HOUSTON (AP)The Houston Astros have had a lot of extra days off this postseason. When the first pitch is thrown in the World Series on Friday night, it will be only their eighth game in 23 days.
The new expanded playoffs this year gave the 106-win Astros a first-round bye and five-day break after the regular season. Then they swept the best-of-three AL Division Series before a four-game sweep in the AL Championship Series.
”It’s been crazy being off so much,” Astros outfielder Jake Meyers said. ”It’s definitely something a little bit different, especially comparative to the regular season.”
The National League champion Phillies have played more, including an extra postseason series, but still only averaged a game every two days. They had 11 games in 22 days before the start of the World Series, sweeping a wild-card series before playing four games in the NLDS and wrapping up the NLCS in Game 5.
Both teams did have the same amount of time off between their championship series and the World Series.
Philadelphia wrapped up the NLCS with a win at home against San Diego on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Hours later, in a game that didn’t start on time because of weather in New York, the Astros completed their ALCS sweep of the Yankees.
The Game 1 starters for the World Series will both pitch eight days after their last starts. Astros ace Justin Verlander was the winner against New York in Game 1 of the ALCS on Oct. 19, the same day Aaron Nola lost to the Padres in Game 2 of the NLCS.
Nola and Verlander pitched in different games when the Phillies finished the regular season with a series in Houston more than three weeks ago.
Verlander struck out 10 while pitching five hitless innings against Philadelphia on Oct. 4, and the Astros bullpen didn’t give up a hit until the ninth in a 10-0 win. That was a night after Nola took a perfect game in the seventh inning of the series opener before giving up two hits in a 3-0 win that clinched the Phillies’ first playoff berth in 11 years.
”It’s kind of fun walking into that locker room because that’s where we clinched,” said Zack Wheeler, who will start Game 2 of the World Series. ”It still smells a little bit in there. So that’s always kind of cool.”
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