Phillies who need to “ring the bell” and step up in World Series Games 6 and 7.
The Philadelphia Phillies trail the Houston Astros two games to three in the World Series. Momentum has swung to the side of Houston, which has taken great advantage of Justin Verlander’s first-career World Series win in Game 5.
The Phillies must answer when they travel back to Houston for Games 6 and 7. Here are five players or groups from the team who need to “ring the bell” and step up.
5. Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper has played a phenomenal postseason as a designated hitter. In the World Series, Harper has slashed .388/.430/.826 with one home run and a couple of RBI. Harper might have the best line out of all players in the Fall Classic. However, taking a close look at ALCS MVP Jeremy Peña will explain why he is actually the series’ best OPS hitter. Peña also just became the first rookie to win the Gold Glove at shortstop and he is not slowing down.
4. Rhys Hoskins
Hoskins is not so shabby of a player. He can hit for contact, slug for power, and score runs. However, in this series, he has struggled with only one home run compared to four in the NLCS. His fielding blunders aside, Hoskins is of the few homegrown talents within the Phillies organization who tends to hit home runs to deep left field, as evidenced by his 2022 hitting spray chart. The 29-year-old is not a versatile hitter to other sides throughout the field and has the option of becoming a free agent this offseason. Expect Hoskins to step up if he wants to stay in Philadelphia. His play hinges on it.
The Astros’ bullpen has played considerably better than the Phillies’. In the regular season, the Houston squad — featuring former Phillies closer Héctor Neris — threw an MLB-best 2.80 ERA. The very likes of Seranthony Domínguez, Zach Eflin, and José Alvarado have given the Phillies some quality outings. They must limit Kyle Tucker, José Altuve, and Peña if they stand a chance.
2. Zack Wheeler
Zack Wheeler will have enough rest to go out and pitch like there is no tomorrow in Game 6. Framber Valdez will step on the mound for Houston. This is Wheeler’s biggest career test to date. If he cannot get past a likely Valdez quality start, there is essentially no tomorrow. The Phillies are counting on Wheeler to deliver.
1. Nick Castellanos
In the offseason, Castellanos signed a five-year, $100 million deal. Even though his bat has been mostly cold throughout the regular season and postseason, Castellanos must save the day with his bat instead of his glove. His defensive stops have been superb, but to get a hot bat going with two games left may well be his last chance to prove his contract is invaluable.