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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

2022 World Series: Ben Verlander’s takeaways from Astros’ Game 6 win


HOUSTON — No team had won more playoff games over the past six seasons than the Astros. Now, no team has won as many World Series, either. 

The best team in baseball officially resides in Houston — again — as the Astros toppled the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-1, on Saturday to win the 2022 World Series. The victory marks the second title in franchise history, following its 2017 crown. For the first time since 2013, the MLB champion closed out on its home field.

Let’s get to a few takeaways from the Astros’ Game 6 clincher.

1. Yordan Alvarez blasts off

I don’t think this team is here without Alvarez. He might not have had the World Series that we would have expected from him, but this moment, everybody should have expected. Alvarez rose to the biggest occasion, his three-run home run was the ballgame. The Houston Astros won the World Series off the bat of Yordan Alvarez. He had three go-ahead home runs in the sixth inning or later this postseason, tied with 2002 Troy Glaus for the most in a single postseason. Only one player has more such home runs for a career — Carlos Correa.  

By the way, I have never seen a ball hit over the batter’s eye here in Houston. The estimated distance on Alvarez’s home run was 450 feet. I would say 550. It was mashed. The stadium was shaking. It was madness, the lights were going off. It was one of those moments that you remember where you were when it happened. It was that special.

Alvarez smashes a go-ahead homer

Yordan Alvarez crushes a three-run home run to straightaway center to give the Astros a 3-1 lead.

2. Framber Valdez dominates

There’s an argument for him to have won MVP. Two starts, two wins, dominant again here tonight, exactly as he was here in Game 2. Framber Valdez doesn’t get the love and respect that he deserves because he’s not the ‘ace’ of this staff. But Valdez is a superstar. He rose to the biggest occasions. 

In past World Series, he didn’t have the best go at it. He said learned from those and was going to take it into this World Series. Two starts, two wins, and a massive, massive reason we’re taking about the Astros being world champions.

3. Jeremy Peña wins MVP

You can now say that Jeremy Peña is a superstar, and there is no doubt about that. He showed up when it mattered most in every game. He is the only rookie ever in World Series history to get a hit in every World Series game. You are just continually impressed by the player and the person he is. 

Carlos Correa was a superstar on this team, and now Peña steps in at his position and we didn’t even talk about Correa this entire postseason. That’s how good Peña is.Everybody believed in him, and now the world gets to see on the biggest stage that this guy is a superstar.

4. Dusty Baker delivers

A World Series title was the last thing on Baker’s checklist. He’s already a Hall of Famer. He was a good player, he’s a great manager. He’s the only person to have 1,800 hits as a player and 1,800 wins as a manager. Baker’s managerial debut was on April 6th, 1993 against the Cardinals. The St. Louis leadoff hitter? Geronimo Peña, Jeremy’s Peña father.

Whether you’re an Astros fan or not, you’re happy for Dusty Baker. He’s a legendary player and manger. He’s the only manager in history to lead five playoff teams, and he’s come so close to winning in the past. You just have to be happy for a guy like Dusty Baker. 

Dusty Baker speaks on Astros’ World Series victory

Dusty Baker speaks with Tom Verducci, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas and David Ortiz about winning winning his first title.

5. Dynasty cemented

This is a dynasty, there’s no doubt about it. Six consecutive ALCS appearances, that’s a record. They needed this World Series to be a dynasty, but it’s really hard to understand that you’re in a dynasty while it’s happening. I don’t want to look back in 10 years and say, ‘That Houston Astros team, they were a dynasty.’ Let’s appreciate it now. 

It’s so hard to win in baseball and to be this consistent. The Astros have been one of the last two American League teams for six straight years, in the World Series for four of those years, and they’ve won it twice — with no downfall in sight. This is a dynasty, perhaps the second of the 2000s. 

The San Francisco Giants, I would consider them one, three titles in five years. I would argue that this Astros run was better than that Giants run because of the consistency. Now, one less championship. The 90s Atlanta Braves are the only team to make it to the Championship Series more times in a row than the Astros, and they only won the World Series once. But this Astros team, I got no other word than dynasty.

Interview with Astros’ owner Jim Crane

Crane discusses the keys to Houston’s recent run of success

6. Critics silenced?

I think the critics have been silenced for a while, but this officially silences them. You can’t argue winning, and this is the ultimate win. There’s really nothing that can be said anymore. This team became a villain because of everything that happened in 2017, and they have embraced that villain role. You saw it in the World Series. 

You can’t argue with how good this team has been since 2017. It all goes away now. You can’t go back to 2017 because their last championship was tonight. I don’t care what the critics have to say. You can hate all you want on this team, but they get fueled by it, and they will win another championship if you keep hating.

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