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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The Rockets selected Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.

The city of Houston can finally rejoice as Jalen Green was selected as the number two pick by the Rockets at the 2021 NBA Draft. It was already suspected that the Rockets would draft Green from past reports. Shams Charania of The Athletic already reported that the Rockets narrowed their decision down to Green.

Green is an explosive shooting guard that can get in-and-out amongst the perimeter and paint. With the G-League Ignite, he averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He is an excellent free throw shooter at 82.9 percent. Like James Harden, he is incredibly good at getting to the free throw line. Green has a good trigger from three by shooting 36.5 percent on 5.7 attempts a game. His mature status since high school has prepared him for the NBA.

"His down-hill playmaking is really hard to guard", as Joey Fucca, his ex-coach told TDS. "If he says he's going to get to the rim, good luck. He is very good at getting to the free throw line, he is also very explosive to finish above the rim. When his three ball is on, you're just going to have a long night. I wouldn't be excited to guard him."

Green has blistering speed with outstanding handles to blow by his defenders and score. Spectators have compared Green to a younger Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Bradley Beal, and Zach Lavine, which are superstar players. He is a particularly good midrange shooter underneath the perimeter, as he shot 35 percent on a small quantity of attempts in a shorter season.

"Jalen is a uniquely blessed guy. He's a transcendent athlete," as Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. "He can handle the ball, and he can shoot. Normally, people that athletic aren't as skilled. We think that combination of tools makes him an extraordinarily exciting prospect."

During his press conference on Thursday night, Green emphasized the achievements he wants to accomplish with the Rockets. Green even discussed his desire of being a better defender, as he wants to continue to get better. He has a great wingspan and lateral movement to stay with opposing players on defense and be disruptive in the passing lanes.

"They're going to say it's a great choice," Green said. "Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defense, max contract. We're doing it big."

"Yeah, I think I can be that piece. I think I'm going to bring that dominant mentality, that defensive mindset…They already got a lot of star players"

As the draft continued, the Rockets sent future draft picks from the Wizards to land the 16th pick in the draft, which was 6'10 Alperen Sengun from Turkey. The 16th pick did belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder until Rafael Stone executed an interesting deal with Sam Presti.

"We did not think he would fall to us at 23, so we were really aggressive to try and move up all throughout the first round to acquire him," as Stone said.

Sengun's abilities on the court revolve around his post ups and skillful passing. He even maintains good feet along the baseline. In his press conference, he mentioned his passing skills can become better. There are clips of him looking impressive on shovel passes, passing the ball behind his back, and finding the cutting man towards the basket. Sengun looked good in double teams by showing he can still find the open man with his back turned.

While playing in the Turkish Super League, Sengun was an MVP at 18-years-old, averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assist, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He could be another huge figure next to Christian Wood on the court, and a safety blanket for the Rockets if they cannot bring back Kelly Olynyk.

Usman Garbua is similar to former Rocket Luc Mbah a Moute. He is 6'8 with a tremendous wingspan at 7'3 and can guard anyone on the court, which is 1-5. Garbua was seen guarding Kevin Durant in the Team USA vs. Spain matchup and had interesting battles. The Rockets will get a ton of energy out of the 19-year-old player. He knows how to run the floor in transition, so he can finish around the rim. As I see it, he could be on a defensive first team in the future as he matures more. Garbua will become a defensive nightmare against opposing players.

"I think he's the best defender in the world outside of the NBA, and he's just 19 years old," Stone said. "I think he potentially could be really, really impactful on that side of the ball."

As the Rockets made their last selection, they selected Green's AAU buddy, Josh Christopher from Arizona State. He impressed a ton of scouts during his draft workouts and scrimmage against other prospects. Christopher had a double-double during his third scrimmage, which was 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is a very shifty guard with a ferocious step back.

While playing with the Sun Devils, he averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field. Just like Green, he loved the midrange opportunities, as he shot 49.6 percent underneath the perimeter. He is another shifty big body the Rockets will have in their back court at 6'5. Christopher is very good at rebounding and playing defense. Stone loves watching him in defensive one-on-one situations. Christopher has Sixth Man of the Year written all over him because of his stocky body type and upside.

Hopefully, the Rockets have an exciting summer league and training camp along with their season.

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