World Series Game 6 live: Zack Wheeler tries to keep Phillies’ season alive against Astros | World Series

Key events

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Bottom 3rd inning

Chas McCormick, who made the game-preserving catch in Game 5, is up with Mancini at first base. He takes a pitch and then fouls a pitch off. 1-1. He swings and misses. 1-2. The next pitch is high and out of the zone. Wheeler clearly trying to get McCormick to chase. He doesn’t. He also doesn’t chase ball three. He works a full count.

On 3-2, he breaks his bat in what would have been a double play if hit any harder. Instead, it’s just a fielder’s choice with Mancini erased on second.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Bottom 3rd inning

Trey Mancini gets his first at-bat of the day. I feel like I should have a Henry Mancini gag ready to go but honestly, I realize that my references need to get much younger if I want them to keep giving me these liveblogging gigs.

Mancini fouls off the first two pitches he sees. Sign of a fast at-bat? You would think, but he takes two pitches out of the zone to even up the count. At 2-2, he fouls off a slider from Wheeler. At 2-2, Mancini finally gets a hit in the World Series. It’s a leadoff single for the Astros!

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 3rd inning

Realmuto, straight off of catching something like 789 straight postseason games (note: figure wildly inaccurate) is back out there. Valdez falls behind him 1-2 but manages to toss in an unhittable sinker in the zone for strike two. On 2-2, he gets Realmuto to swing and miss to end the inning.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 3rd inning

Hoskins gets ahead of Valdez 2-1 before taking a sinker in the zone for a strike. On 2-2, Hoskins takes a ball. 3-2. Hoskins just barely hits one foul, only foul by maybe an itch. Ridiculous. Still 3-2. He then takes a beauty of a curveball for strike three.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 3rd inning

Schwarber is already back out there to face Valdez for the second time. He takes a ball. 1-0. Valdez’s next pitch is also a ball. 2-0. Valdez finds the zone on his next three pitches for a strikeout.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Bottom 2nd inning

Christian Vázquez is up and he fouls off a pitch that probably was a ball. In fact, replay shows it nearly hitting him. Not the ideal way to start an at-bat. The next pitch? A called strike. 0-2. On the next pitch, he hits into an inning-ending double play.

The Grateful Dead’s “Estimated Prophet” takes us to the commercial break. The third inning cometh

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Bottom 2nd inning

Kyle Tucker is up and he shows bunt on Wheeler’s first pitch. He fouls it off for strike one. 0-1. He takes the next pitch inside. 1-1. The next pitch, he takes for a strike. 1-2. The next pitch is way high and Tucker doesn’t chase. 2-2. On the next pitch, Tucker checks his swing, but dinks the ball just foul. 2-2. Tucker gets a late swing on a breaking ball that Wheeler probably doesn’t want to throw again. It’s just a loud foul ball into the stands. 2-2. The next pitch. That’s a slider away. 3-2.

This is finally getting Wheeler to work here. Tucker swings at the next pitch and just gets a piece of it. Still 3-2. That’s the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Tucker fouls the ninth pitch away. My guess is he takes ball four here, that’s how these battles tend to go when the hitter has seen so many pitches.

And yep, that’s just what he does. That’ll be the Astros’ first baserunner.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Bottom 2nd inning

So, that “getting hits with runners-in-scoring position” thing seems to be a problem for the Phillies. Wheeler is back out there, getting Alex Bregman to ground on in two pitches.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 2nd inning

Edmundo Sosa is up next. He fouls off Valdez’s first pitch. 0-1. He then takes a huge swing and connects! He gets nearly all of it but that’s not enough as it stays in the park and ends up being an inning-ending flyball out.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 2nd inning

Matt Vierling is up next. He takes two straight sinkers for balls. 2-0, a prime hitter’s count. Or taking count, even. He takes ball three. 3-0. I’m going to guess Vierling is not one of those hitters with a green light.

Well, not here at least. He takes pitch four for a ball and now there are runners on first and second.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 2nd inning

Jean Segura is up with a runner on first. Valdez gets ahead of him 1-2 then fouls off two pitches. The next pitch is in the dirt. That’s ball two. 2-2. The next pitch is a curveball that lands in the top of the strike zone for strike three. Two down.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 2nd inning

Alec Bohm takes the first pitch he sees and deposits it into center field for a single, the first hit of the game.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 2nd inning

Nick Castellanos is put for Philadelphia. Valdez gets ahead of him 1-2 where he then proceeds to ground out… except the ball lands just foul. The at-bat continues. Castellanos takes a strike looking.

Email from Sir Richard:

Where to watch Game 6 of the World Series? Still not on mlb.tv. Lackaday. Radio comms it is. I’m going for a big Astros win and for me that would, if not eradicate the asterisk, then at least put it further into the rear-view mirror. Meanwhile, have you seen what Vladdy has said about the Yankees? The 2023 preseason has kicked off nice and early.

Yes, it should be noted that MLB.TV, as far as I can tell, doesn’t get you postseason games that are on major networks due to broadcasting rights. Related: I canceled that service over a decade ago (although it took several attempts).

If you don’t have access to FOX in the US or BT Sports in the UK, you’re probably going to have to resort to not-so-legal means to actually watch the games.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Bottom 1st inning

And Jeremy Peña grounds out to short. That’s two down for Wheeler. Álvarez promptly flies out. That’s a 1-2-3 inning for Wheeler, who needed a whole seven pitches to do it.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Bottom 1st inning

I just attempted to RT this liveblog to my Twitter account and the site asked if I wanted to read the article first. Dude, Elon, I am writing the article as we speak.

In any case, here’s Zack Wheeler pitching for Philadelphia, facing pesky leadoff man Jose Altuve. Wheeler’s first pitch is taken for a ball, while his second is taken for a strike. 1-1. The next pitch is taken for a strike. 1-2. Then Altuve gets himself out with a swing and a miss.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 1st inning

No worries from Valdez, who gets Harper to ground out to end the inning on just one pitch. It’s almost like he pitches better with baserunners on.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 1st inning

Valdez’s first pitch to slumping (and presumably exhausted) J.T. Realmuto is a strike looking. The next is pitch away. 1-1. Realmuto fouls the next pitch away. 1-2. The next pitch, that’s quite low. 2-2. And the next pitch… hits him. So that’s a runner at first with Bryce Harper up next.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 1st inning

The Phillies cannot. Rhys Hoskins immediately grounds into a double play.

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 1st inning

Schwarber fouls off the next pitch and then swings and misses. Valdez is up 1-2. On the next pitch, Schwarber is convinced that he’s looked at strike three but the umpire doesn’t call it. Which is odd. So it’s 2-2 after he returns to the batter’s box. He takes a pitch that’s an actual pitch outside and then takes ball four on what probably should have been a strikeout.

Can the Phillies capitalize here early?

First pitch

Phillies 0-0 Astros, Top 1st inning

Framber Valdez is up for the Houston Astros, facing the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber. His first pitch is… a ball. Low. Game 6 has officially begun!

The FOX broadcast is playing, I swear, The War On Drugs heading out of this commercial break.

I feel pandered to but as a 40-year-old middle class white male, I am used to this.

FOX points out that Mancini is 0-for-18 in the series. I am definitely feeling better about my “Phillies force Game 7” prediction. I do like former Boston Red Sox catcher Vázquez at DH though, we do share a birthday after all, look for him to hit a home run here.

Houston Astros starting lineup

1. Jose Altuve, 2B

2. Jeremy Peña, SS

3. Yordan Álvarez, LF

4. Alex Bregman, 3B

5. Kyle Tucker, RF

6. Christian Vázquez , DH

7. Trey Mancini, 1B

8. Chas McCormick, CF

9. Martín Maldonado, C

Pitcher: Framber Valdez

National anthem

Wait are we doing the national anthem this early? It’s somebody named Andy Grammer. He’s very bad and has absolutely no range, or if he does he has decided to hide it for reasons unbeknownst to me! He goes wildly off-key at “free.” No wonder they tried to get this out of the way while fans were still filing in. (1/10)

Philadelphia Phillies starting lineup

1. Kyle Schwarber, LF

2. Rhys Hoskins, 1B

3. J.T. Realmuto, C

4. Bryce Harper, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, RF

6. Alec Bohm, 3B

7. Jean Segura, 2B

8. Matt Vierling, CF

9. Edmundo Sosa, SS

Pitcher: Zack Wheeler

Now that Justin Verlander finally has secured his first World Series win, we’re down to one major narrative: will Astros manager Dusty Baker finally get his first World Series ring?

It has to feel this very much feels like a “now or never” situation for the well-loved baseball lifer.

Predictions

Well, last time around I said that the Phillies would drop Game 5, which they did, but would manage to figure out a road win in Game 6 in order to force a Game 7. Well, here we are with the Phillies on the ropes and it feels like they’ll squeak by simply because this series has been too unpredictable to stop now.

Want me to be more specific? Let’s say that it’s a tied game late and Bryce Harper once again drives in the winning run, maybe in the 7th or 8th inning. I’m going to say the final score is 5-4 Phillies, but the game ends with the Astros stranding the tying run at third base. Nothing will be easy for them.

Then the Phillies, of course, lose in an anticlimactic Game 6. I’ll break down my Game 7 prediction tomorrow assuming that we actually have one. If we don’t, just pretend I never wrote any of this.

Agree? Disagree? Send your predictions here and we’ll post them throughout. You can email them to hunter.felt.freelance@theguardian.com or tweet them to @HunterFelt.

Today’s big news. Following Yuli Gurriel’s knee injury in Game 5 where he was hurt in the midst of a rundown, he’s been taken off the World Series roster. The 38-year-old first baseman will be replaced by catcher Korey Lee. Backup catcher Christian Guzman will now be the DH for the Astros.

I’ll have my prediction a little later but it’s safe to say that I’m pretty sure at least a little weirdness will be on the docket for Game 6.

The story so far

I want to thank Earlier Version of Me for writing these succinct game summaries yesterday. Is it plagiarism when you copy what you’ve written in the past? Am I going to get sued like when John Fogerty gave us “The Old Man Down The Road?”

Game 1. Phillies 6-5 Astros. In Game 1, the Phillies stunned the Astros by recovering from a 5-0 deficit to hand Houston its first defeat in the playoffs.

Game 2. Phillies 2-5 Astros. In Game 2, the Phillies couldn’t rally back from a 5-0 deficit, which is usually how that plays out. With the win, the Astros tied up the series 1-1.

Game 3: Astros 0-7 Phillies. In Game 3, the series moved from Minute Maid Park to Citizens Bank Park, which ended up working out in favor of the Phillies who played home run derby to take a 2-1 series lead.

Game 4. Astros 5-0 Phillies. It looked like Philadelphia had Houston on the ropes, but the Astros simply decided to not allow the Phillies to get a single hit.

Game 5. Astros 3-2 Phillies. In what was the tightest game so far, the Astros relied on some good fortune and the Phillies’ struggles hitting with runners in scoring position to hang on to a one-run victory that has put them on the verge of their second World Series win.

Where to watch Game 6 of the World Series

While it was delayed by MLS Cup Final coverage (Philadelphia Union just lost to LAFC in what can’t possibly be a good omen for the Phillies), we’re finally in the pregame coverage of Game 6 of the 2022 World Series which is, in the US, airing live on FOX

More of an audio person? Me too. So, you can also listen on your local ESPN Radio affiliate or, barring that, ESPNradio.com. In the UK, you can see it on BT Sports starting in roughly 40 minutes or so or online through the BT Sports app.

Preamble

To quote a pair of history’s greatest lyrical poets: this could be the last time. This could be the last time. Maybe the last time. I don’t know!

Yes, the Houston Astros held on to a 3-2 win in Thursday’s Game 5 to take their first World Series lead at the best possible time. Now, at 3-2, the series returns to Houston’s Minute Maid Park where the Astros have two chances to beat the Philadelphia Phillies just once to win their second World Series. (And perhaps their first asterisk-free one.)

So, could this be in the end today? The Astros will hand the ball over to Framber Valdez, who got the win back in Game 2 Meanwhile, the Phillies are hoping that ace Zack Wheeler can return to form when he starts Game 6 and—if worst comes to worst—it’s pretty much an “all hands on deck” situation for their pitching staff. If Philadelphia doesn’t figure out a way to win tonight, after all, then the MLB season will be over.

So, for possibly the last time there will be baseball played in 2022. If you want to join in our discussion, this is the perfect time to do so because we might not get a Game 7. So, you can email us at hunter.felt.freelance@theguardian.com or, if you have not (understandably) been driven away by Twitter’s new owner, you can send a tweet to @HunterFelt.

It’s the Philadelphia Phillies vs the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Game 6 of the 2022 World Series. We’re scheduled to start actual baseball at 8:03 pm EST but you know how that tends to go: expect possible delays. Either way, this blog will return well before then.

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