Nola Phillies World Series
Before the clubhouse celebration unfolded following the clinching victory in National League Championship Series, skipper Rob Thomson looked for Aaron Nola and told him he was going to start Game 1 of the World Series. 

"He actually just told me right when we stormed the field after Ranger [Suarez] got that last out," Nola said with a smile. "We hugged each other, and he told me then." 

Nola, the Phillies' longest-tenured player, pieced together an outstanding performance on Oct. 3 in Houston, taking a perfect game into the seventh to help the club secure a playoff berth. He's also started five consecutive season openers and has been, for the most part, stellar in the postseason, his lone blemish coming in Game 2 of the NLCS. 

Going with Nola also allows Zack Wheeler an extra day of rest, and Wheeler posted a 2.02 ERA during the season when working with an extra day of rest, compared to a 3.66 ERA on regular rest. 

“I think the numbers speak to the fact that both [Wheeler] and Nola on an extra day’s rest, their numbers are a lot better,” Thomson said. “Any time we can give those guys an extra day, we’ll do it.”

The Astros will start Justin Verlander in Game 1 and Framber Valdez in Game 2. 

Verlander, 39, is a future Hall of Famer with an outstanding resume highlighted by a pair of Cy Youngs and an MVP Award. He posted a 1.75 ERA this season to go along with a 0.83 WHIP. The only knock on his career is his performance in the World Series, where he is 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA in seven career starts. 

"To do what he's doing at his age and how many seasons he's had, how many games he's pitched, it's incredible," Thomson said. "He's had an unbelievable career. He must stay in tremendous shape. 

"It's the big fastball, it's the big curveball, it's the poise he has on the mound and the competitive nature that he has that has kept him going. I know he's on the other club, but I have a ton of respect for just what he's done in his career." 

Phillies Roster Moves 
The Phillies added infielder Nick Maton and reliever Nick Nelson to their World Series roster, replacing Dalton Guthrie and Bailey Falter. Nola vs. Houston Aaron Nola is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA (12.2 IP, 0-ER) and 19 SO in two career regular season starts, scattering 6 hits and 1 BB. 

Verlander vs. Philadelphia 
Justin Verlander is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA (19-IP, 3-ER) in three career regular season starts against them and has an active scoreless streak of 13 IP. 

The Road to the Fall Classic 
The Phillies are only the fifth team in MLB history to start 21-29 or worse through their first 50 games and then make the World Series, joining the 2019 Nationals (19-31 start), 2005 Astros (18-32 start), 2003 Marlins (21-29) and 1914 Boston Braves (20-30). 

Win Differential 
The Astros went 106-56 and the Phillies went 87-75 in the regular season. According to Sarah Langs of, the 19-win difference marks the second largest in World Series history behind the Cubs (116-36) and White Sox (93-58) in 1906; the White Sox went on to win that World Series in 6 games (4-2).
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