Time for new ‘Mr. November’ reign? The candidates …

HOUSTON — Mark those calendars. Because no matter who wins Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, history will be made.

Game 6 between the Astros and Phillies on Nov. 5 will be the deepest into a year that a Major League Baseball game is played. The previous record was Nov. 4, which was reached in 2001 (D-backs over Yankees in Game 7) and 2009 (Yankees over Phillies in Game 6).

• World Series Game 6, presented by Capital One: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET/7 CT on FOX

Between the unusual lockout schedule in 2022, the mid-Series rainout that moved everything back a day and the possibility of a Game 7 on Sunday, this record has the potential to last a while. As a matter of fact, this will be the only World Series in which the majority of games (all but two) are played in the month known more for the crack of the Thanksgiving wishbone than the crack of the bat.

Now, given that this is the most November-centric World Series of the 118 to be played, it seems reasonable to suggest that one of these players on the Phillies or ‘Stros ought to emerge as a new, true “Mr. November.”

Oh, we know what you’re thinking. We already have a Mr. November! That’s Derek Jeter, who not only became the first MLB batter at the plate in the month of November during Game 4 of that epic ’01 World Series but hit an incredible walk-off home run — a healing moment for New York City in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Derek Jeter becomes Mr. November
But while Jeter is currently tied for the record for November games played (six) and currently holds the record for November hits (eight), his signature moment in the month is statistically linked to Oct. 31, not Nov. 1, because that was the official game date.

Is that enough to strip Jeter of the title? Well, no, not really. But Jeter has another, more meaningful nickname (“The Captain”), so … he can at least share this one, OK?

As we go into Game 6 (the 16th November game in history), here are some guys from this 2022 World Series with the potential to be “Mr. November.”

(All performances from Games 1 and 2, which were played in October, are disregarded from this very important exercise.)

Cristian Javier, Astros

At the moment, it’s tough to top Javier’s case after he threw the first six innings of the Astros’ historic combined no-hitter in Game 4. Javier was utterly brilliant, befuddling the Phillies with his “invisible” fastball in what was not a mathematical must-win but was pretty darn close.

Javier’s six no-hit innings
Javier did give up two runs in relief in Game 6 of the World Series last November, but we feel he’s atoned for that. He actually now holds the record for most career strikeouts in November, with 12. The X-factor is the possibility of a Game 7 and the possibility that Javier would start said game. If that happens, Javier’s final “Mr. November” case would hang in the balance. (And so would the Series, by the way.)

Kyle Schwarber, Phillies

Like a few of the Astros (who we’ll get to in a minute), Schwarber came into this Series having played two November games. He was prominently involved in that thrilling 2016 World Series between his Cubs and Cleveland. He went 4-for-9 with a walk in those games. In Game 3 of this Series, he hit a mammoth 443-foot homer into the batter’s eye greenery at Citizens Bank Park, then went deep again in Game 5. That puts Schwarber one homer away from tying Chase Utley’s November record of three.

Kyle Schwarber’s leadoff jack
Plus, research confirms that “Schwarber” and “November” both end in “ber” (which ought to count for something but probably doesn’t).

Jeremy Peña, Astros

Peña had never played in a November game prior to this year. Wait, check that, he had never played in any Major League game prior to this year!

That can’t possibly be true, because Peña has looked completely comfortable on this Series stage. And in the three games played this month, he is 6-for-12 with a homer, a walk, two RBIs and two runs. Plus, he’s a shortstop, and 100% of people known as “Mr. November” have been shortstops. You can look it up.

Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm and Brandon Marsh, Phillies

Like Schwarber, these Phillies have all gone deep in a November game in this Series, and that’s a decent starting point, though they’ll obviously have to do much more soon.

Bryce Harper’s two-run jack

For now, bonus points to Marsh and Harper for taking the “No-Shave November” idea to an all-year extreme.

Framber Valdez, Astros

Coming off three October postseason starts in which he allowed just three earned runs with 24 strikeouts in 19 innings, the left-handed Valdez is taking the ball with the World Series on the line in Game 6.

What’s more, he was born in November (on the 19th, if you want to send him a birthday card)!

Seranthony Domínguez, Phillies

The only other November birthday boy on these rosters (on the 25th), and his role as the man most likely to have the ball in hand if the Phillies are trying to close out their first World Series title since 2008 speaks for itself.

Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel, Astros

As the only members of the Astros to have played in both of the club’s previous November games — Game 7 in 2017 and Game 6 last year — these three guys are all going to tie the record held by Jeter and Jorge Posada for most November games played (six) in Game 6.

Alex Bregman’s two-run double
Alas, they haven’t yet done as much with the opportunity as Jeter did. Altuve is just 4-for-20 with a triple, Bregman is just 2-for-17 with a double, and Gurriel is just 4-for-19 with a double (and is currently nursing knee soreness). But all of them had at least one hit in Game 5. If they want this much-coveted nickname (and you know, in their hearts, they do), they are going to have to ride that momentum Saturday.

Will Smith, Astros

The veteran lefty reliever holds a much lower-leverage spot in this Astros bullpen than he did with the Braves one year ago. Smith has yet to even pitch in this postseason.

But we do need to keep him in mind just in case a game gets kind of goofy (likely, in extras) and Smith somehow has a chance to become the first reliever to close out the World Series in November two years in a row. He got the final outs for the Braves on Nov. 2, 2021.

The Field

One can’t possibly predict what magic November moment awaits us and who will provide it. Were someone to hit a ninth-inning, go-ahead or walk-off homer in a Series clincher, for instance, that person would have a pretty strong claim to the “Mr. November” title.

It’s either that or “Captain Clutch” … although we hear that name’s already taken, too.