DeMatha and the World Series


William Walker, Staff Writer

On October 30, DeMatha hosted its 18th Hall of Fame ceremony. The DeMatha Hall of Fame is home to the most commendable faith-filled gentlemen, including alumni, coaches, and teachers. Some notable inductees enshrined that night include legendary cross-country runner Cory Puffett and former professional basketball player Mike Pegues. Another notable inductee was Bobby St. Pierre, who played both baseball and football at DeMatha, played college baseball at the University of Richmond, and played professional baseball with both the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians in their minor league systems. He began coaching upon retirement and currently works as a full-time scout for the Houston Astros.

The Astros are currently in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. After the first five games, the Astros lead the series 3-2. Games 1 and 2 took place in Houston. The Phillies won Game 1 in extra innings 6-5, then the Astros rebounded with a 5-2 victory in Game 2. Games 3 and 4 were played in Philly, resulting in the Phillies eviscerating the Astros 7-0 and the Astros responding with their own demolition, tossing the second no-hitter in world series history in their 5-0 victory. Game 5 was a pitcher’s duel, and the Astros won 3-2 behind a 2-RBI performance from rookie Jeremy Peña. Game 6 is scheduled for November 5 in Houston. If necessary, Game 7 will be on November 6.

Junior Bash Finan gave his intel on the series. From his perspective, this is a “close series” and both teams “are incredible.”

When asked which team he thought was better, Finan stated, “We [the Astros] are better” and argued due to their pitching. In the regular season, the Astros ranked second in the league with a team era of 2.90 (League average: 3.97). The Astros had four starting pitchers (Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Lance Mcullers Jr, and Christian Javier) all record ERAs under 3.00. The Astros’ pitching has elevated in the playoffs. They rank second in the postseason in team ERA at 2.38 and have thrown a total of three shutouts, including the aforementioned no-hitter. In contrast, the Phillies’ pitching staff ranked 18th during the regular season in team ERA and only have aces Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler. Other pitchers such as Ranger Saurez and Noah Syndergaard are only decent and susceptible to being unreliable.

Finan explained the stress levels of watching his team playing in the World Series, using a simile he garnered from his dad, saying, “Watching [the Astros] in the top stage is like watching one of your family members try to defuse a bomb.” Finan also explained that he watched the Astros play through the boxscore instead of the TV, insisting that, “Every time I watch the Astros on TV, they lose.” Winning this World Series would cement the Astros as a dynasty, reaching six pennants, four world series, and two championships in the past six years. Watching the team’s second World Series win in their history would certainly be a dream come true for Bash.

Junior Kevin Neal gave his perspective on the World Series, stating that he wants the Phillies to win due to his disdain for the Astros and his love for Bryce Harper. Neal’s resentment for the Astros comes from their cheating scandal from 2017-2019, where the Astros conducted a sign-stealing scheme that ultimately led them to success. Since then, the Astros have continued to dominate, leading to more people disliking them due to them being too good. Neal’s love for Harper stems from Harper being the former face of the franchise for his hometown Washington Nationals. In his tenure in Washington, Harper was a former MVP and led the Nats to the most playoff success (before the 2019 World Series) they had since relocating from Montreal to Washington. Due to his outstanding ability and charisma, Harper has accumulated an entourage of fans who want him to succeed no matter where he plays.

When asked what he thinks it takes for the Phillies to win this series, Neal jokingly responded, “Bryce Harper needs to go 4 for 4 every game.” Neal later implied that Harper needs to be “locked in” for the Phillies to win. So far, Harper’s postseason has been historic. He currently has an OPS of 1.236 (Top 20 all-time in a single postseason with a minimum 40 plate appearances) and has hit six home runs, leading all current players in the postseason. In the World Series, Harper has racked up four hits in five games, including a two-run homer that led to the Phillies’ Game 3 victory.

In addition to Harper, other Phillies such as Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos, and Alec Bohm are the reasons for Philly’s success. Schwarber has complemented Harper with his astonishing power while Realmuto, Castellanos, and Bohm have been great both offensively and defensively. These players and everyone else have allowed the team to decisively lead the postseason in home runs and RBIs. So far, the Phillies have hit a staggering 23 homers (7 more than Houston) and have 73 RBIs (25 more than Houston).

Philadelphia’s offensive production has been unmatched in the postseason and it would be the quintessential reason they win.

This series appears to be evenly matched as both teams have traded blow for blow after the first five games. Both Finan and Neal have gotten their wish, as this year’s fall classic has been great. However, each person’s World Series would be greater if their predecessor’s squad eventually fails.