Saturday, April 1 2023

How will this year’s World Series play out? Using the Dynasty League Baseball online simulation, USA TODAY Sports’ Steve Gardner and DLB designer Mike Cieslinski will pre-play each game to provide some insight into the key matchups and strategy fans can expect to see in the Fall Classic.

Sim Series Game 3: Astros’ turbocharged offense crushes Phillies’ hopes

A seven-run explosion in the sixth inning turned what looked like another close game into a full-on blowout as the Houston Astros demolished the Philadelphia Phillies 16-1 in Game 3 of USA TODAY Sports’ annual Simulated World Series.

Every Houston starter scored at least one run, while Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel all had four hits and three RBI to lead a 19-hit attack.

On the mound, Astros right-hander Lance McCullers (1-0) held the Phillies to one run and three hits over seven innings to help give his team a commanding 3-0 series lead.

BOX SCORE:  Astros 16, Phillies 1

FULL PLAY-BY-PLAY: Astros blow open close game with 7-run sixth

How it happened

The Phillies hoped to capture the momentum as the Sim Series moved to Philadelphia, sending veteran right-hander Noah Syndergaard to the mound. But just as they’d done in the first two games of the Sim Series, the Astros jumped out to an early lead.

Kyle Tucker led off the top of the second with a double that was just out of the reach of right fielder Nick Castellanos and Yuli Gurriel singled him in for a 1-0 lead. However, Syndergaard was able to limit the damage.

But the third, Syndergaard struck out Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña, only to have catcher J.T. Realmuto drop the ball – and compound his mistake by throwing the ball away trying to record the out at first base.

Things started to go sideways for the Phillies in the third inning of Game 3 when the Astros' Jeremy Pena reached first on a missed third strike by catcher J.T. Realmuto.Things started to go sideways for the Phillies in the third inning of Game 3 when the Astros' Jeremy Pena reached first on a missed third strike by catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Things started to go sideways for the Phillies in the third inning of Game 3 when the Astros’ Jeremy Pena reached first on a missed third strike by catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Yordan Alvarez promptly plated Peña with an RBI single and later scored on another Gurriel single.

McCullers didn’t allow a hit through the first five innings, and his teammates broke the game open in the top of the sixth. With Syndergaard (0-1) in hot water after loading the bases on two singles and a walk, reliever Zach Eflin turned the inning into a volcanic explosion.

Chas McCormick doubled in two runs, Martin Maldonado singled to score two more, and two batters later, Alvarez provided the crowning blow with yet another two-run double. Tucker, who opened the inning with a single, plated the final run of the frame with a run-scoring double of his own.

The Phillies did avoid the shutout when Realmuto connected for an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth, but it was far too little too late.

What to watch in (the actual) Game 3

Astros’ arms: The deeper the series goes, the more pronounced Houston’s advantage on the mound becomes. Despite pitching in only eight games and not making his season debut until August because of a flexor tendon injury, McCullers is a playoff veteran, making his 19th career appearance in the postseason (2.77 ERA in 68 1/3 innings).

Syndergaard, meanwhile, had a 3.94 ERA during the regular season, 4.12 in 10 games after being traded to Philadelphia. If Thor gets into any kind of trouble early, look for the Phillies to turn the game over to their rested bullpen.

Reverse splits: McCullers was especially tough on left-handed hitters this year, holding them to a .165/.302/.253 slash line over his 47 2/3 innings of work. That edge could be important when facing the likes of lefty sluggers Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper.

Quick launch: For the third time in as many Sim Series games, the Astros scored first – just two batters into the second inning.

The hits just keep on comin’: Clutch hitting may not be a repeatable skill, but give a team enough at-bats with runners on base and eventually they’ll do some serious damage. In Sim Series Game 3, the Astros totaled 19 hits and six walks. A huge reason they were able to score 16 runs was a 13-for-23 performance with runners in scoring position.

Colder weather effects: Without the benefit of a closed roof like the one in Houston, the games in Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park will be played in what figures to be typical late-October conditions for the Mid-Atlantic. Sim Series Game 3 was played in 49-degree weather, which did impact the carry of several fly balls. Despite all the scoring, there were no home runs hit in this season’s sixth-best park for homers.

Previous Sim Series results

Game 1: Astros 4, Phillies 3

Game 2: Astros 6, Phillies 5

Simulate your own World Series. Get a FREE one-month subscription to Dynasty League Baseball online by going to, selecting the monthly option and entering code USA2 at checkout.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: World Series Game 3 simulation: Astros blast Phillies in 16-1 rout

Source: Yahoo Sports


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