PHILADELPHIA -- The rain might have held it back an extra day, but, in Game 3 on Tuesday night, a new character emerges in what has already been a scintillating World Series between the Phillies and Astros.
This character has been waiting in the wings not just through Monday’s postponement but for the last 12 Fall Classics. Waiting to deliver its pent-up roar and to strike fear into the hearts of men donning the road gray.
That character is Citizens Bank Park, which already has spent this month reminding the world what a raucous postseason environment it can be. Think the energy and cacophony will be kicked up a notch now that the World Series is in town?
Yeah, that seems a safe bet.
“We feel like it’s another element that a visiting team is going to have to go through,” Phillies outfielder Kyle Schwarber said. “[The Philly fans] have been great through this whole postseason.”
Not only are the Phillies 21-9 all-time in the postseason at CBP (best home record for any ballpark to have hosted at least 20 playoff games), but they are 5-0 at home in the playoffs this year.
And 5-0 also just so happens to be the lead the Astros built against Philly’s dual aces, Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, in both Games 1 and 2. The first of those leads was wasted, the second was secured. Now it’s on Ranger Suárez to ensure the Astros don’t build another one, and it’s on Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. to pick up where a brilliant Framber Valdez left off in Game 2.
“Really looking forward to experiencing the crowd,” McCullers said. “I've heard a lot about it. I'm a really big fan of the game, and I think it will be a great moment.”
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 3, which will air on FOX at 8 p.m. ET/7 CT, will be played Tuesday following Monday's postponement.
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Who are the starting pitchers?
Astros: Despite Monday's postponement, McCullers will still start Game 3, Astros manager Dusty Baker announced before the game was called. McCullers (0-0, 2.45 ERA this postseason) will be making his third start of the 2022 playoffs, having pitched in clinching games in the ALDS and the ALCS. He threw six scoreless innings in the Astros’ 18-inning win over Seattle in Game 3 of the ALDS and gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and one walk over five innings in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees in New York. This will be his first start in the World Series since 2017, when he started Game 7 against the Dodgers and lasted 2 1/3 innings in Houston’s championship clincher.
Phillies: With Monday’s postponement, the Phils will turn to Ranger Suárez on normal rest for Game 3 instead of Noah Syndergaard, as originally planned. Aaron Nola will then start Game 4 on Wednesday -- also on regular rest. Manager Rob Thomson noted that the reshuffled rotation would line up Suárez to start a potential Game 7 on regular rest, if needed. As for Syndergaard, Thomson said the club will wait to see if the veteran right-hander is needed out of the bullpen in Game 3 or Game 4 before deciding if he will start Game 5. If Syndergaard is used in relief over the next two games, Kyle Gibson would likely get the Game 5 nod. Regardless, Zack Wheeler will remain the starter for Game 6 -- and reap the benefits of an extra day of rest.
What are the starting lineups?
Phillies: Thomson has been asked about potential lineup changes throughout the postseason, but so far he has kept everything the same.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Astros: Consecutive days off Sunday (scheduled) and Monday (rain) will allow the Astros to reset their bullpen for Tuesday’s Game 3. If McCullers can give them six innings and get a lead, the Astros will have Bryan Abreu, Héctor Neris, Rafael Montero and closer Ryan Pressly lined up for the final three innings.
Phillies: If we have learned anything in this postseason, it is that Thomson will be aggressive with his bullpen. So expect everybody to be available in Game 3, especially with a day off Sunday and Monday's postponement. For the majority of the postseason, Thomson has used right-hander Seranthony Domínguez and left-hander José Alvarado in the eighth and ninth innings. But in Game 1 of the World Series, he used Alvarado in the fifth and Domínguez for 1 2/3 innings. Behind those two are Zach Eflin, David Robertson, Andrew Bellatti and Connor Brogdon.
Any injuries of note?
Who is hot and who is not?
Astros: Altuve went 3-for-4 in Game 2 of the World Series and needs one hit for 100 in his postseason career. He has the fifth-most hits in Major League history in the playoffs. … Bregman is 2-for-8 in the World Series and clubbed his 15th career postseason home run in Game 2, tying him with Babe Ruth and Jayson Werth for 14th all-time. … Peña’s eight extra-base hits this postseason are the fourth-most by a rookie in a single postseason. … Alvarez’s 18 RBIs since the beginning of the '21 playoffs are the second-most behind teammate Tucker (20).
Phillies: Harper had his 11-game postseason hitting streak snapped when he went 0-for-4 in Game 2, his first game without a hit since Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series in St. Louis on Oct. 7. Harper hit .455 (20-for-44) with six doubles, five home runs, 11 RBIs and a 1.410 OPS during the hitting streak. … Domínguez has a 0.96 ERA in seven postseason appearances. He has struck out 18 without a walk in 9 1/3 innings. … Stott is batting .267 (4-for-15) with three doubles and three walks in his last five games. They aren’t eye-popping numbers, but he has put together some really long at-bats. He worked a 12-pitch walk as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning in Game 2.
Anything else fans might want to know?
• In postseason series with the current 2-3-2 format, teams splitting the first two games at home have still gone on to win 47 of 86 times (55%). The split obviously means there is a great deal at stake in Game 3. In all best-of-seven series tied 1-1, the winner of the third game has triumphed 68 of 98 times (69%).
• The Astros are 6-6 all-time on the road in the World Series, having won five of their past seven Fall Classic games away from home.
• The Astros are 2-9 in their past 11 games at Citizens Bank Park, having played two series there (2014 and 2017) since moving to the AL in 2013.