J.T. Realmuto and the Philadelphia Phillies weren’t fazed playing from behind in their World Series opener.
Time to find out how they do with a lead.
Realmuto homered in the 10th inning and the Phillies, saved by right fielder Nick Castellanos’ sliding catch, rallied past the Houston Astros 6-5 Friday night. Down 5-0 early against Astros ace Justin Verlander, Philadelphia became the first team in 20 years to overcome a five-run deficit to win a World Series game.
Zack Wheeler can put the Phillies ahead 2-0 in the Series with a win Saturday night against Houston’s Framber Valdez.
Wheeler was 12-7 with a 2.82 ERA for the Phillies this year, missing time between Aug. 20 and Sept. 21 with right forearm tendinitis. He beat San Diego with seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series and didn’t get a decision in Game 5 against the Padres while giving up two runs in six innings. He took a comebacker off the inside of his left knee during that game.
Valdez will try to shake lousy memories from last year’s World Series, when he was 0-1 with a 19.29 ERA against Atlanta, allowing four homers in 4 2/3 innings.
”Last year my emotions got the better of me during the World Series,” Valdez said through an interpreter Friday.
Here’s what else to know about the World Series on Saturday:
SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE (All times ET)
Game 2: Philadelphia at Houston, 8:03 p.m., FOX
Houston’s Kyle Tucker is off to a hot start this World Series a year after going without an RBI during a six-game Series loss to Atlanta.
He got fans jumping Friday with a leadoff homer in the second inning, then hit a three-run drive in the third.
Tucker hit .257 with 30 homers, 107 RBIs and an .808 OPS in the regular season.
”Kyle, he’s been fantastic for us all year. Should probably win a Silver Slugger. One of the best hitters in baseball. So I don’t think anybody’s surprised in our locker room,” Verlander said.
‘DISAPPOINTING AND DISHEARTENING’
There are no U.S.-born Black players in this year’s World Series – a first for the sport since 1950 – and players’ union head Tony Clark blames years of inattention by Major League Baseball.
”It is truly unfortunate that any young Black player may be watching these games tonight is not going to see someone that looks like them and as a result may make a decision against continuing to play our great game and move on to something else,” said Clark, a former Black major leaguer. ”That is disappointing and disheartening.”
Houston’s Dusty Baker is one of only two Black managers and Chicago White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams is the only Black leader of baseball operations for a major league team.
OH NO DID YOU SEE?
Grammy-nominated singer Eric Burton lost track of the lyrics during ”The Star-Spangled Banner” before Friday night’s opener.
With players and staff lined up on the field for the traditional pregame ceremony, and a giant American flag unfurled across the outfield, the Black Pumas band leader went off track on the second line.
He twice sang: ”What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last streaming” – and he sang it wrong both times. The line actually ends in ”gleaming.”
LOOK WHO’S BACK
Gary Pettis returned as third base coach for the Houston Astros in Game 1 after missing the entire AL Championship Series because of illness.
Baker said before Friday night’s game that Pettis was doing very well and had been cleared by the team doctor to return to the field. The Astros have not been specific about the nature of the illness that kept Pettis out of the ALCS.
Pettis was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in September 2020 and was away from the team until July 2021 while undergoing treatment for the blood cancer.
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