FOX Sports MLB analyst
That Philadelphia Phillies defied the odds and roared back after falling five runs down to claim a stunning victory over the favorite Houston Astros6-5, in 10 innings in Game 1 of the World Cup 2022 on Friday.
The Phillies lead 1-0 in Houston on Saturday.
Here are my keys to victory for both teams in Game 2 (8:03 p.m., FOX and the FOX Sports App):
Jordan Alvarez must show up
Houston goes as his left bat goes. Alvarez has been one of the best hitters in baseball this season, especially when the Astros win — and they win big. In the playoffs, he hits .349 with .450 OBP, .718 slugging and 1.168 OPS. But in the losses, including Friday night, Alvarez’s price stats are down dramatically across the board: 0.195 average, 0.297 OBP, 0.352 SLG, 0.649 OPS.
After opening the postseason on fire, homering in Houston’s first two games while driving in seven runs, Alvarez has won 3-for-25 with 10 strikeouts.
Framber Valdez continues Quality begins
The Astros pitcher led the American League with 26 quality starts, including a streak of 25 to set an MLB record. The previous MLB record of 24 consecutive quality starts was set in 2018 by New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom.
World Series: The Astros and Phillies’ keys to a World Series Game 2 win
Ben Verlander and Alex Curry break down the keys to Game 2 of the World Series. The Astros’ keys include big contributions from Yordan Alvarez and Framber Valdez, the Phillies’ include a workhorse start from Zack Wheeler and capitalization at the top of the strike zone.
Zack Wheeler goes deeper than Aaron Nola
Wheeler is 9-3 if his start for the Phillies lasts more than six innings this season, including the postseason and regular season. He’s 2-0 in the playoffs.
Wheeler is 8-10 if his start is six innings or less, including the postseason and regular season. He’s 1-1 in the playoffs.
Force Valdez to throw his curve into the zone
Valdez set the MLB record for most curveball puffs in a game with 16 in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. During the regular season, Valdez had the fourth-best curveball in baseball in terms of run value with an on-field touch rate of 45.5%. When Valdez sits at the top of the zone, batters have an exit speed of 96.5, the highest of any part of the strike zone for him.
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