It has been a wild ride for the 2022 Phillies.
They have been labeled as too offensively focused, a “pathetic” organization with no intention of winning, and simply as uncompetitive. Former all-star and current SNY analyst, Keith Hernandez, even ridiculed the Phillies’ defense on live television.
But now, their is only one fair label for the Phillies: National League Champions. The biggest challenge, though, is the one ahead—the Houston Astros and the 2022 World Series.
Friday afternoon, the Phillies announced the 26 players they’re carrying for the World Series. Their roster consists of 13 pitchers, eight infielders, and five outfielders. Though everyone already knows who the starters are, the rosters are more important than many think. In series with good competition, a lot comes down to the defensive substitutions and the middle relievers, even though they’re are often overlooked. This holds especially true for a team like the Phillies, which has made countless late-innings defensive swaps throughout the playoffs.
Anyhow, let’s take a look at our rosters:
Nine Relief Pitchers: Jose Alvarado (L), Andrew Bellatti (R), Connor Brogdon (R), Seranthony Dominguez (R), Zach Eflin (R), Kyle Gibson (R), Brad Hand (L), Nick Nelson (R), David Robertson (R)
The bullpen was the biggest unknown before these roster were released. Luckily, the Phillies had plenty of viable options, but the question was about which they would choose.
Bailey Falter’s absence from this list prompted the most questions, which is quiet understandable. He is stretched out enough to serve multiple innings and had a strong regular season in 2022. His performance, or lack thereof, in game two of the NLCS could have contributed to him being cut from the roster, but one would think his winning history in the regular season would have earned him a spot as a long reliever.
In lieu of Falter’s removal from the roster, Nick Nelson earned a spot for the first time since the NLDS. Against Atlanta, he threw two scoreless innings and allowed just one base runner.
To no one’s surprise, Jose Alvarado and Seranthony Dominguez are expected to be used in the highest leverage situations, while David Robertson and Zach Eflin could see some late-game innings if the need would arise.
Four Starting Pitchers: Aaron Nola (R), Ranger Suarez (L), Noah Syndergaard (R), Zack Wheeler (R)
Nola, Wheeler, and Suarez were your three locks for the rotation. Noah Syndergaard has looked good in his 5.1 postseason innings so far, and he’ll look to continue that in game four of the World Series. Syndergaard earned the spot after thanks to three innings of one-run ball in his start in the Division Series. Bailey Falter started in the four spot in the Championship Series, but Syndergaard outdueled a struggling Falter, earning him back a spot in the rotation.
In order to get Zack Wheeler a few extra days of rest, Aaron Nola will get game one of the series. Nola is coming off a rough outing in San Diego, but he threw 6.2 perfect innings against the Astros at the beginning of October. Despite his last start, Nola still boasts a 3.12 postseason ERA and a 2-1 record. By getting the start in game one, Nola will pitch a potential game five at Citizens Bank Park, where he’s had the most success this season.
Zack Wheeler and his 1.78 postseason ERA will face off against Astros’ lefty Framber Valdez. Valdez has also had plenty of postseason moments and will be no easy opponent for the Phillies’ offense.
Phillies’ game three starter, Ranger Suarez, is in the complete opposite situation as Aaron Nola. Suarez impressed in his most recent playoff start, but unlike Nola, he struggled immensely against the Astros in the regular season.
Eight Infielders: Alec Bohm (R), Rhys Hoskins (R), Nick Maton (L), J.T. Realmuto (R), Jean Segura (R), Edmundo Sosa (R), Bryson Stott (L), Garrett Stubbs (L)
The starting lineup isn’t going to change much, but the addition of Nick Maton could add a twist to the Phillies’ late-game plans. Maton took the spot of Dalton Guthrie because of the lack of left-handed relievers in the Astros’ bullpen. It’s possible that Maton could pinch run and come in as a defensive replacement late in games, or he could end up in a pinch-hitting role if Alec Bohm’s struggles continue. Maton has not yet appeared in a postseason game, but he posted a solid .254 average and a .764 OPS as a bench bat for the Phillies in the regular season.
Aside from Maton, I would not expect many other changes in the Phillies infield. It’s possible that Edmundo Sosa could draw a start against a left-handed starter, as he had a .715 OPS versus lefties in the regular season compared to his .584 OPS versus right handers.
And of course, workhorse J.T. Realmuto will likely see all the time behind the dish in the World Series.
Five Outfielders: Nick Castellanos (R), Bryce Harper (L), Brandon Marsh (L), Kyle Schwarber (L), Matt Vierling (R)
There are no surprises here.
Schwarber and Castellanos will start in the outfield everyday, and Matt Vierling could start in centerfield against lefties. Brandon Marsh, who they will rely on more, will go against the righties.
The Astros are righty-heavy, so expect much more Marsh in the series, unless something goes wrong.
Game 1 is Friday night at 8:03pm ET, here’s the Phillies’ starting lineup: