Peña lifts Astros past Phillies in World Series


Jeremy Peña rounds the bases after hitting a solo homerun to give Houston a 2-1 lead over the Phillies in Game 5 (Photo courtesy of Tim Nwachukwu).

Wyatt Towianski, Staff Writer


In 2017, the Houston Astros won their first World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to three. Two years later it was discovered that they had cheated their way to a championship.

The Astros were guilty of sign stealing, using technology to aid them, and this provoked lots of controversy among the players and fans. Many people wanted to revoke their title.

Since the infamous cheating scandal in 2017, the Astros have made the American League Championship Series every year and have gone to the World Series twice more since their controversial championship.

This season was no different. The Houston Astros finished the regular season with a record of 106-56, the second best record in the league. But lots had happened in the offseason for Houston to get to that point.

They lost their star shortstop Carlos Correa to free agency. At first glance this was a huge loss, however, the next guy up, Jeremy Peña, was nearly as good.  Peña, who was a 2018 draft pick hit .253 with 22 home runs, but he was even more impressive in the postseason, hitting .345 with  four home runs in only seven games.

It seemed like the Los Angeles Dodgers were the team to beat in the National League with stars like Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, and Cody Bellinger. However, they were bounced out of the National League Division Series by the San Diego Padres. The team that made it out of the National League ended up being the Philadelphia Phillies, who made it as the third wild card with only 87 regular season wins

The Phillies had a pretty mediocre season; It’s important to note that this season the MLB expanded the playoff format from 10 teams to 12, meaning that without this new format, the Phillies wouldn’t have even made the playoffs.

The Phillies swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card, they then beat the previous World Series Champ Atlanta Braves in four in the Divisional round, and then it took them just five games to beat the Padres in the National League Championship Series.

It’s safe to say that the Phillies were hot, scoring 5.2 runs per game heading into the World Series and their star player Bryce Harper was hitting .419 with five home runs.

The Astros were also playing pretty well as they hadn’t yet lost a game in the postseason leading up to the World Series. They swept both the Seattle Mariners in the Division Series and then the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

Game 1 in Houston started off great for the Astros. Outfielder Kyle Tucker hit two home runs in the first three innings. Their ace Justin Verlander was pitching a gem which had become common for him so far in the postseason. However, it all fell apart. The Phillies rallied and scored three runs in the fourth inning thanks to the bats of Nick Castellanos and Alec Bohm, J.T Realmuto then hit a two RBI double in the 5th to tie the game at five all. From there, nothing much happened until the 10th inning when J.T Realmuto homered and the Phillies stole game one. It was the largest World Series comeback since 2002.

Game 2 was much better for Houston. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to Jeremy Peña and Yordan Álvarez. From there, Alex Bregman homered in the 5th to give Houston a 5-0 lead. This time they held on, winning 5-2.

The Astros seemed like they were back on track, but then they traveled to Philly. The Phillies scored seven runs in Game 3, they homered five times, scoring all their runs. Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and even Brandon Marsh, who is more of a contact hitter, knocked one out of the park. The momentum had shifted back to the Phillies.

It seemed the Cinderella story would come true for the Phillies. This was until they got no-hit in Game 4 at home. This was the second ever no-hitter in the World Series with the last one occurring in 1956. After dominating Game 3, the unthinkable happened when they went from offensive juggernaut to completely stymied by three Houston pitchers. Houston won game four 5-0.

In Game 5, Astros Ace Justin Verlander earned his first ever World Series win. He pitched five innings allowing four hits and one earned run. Jeremy Peña had three hits to go along with two RBI’s and the Astros won 3-2.

It took the Houston Astros six games to beat the Phillies. Back at home the Astros allowed just one run from a Kyle Schwarber home run. In the 6th inning Houston rallied and scored four runs thanks to a Yordan Álvarez home run that sent both Jeremy Peña and José  Altuve home as well as a Christian Vázquez single that scored Alex Bregman.

The rookie Shortstop Jeremy Peña ended up winning World Series MVP. Peña is the first ever rookie position player to win the award. Peña batted .400 with ten hits including two doubles as well as a homerun, and he drove in three runs and scored five runs.

The Houston Astros are the team to beat next season. It should be no surprise if they are to be the favorites to win it all again. Whether you believe they are the scum of the league for cheating back in 2017 or you’re a fan of Houston one thing’s for certain, they are very good at baseball…and that cheaters sometimes prosper.