Framber Valdez. He shut the Phillies down the entire game — allowing only four hits and three walks while striking out nine over 6 1/3 innings. Wheeler, meanwhile, did not have it from the beginning. His fastball velocity appeared to be down two to three miles per hour:
Wheeler was pulled after just 69 pitches. The Phils’ ace would allow four earned runs on six hits and three walks, striking out three. The Phillies bullpen would hold the Astros scoreless the rest of the way. The trio of Andrew Bellatti, Connor Brogdon, and Brad Hand combined for one hit, no walks, and three strikeouts over three innings.
The Phillies offense would score their first run on a sacrifice fly by Jean Segura in the seventh.
In the eighth, Schwarber made things interesting by sending a ball to deep right field in what appeared to be a two-run home run at first. Kyle even made the trip around the bases. However, a crew review would prove otherwise and the Astros lead stayed intact.
Schwarber would send the very next pitch to the wall in right, but left Tucker enough room to retire him.
The Phillies would add a second run in the ninth on a fielding error, but any rally to keep the game going was not in the cards. So, no, the Phillies and Game 2 were not friends once again.
But, Monday is a new day. And we’re back to the friendly — and very loud — confines of Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies haven’t lost a game this postseason. They will play a World Series game in front of a Philadelphia crowd for the first time since 2009.
Plus, it’s Halloween — and anything can happen.