Astros-Phillies WS matchup featured historic win disparity

November 6th, 2022

The 2022 World Series featured a matchup of historic proportions.

With the 106-win Astros taking on the 87-win Phillies, the 118th Fall Classic had the second-largest win disparity of all time between World Series opponents. The only matchup with a wider gap came in 1906, when the 116-win Cubs lost to the 93-win White Sox.

Of course, the Astros also had a sizable win advantage in the 2019 World Series, with 14 more regular-season wins than the Nationals, but they ultimately fell to Washington in seven games. Fortunately for Houston, their 2022 matchup with an upstart NL East club would end quite differently, as they took down the Phillies in six games.

The 2022 Fall Classic marked only the 11th time in World Series history that there has been a disparity of 14 regular-season wins or more between opponents. Here’s a look at each of these matchups.

23-win difference, 1906: Chicago Cubs (116 wins) vs. Chicago White Sox (93 wins)
Featuring the famed “Tinker to Evers to Chance” infield combo, the Cubs steamrolled their way through the NL in 1906, setting a record that still stands (it was equaled by the 2001 Mariners) for the most wins in AL/NL history en route to an all-Chicago World Series matchup. Although their offensive futility had earned them the nickname “Hitless Wonders” from renowned sportswriter Charles Dryden, the White Sox blitzed the Cubs for 16 runs in Games 5 and 6 to stun the baseball world.

19, 2022: Houston Astros (106) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (87)
The loss of Carlos Correa in free agency did nothing to slow down the Astros, who won the AL West by 16 games before sweeping their way through the Mariners and Yankees to reach the World Series for the fourth time in six years. In contrast, the Phillies recovered from a 22-29 start -- after which they replaced manager Joe Girardi with Rob Thomson -- and barely eked out a Wild Card spot to end a 10-year postseason drought. The Phils got past the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card Series and knocked off the defending World Series-champion Braves in the NLDS before toppling the Padres in the NLCS. Their run ultimately ended at the hands of the mighty Astros, who showed off the fire power that won them 106 games in the regular season, taking the World Series in six games.

17, 1932: New York Yankees (107) vs. Chicago Cubs (90)
After three straight years without a World Series appearance, the Babe Ruth- and Lou Gehrig-led Yankees roared back in 1932. In a World Series best remembered for Ruth’s purported “called shot” home run in Game 3 at Wrigley Field, the Bronx Bombers easily handled the NL champion Cubs in a four-game sweep.

16, 2018: Boston Red Sox (108) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (92)
The Red Sox were unstoppable in their first year under rookie manager Alex Cora, winning a franchise-record 108 games behind an MVP season from Mookie Betts and a 43-homer campaign from free-agent addition J.D. Martinez. After taking care of business against the Yankees and Astros, Boston advanced to the World Series to take on a Los Angeles club playing in the Fall Classic for the second straight year. The Red Sox defeated the Dodgers in five games to win their fourth championship in 15 years.

16, 1998: New York Yankees (114) vs. San Diego Padres (98)
With a deep roster led by Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams, the Yankees had a magical 1998 season, setting a then-AL record with 114 wins and reaching the World Series for the second time in three years. There they met the upstart Padres, who won a franchise-record 98 games. New York swept San Diego, but the series was closer than it would seem, as the Friars had a three-run lead entering the seventh inning in two of the four games. It was the first of three straight championships for the Yankees and the second in a run of four titles in five years.

16, 1961: New York Yankees (109) vs. Cincinnati Reds (93)
After a regular season that saw Roger Maris break Ruth’s single-season home run record with 61 dingers, the Yankees met the Reds in the World Series looking to avenge a stunning loss at the hands of the Pirates in the 1960 Fall Classic. Although an ailing Mickey Mantle appeared in only two games and Maris went 2-for-19 (.105), the Yanks edged Cincinnati in five games thanks to a superlative performance from their pitching staff.

16, 1944: St. Louis Cardinals (105) vs. St. Louis Browns (89)
With the Major League talent pool severely depleted due to World War II, the Browns clinched the AL pennant with just 89 wins in 1944, marking the franchise’s lone postseason appearance before relocating to Baltimore in 1954. They held their own against Stan Musial (who would enlist for military service the following winter) and Co. in an all-St. Louis World Series, but the Cardinals finished off their counterparts in six games to win their second championship in three years.

16, 1927: New York Yankees (110) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (94)
With Ruth and Gehrig at the center of a legendary lineup known as “Murderers’ Row,” the 1927 Yankees mashed their way to a pennant and didn’t let up in the World Series. New York outscored the Pirates 23-10 in a four-game sweep as the Bambino posted a .400 average with the only two homers hit in the series.

15, 1907: Chicago Cubs (107) vs. Detroit Tigers (92)
Undeterred by their shocking loss against the White Sox in the 1906 World Series, the Cubs returned to the Fall Classic with another gaudy win total the following year. This time, they finished the job, holding the Tigers to three runs in their four wins after Game 1 resulted in a 3-3 tie when it was called on account of darkness.

14, 2019: Houston Astros (107) vs. Washington Nationals (93)
After a 19-31 start put manager Dave Martinez on the hot seat, Washington went on a storybook run that resulted in a World Series title. The club won five potential elimination games in the postseason -- all in comeback fashion -- including Games 6 and 7 of the World Series against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Howie Kendrick delivered the big blow in the Fall Classic clincher, poking a go-ahead, two-run homer off the right-field foul pole with one out in the top of the seventh inning.

14, 1954: Cleveland Indians (111) vs. New York Giants (97)
After winning 111 games with a roster featuring five future Hall of Famers (Larry Doby, Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn and Hal Newhouser), Cleveland met its match against San Francisco. With eventual NL MVP Willie Mays back from military service, the Giants swept the Indians after a 97-win regular season. New York set the tone for the rest of the series on Dusty Rhodes’ Game 1 walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th, two innings after Mays made one of the most iconic defensive plays in baseball history -- an over-the-shoulder basket catch in dead center field to preserve a 2-2 tie in the top of the eighth inning.