The Philadelphia Phillies’ chances of winning their first World Series championship since 2008 were dashed Saturday night in Game 6 (and thus a best-of-seven series) with a 4-1 final loss to the Houston Astros. . The most important moment of Game 6 occurred in his sixth inning when Phillies manager Rob Thomson replaced starter Zach Wheeler with reliever José Alvarado. Alvarado then surrendered a three-run homer to Astros left fielder Jordan Alvarez.
After the game, Wheeler admitted that Thomson made the decision to leave him out of the game. [him] Let your guard down. ”
Thomson said he thinks Wheeler still has good things to come. He simply preferred the Alvaro matchup offered against Alvarez.
Wheeler’s last line saw him play 5 1/3 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk. He struck out his 5 and threw his 49 of his 70 pitches for strikes. It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that he was left out of Saturday night’s contest, despite completing his first five or more innings and pitching less.
For one thing, the Phillies have approached Wheeler with a conservative mindset since returning from the disabled list late in the season. He never threw more than 80 pitches in his final three regular season starts, and threw less than 90 pitches in all six postseason appearances. The Phillies chose to give him only one extra day of rest, not only his first but his second in the Worlds series. They could have brought him back for Game 5 on normal rest, but after Game 2 they decided to give him his full five days off. Go out.
As another example, Wheeler has embarked on a third order. This is usually a dangerous zone for starting pitchers. Even pitchers like Wheeler suffer from exposure to opponents. That is, his OPS ballooned from .609 and .583 in his two innings the first time he saw a hitter in a game during the regular season, to .722 in his third game. That’s still better than the league average for his third matchup in a game, but that doesn’t mean he was necessarily the perfect pitcher to face Alvarez.
In fact, Alvarado was allowing . 630 OPS against lefties and . 585 OPS overall this season. It’s reasonable to think he’d likely retire Alvarez, perhaps even inducing a double play in the end of the inning, but there are other reasons. As we wrote as part of our preview of the World Series Top 5 matchups:
In the aftermath, people were quick to point out that Alvarez could only hit . 265 against Sinker this season. This is the lowest of any pitch type he has seen regularly. 283 against left-handed sinkers means he was nearly 60 points lower than averages against other pitch types thrown from southpaws. If you’re doing surface level analysis like this, yes, weights are the way to go.
All things considered, Alvarado was a defensible pick at the position.
Alvarado, who produced nearly 60% ground balls during the regular season, simply threw a bad pitch. Alvarez crushed it about 450 feet to center field and that was it. That’s the beauty of baseball, especially in the postseason.
Still, Wheeler’s position is understandable. He wanted to do well for the team and keep it alive in the Worlds title fight for his series. For the most part he did his job. Unfortunately, when playing against a team as good as the Astros, the margin of error is small. Alvarado and the Phillies fell on the other side.