Far be it for me to beat a dead drum. I mean horse but the Astros jumped on the Phillies Zack wheeler last night like they knew what was coming. Four pitches thrown by a man who had been as close as you can be to unhittable in this postseason and the Stros had three doubles and a two run lead. Before last night In 25 ⅓ innings of post season 2022 work Wheeler had given up ten hits and five earned runs. That's a 1.78 ERA boys and girls. In one inning vs the Astros he had surrendered three runs on three hits. Suspect
Jose Altuve, who came into last night's contest batting .108 on the postseason got things started by ripping a leadoff double to left. Jeremy Pena followed with his own two bagger plating Altuve. Yordan Alverez, not to be outcheated I mean outdone, followed suit with his own double past the left fielder Kyle Scwarber. He scored just 6 pitches later. And that was pretty much all the Astros needed. They tacked on two more in the fifth on the Bregman home run ( more on that below ) to win 5-2 but the game was over after the first as the Phillies bats were silenced by Lefty Framber Valdez and his right palm.
Yes you read that right. Lefty Framber Valdez and his right palm. Valdez went 6 ⅓ and gave up just one run on four hits while striking out Nine and walking just one batter. The only question I have is why was Valdez allowed to keep doing Valdez things for 6 ⅓ innings. Fiddling with this and running his fingers over that and it seemed to me and a lot of people loading up the ball with something in the palm of his glove hand. He wasn't even sneaky about it.
The bottom line isn't the 5-2 win but MLB allowing the Astros to continue to flaunt their disregard for the rules. Be it Valdez’s not so secret palm ritual. Martin Maldonado’s illegal bat from game one. Or Dusty Baker’s interruption of Wheeler's flow and momentum challenging a pretty routine looking out of Altuve at second. The call wasn't even close But it put a stop to the game for what felt like 5 minutes and Wheeler immediately gave up the Bregman two run dinger. I hate to dwell on this but it’s just too obvious. Not as obvious as leaning into a softie but still.
As always you can follow/give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207