A chance for Houston to go up 2-0

ALDS Game 2 Preview: Astros vs. A's

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After facing a 3-0 deficit in Game 1, Houston's offense roared to life to double up the A's 10-5 to start the ALDS with a win. The Astros now have the opportunity to sit squarely in the driver's seat if they can take the commanding 2-0 lead in the series with a victory in Tuesday's Game 2. Here are some quick facts about the game:

Game Facts

When: Tuesday October 6th, 3:37 PM Central

Where: Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, California

TV: TBS

Streaming: Watch TBS App

Pitching Matchup: Framber Valdez vs. Sean Manaea.

Series: HOU leads 1-0.

Series Schedule

Date & TIme (Central)Pitching MatchupHome Team
Game 1Astros 10, A's 5Lance McCullers Jr. vs Chris BassittA's
Game 2Tue 10/6, 3:37 PMFramber Valdez vs. Sean ManaeaA's
Game 3Wed 10/7, 2:35 PMTBD vs TBDAstros
Game 4*Thu 10/8, 2:35 PMTBD vs TBD
Astros
Game 5*Fri 10/9, 2:35 PMTBD vs TBDA's

All games played at Dodger Stadium.

* If necessary

Game Storylines

Houston needs to get to Manaea and keep Oakland's bullpen on their heels

Sean Manaea had just two starts of six or more innings in the 2020 regular season: a six-inning three-run start against the Dodgers on September 23rd, and a seven-inning one-run start against the Astros on September 10th. He allowed runs in every game and went five innings or less in seven out of eleven.

Houston can grab significant control of this series if they can knock Manaea out early. Oakland had to use seven relievers in Game 1, so they will not only be hard-pressed to finish another long bullpen game, but it could weaken their bullpen to dangerous levels for games three and beyond, if necessary. It starts with George Springer, after a 4-for-5 day and RBI in Game 1, who can set the tone early with a big swing to start the game.

Take what Valdez gives you

Oakland got after Lance McCullers Jr. in a hurry in Game 1, especially the second time through the order. He allowed eight hits to Oakland over his four innings, while Houston's bullpen held the A's hitless over their five, allowing just one baserunner via a walk. Things may go differently for Framber Valdez, Houston's best pitcher of late, including getting the win in five innings of relief for Zack Greinke in ALWC Game 1. In ALDS Game 2, the Astros should take what Valdez can give them, then trust their bullpen to take it the rest of the way.

Be sure to check SportsMap after the final out for an in-depth recap of the game, and follow me on Twitter for updates and reactions throughout each playoff game: @ChrisCampise

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TEXANS HAVE ZERO DEPTH AT CORNER

Here's what Davante Adams' big day against the Texans really proved

Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Seven weeks into the season, Bradley Roby has been the sole bright spot playing for a secondary that has been subpar at best. He entered Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers trailing only Eric Murray for the most tackles as a defensive back, while owning the Houston Texans' only interception of the season.

During his media availability on Thursday, Roby spoke about having the Texans' confidence to trust him as the primary defender shadowing the opposing team's best receiver.

And with Davante Adams coming to NRG Stadium with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, Roby had an opportunity to illustrate why Houston's coaching staff have so much faith in him.

Three plays into the game, Roby sustained a knee injury that sidelined him the rest of the afternoon. In his absence, the Texans felt his importance competing with a depleted secondary.

Adams would go on to have a career day against the Texans. He recorded a career-best 196 receiving yards on 13-of-18 targets and two touchdowns — as the Packers handed the Texans a 35-20 loss on Sunday.

Had the Fort Worth native avoided the injury, would it have resulted in a victory for the Texans? Perhaps not. It is always hard for a team to come away victorious after going scoreless during the first half, but Roby would have limited the destruction caused by Adams. Rogers completed four deep passes where he recorded 28 or more yards, with Adams being the recipient of three.

Not only did Houston have to deal with the effects of not having their best corner shadow one of the league's premier receivers, but the team was not prepared to battle without Roby, according to Michael Thomas following the loss.

"When you lose your starting corner like that, it's going to affect [the team]," Thomas said. "Anytime you have to make adjustments. If you're not prepared, and you don't have the right mindset, then you're probably not going to get the right results you want. Maybe we could have done it a little sooner, but you definitely miss a guy like Roby. You plan on having your number one guy go against their number one guy all the time."

Roby's premature exit left the Texans with a gaping void to slowdown Rodgers and the Packers without two of their projected starting corners. Gareon Conley — who revived his career during the second half of last season — has yet to play a single snap for Houston in 2020 as he continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery.

Their lackluster performance on Sunday showcased the lack of depth and talent the Texans have in the secondary. And with the trade deadline a week away, it may be in the Texans' best interest to invest in a young defensive back they can build around in the future — especially considering the timetable on Conley's return remains unknown.

Interim head coach Romeo Crennel said on Monday that the team is hoping Roby's injury is short-term and hopes to have their top corner make his return following the bye.

At 1-6 on the year, all the Texans have left to play for is pride as they close out the remaining nine games of the season, and the best way is to prevent another receiver from recording nearly 200 yards in a single game.

For this vulnerable secondary, it is a feat easier said than done. And with the talents of Jarvis Landry, T.Y. Hilton, and A.J. Brown remaining on the schedule, it is only best for Roby to make his return to the field sooner rather than later.

"I take pride in it. It's an opportunity that not a lot of guys get throughout the league, and I'm thankful for that. Just to be able to go against the best and try my best for the team and see how I match up. I'm very thankful for that." — Roby.

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