Ahead Game 1 World Series between Art Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros (8:00 PM ET Friday on FOX), Ben Verlander and co-host Alex Curry will sit down with FOX Sports MLB writer Disha Tosar live preview”Flippin’ Bats” (9 p.m. ET).
[Astros’ Jeremy Peña Is Over The Carlos Correa Comparisons]
Hall of Famer John Smoltz, who previously joined Verlander on the show to discuss postseason pitching and the importance of a 1-0 Series lead, will accompany Verlander on Flippin’ Bats each day of the World Series.
New episodes of “Flippin’ Bats” will air at 7:30 p.m. ET, 33 minutes before the first pitch of each game, as well as a postgame episode following each World Series game.
Smoltz spoke to FOX Sports about the biggest questions surrounding the series.
Name a pitcher from each staff that you think could unexpectedly “change” your team…someone perhaps not obvious to the average fan?
John Smoltz: For Astrosthat would be a rookie RHP Hunter Brown. He will be a great starter in the future. He has great stuff and can do so many things for Houston. For Phyllis, I’ll go the other way and go with the veteran. I think RHP Noah Syndergaard can be huge for Philadelphia, especially if he can provide big innings for them. Game 4 will be a test. RHP Andrew Belati in the pen for Philly is another candidate, but he’ll need his slider to be a little better than last series.
How do pitching staffs compare to each other and to the opponent?
The starting pitching in this series will be great to watch and tough to hit. The front three for each club are fantastic, with the Astros having more starter depth. But the top three for each club are perfectly matched. Both pitching staffs face good power lineups, but the difference may be that the Astros’ hitters don’t strike out as often. Both lineups include a pair of left-handed hitters, with the Phillies having a bit more power throughout their lineup.
Where are the strengths and weaknesses of each team’s bullpen? Which team will be in the best position to succeed if the series goes seven games?
The bullpens have top pitchers at the end for both clubs, with the Phillies riding on three or four guys, while the pen is deeper for the Astros. RHP Serantani Dominguez and LHP Jose Alvarado are important to the Phillies, while Houston manager Dusty Baker may turn to a lot of personnel before moving on to his closer. Overall, the advantage goes to the Astros. However, if the Phillies’ starters can do their thing and go six or seven innings, then Houston’s lead has obviously diminished. Because of the depth when the streak is long, the Astros have more weapons to handle a seven-game streak.
We also ask Verlander to answer three key questions that could decide the series:
The Astros got a big postseason out of the rookie Jeremy Peña. What impression has the young shortstop made on you, and do you expect him to continue that in the World Series?
Peña was built for postseason tension. He was so impressive throughout the year and continued to take huge strides in the playoffs. He was on my show earlier this year and I could tell then that he was up to the task. No moment was too big for him, and he continues to show that every night in October.
The Phillies weren’t a good team in the regular season, but seem to have caught fire in the postseason. Does this team have some 2021 Braves magic?
This Philadelphia team reminds me a lot of the 2019 Nationals. Many underestimated them because they played as a wild card team, but in reality they just had a slow start to the season. Phyllis is the epitome of a powerful team. They have an MVP, two certified aces, silverbacks everywhere you look, and a crowd that certainly gives them a big home-field advantage. Don’t let the records fool you: this is not a David vs. Goliath match. These are two powerhouse companies pitting their best baseball against each other.
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Both the Astros and Phillies have excellent lineups with plenty of proven hitters. If you had to pick one hitter to stand out in this series, who do you think it would be?
So many offensive stars are part of this World Series. For me, I look at Alex Bregman to stand out from the crowd. He’s proven that he can reach the biggest moments and he’s been swinging the bat really well lately. Stay tuned for more Bregman World Series highlights
The FOX Sports MLB team recently broke how do these two powerful teams stack up against each other in this series, which will be needed for Phillies to pull off the upset over the Astrosand also how to win to increase the dynasty of Astroski.
Watch live Thursday Preview the Flippin Bats World Series here.
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