Philadelphia Phillies Came out swinging in Game 3 of the World Series and they didn’t stop until it was out of reach. They crushed five home runs off Houston Astros Starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. started with an opening shot Bryce Harborin front of the Philadelphia crowd to take a 2-1 series lead.
Phillies starter Ranger SuarezA rain postponement on Monday brought him back into the picture for Game 3, throwing five scoreless frames. By the time manager Rob Thompson turned to the bullpen, he had the luxury of a large cushion.
Astros captain Dusty Baker raised eyebrows without turning to his well-stocked, well-rested bullpen. McCullers was injured MLB postseason record allowed five home runs — a stat that reflects how he’s pitched, yes, but also how long he’s been out when he’s not clearly fooling the Phillies’ lineup. Had he been pulled before facing the lineup a third time — even in the regular season — he would have allowed just three homers.
Bryce Harper leads the way against Lance McCullers Jr.
The Philly fireworks started almost immediately. After walking Kyle Schwarber, Harbor smashed the first World Series pitch ever seen at Citizens Bank Park.
In the second inning, the Phillies smoked two more homers to put the Astros down 4-0. The last burst left McCullers with all seven on his jump, Most runs allowed by a World Series starter since 2004.
However, McCullers could have put up a homer and clinched the loss with the Astros’ lackluster performance. They didn’t even manage an extra-base hit against the second tier of the Phillies’ bullpen.
Did McCullers tilt his pitch?
If the rapid-fire home runs didn’t raise suspicions that McCullers was tipping his pitches, Harper’s pre-at-bat whispered boom — who promptly homered — took care of it.
Internet Sleuths And broadcaster John Smoltz soon rooted for the Astros starter in ways that informed the Phillies about what was to come.
Notably, McCullers refused to throw his fastball, especially to left-handers, so they already had some time to sit on his usual changing breaking balls. He threw just 14 sinkers (his primary fastball) on 78 pitches.
He settled down a bit after the initial burst of long balls, retiring eight in a row at one point.
But Baker did him no favors by allowing him to face him at the top of the order for the third time. He allowed homers to Schwarber and Hoskins to make dubious history before finally getting the hook.
The Phillies now have a clear goal: try to put the series away without going back to Houston. To do that, they first need to win Game 4 on Wednesday night. Go-Ace Aaron Nola, coming off a rough Game 1 outing, the Phillies got the ball. Astros start Christian JavierHe was their third-best starter all season and one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball.
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