Suárez tries to give Phils 3-0 lead; Astros try to even ALCS
Ranger Suárez says last year's World Series loss is on the minds of the Philadelphia Phillies.
“We want to complete what we didn’t complete last year, which was to win the World Series,” he said Wednesday about trying to give the Phillies a 3-0 NL Championship Series lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Philadelphia swept the first two games at home, winning 10-0 Tuesday night with another power display. Kyle Schwarber hit two of Philadelphia’s three solo homers off Merrill Kelly, Trea Turner also connected and J.T. Realmuto had two hits and three RBIs as Philadelphia improved to 7-1 in the playoffs, moving closer to a second straight World Series appearance. Aaron Nola tossed three-hit ball and struck out seven in six innings.
Game 3 is Thursday at Chase Field, with Suárez set to start for the Phillies against Brandon Pfaadt
Houston tries to even the AL Championship Series 2-2 when it plays at Texas on Thursday night. José Urquidy starts for the Astros and Andrew Heaney for the Rangers.
Cristian Javier held Texas to two runs and three hits over 5 2/3 innings in an 8-5 Game 3 win on Wednesday night. The Rangers lost for the first time this postseason after a 7-0 start.
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer was gone after four innings in his first outing in more than a month after recovering from a strained shoulder muscle.
The Rangers are the current betting favorites to win the World Series at +110, followed by the Phillies (+140), Astros (+750) and Diamondbacks (+800), according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Astros are 40-45 at home this year, losing three of four in the playoffs. But they have won 17 of their last 20 road games, including both at Minnesota in the AL Division Series.
“It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen because usually you want to be .500 on the road and way over .500 at home,” Baker said. “I asked the team in spring training to be the best road team. Maybe I should have asked them to be the best road and home team. They usually give me what I ask for.”
FACING THE PHILLIES
Philadelphia has hit 19 homers and is averaging 5.75 runs per game during its 7-1 postseason start. The doesn't faze Arizona pitcher Brandon Pfaadt, who starts Game 3. The 25-year-old threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 3 of the NL Division Series, helping Arizona complete a sweep the 100-win Los Angeles Dodgers and a lineup that included former MVPs Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.
“We went through Milwaukee’s lineup. We went through the Dodgers’ lineup,” Pfaadt said. “I think we can hold our own. If we show that, coming into our ballpark, limiting damage, getting the momentum on our side, I think we can come out on the strong end.”
OLD BUT NOT JUST OLD-SCHOOL FACING THE PHILLIES
Baker and Texas' Bruce Bochy are the two oldest managers in the majors and are facing off in the ALCS.
Those around the 74-year-old Baker and 68-year-old Bochy say the key to their success isn’t just experience and old-school grit, but also their willingness to adapt in baseball’s analytics age.
Houston owner Jim Crane wasn’t turned off by the fact Baker was 71 when he interviewed to manage the team after A.J. Hinch was fired in the wake of the team’s sign-stealing scandal in 2020. In fact, he believed his reputation and decades in the game were just what the Astros needed to help repair their tattered reputation.
“His experience and the experience of dealing with pressure and players and a lot of different situations — that was very appealing,” Crane said. “He’s a smart guy. Once you visited with him a couple of times, you realized how bright he was, how well he knew the game. And he embraces the analytics, but he also goes old-school. So you’ve got a good blend.”
Rangers GM Chris Young said people asked him about hiring an “old-school manager” when he brought Bochy to Texas this offseason. He pushed back on the assertion that Bochy was old-school simply because he was old.
“I feel the exact opposite,” he said. “I think that if you’re stuck in your ways, you don’t last. And these old managers who have lasted last because they evolve and they’re open-minded and they grow. I think that’s an important attribute to recognize with Boch. He’s been wonderful. I absolutely love working with him."
Should the Phillies win the World Series, save a spot at the end of the Broad Street parade route for Calum Scott.
The British singer with the pop hit about loneliness and heartbreak insists he’s coming to Philly and wearing the jersey the team sent him last season as a thank you for his part in making “ Dancing On My Own ” a staple of the postseason soundtrack at Citizens Bank Park.
Scott is as amazed as anyone the song has improbably bloomed into a playoff anthem for the Phillies, who won the National League pennant last year before losing to Houston in the World Series.
“They win the World Series, I’m there, man,” Scott said. “I think at that point, you’ll have to hold me back.”
HOW TO WATCH
TBS is broadcasting the NLCS. Fox and FS1 are carrying the ALCS.
League Championship Series: Oct. 15-24
World Series: Oct. 27-Nov. 4