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


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
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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How much does it cost to attend an Astros baseball game?

According to the just released 2023 Team Marketing Report of Fan Cost, a family of four has to shell out $343.72 at Minute Maid Park to catch a game. That’s the third-highest price tag in all of Major League Baseball, trailing only the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

This cost analysis data is courtesy of Sporting Post and runs a tab of four “non-premium” tickets, four hot dogs, two small beers, two small soft drinks, two team hats and one parking space.

Sporting Post put the average price for Astros tickets at $58.61 per person, hot dogs $6 each, small beers $7.50 each, small sodas $5.50 each, Astros caps $24.99 each and parking $9.30.

Let’s crunch the numbers and get real.

I do not sit in the press box with a media pass. I go to games and I pay for tickets. I do not pay $58 for a ticket, however. For example, right now you can go on the Astros website and buy tickets for the June 19th game against the Mets – upper deck behind first base, third row, on the aisle, for $37 each. They’re good seats. And you don’t have to deal with secondary market entrepreneurs.

I don’t need to buy an Astros hat, certainly not a new one each time I go to a game. I have never paid for parking. There’s free parking downtown after 7 p.m. and you can find a space if you’re willing to walk a few blocks. You probably can use the exercise. Plus, unlike some other MLB towns, public transportation will get you near the ballpark.

I buy a hot dog and soda. I know they’re overpriced but a dog and Coke (or beer) are part of the baseball experience. I’m worth it. Fans are allowed to bring food, in reasonable amounts, to Minute Maid Park. Hot dogs supposedly taste best at a ballpark. I’ve never heard that about a tuna fish sandwich. Minute Maid Park is not a high school cafeteria.

I’m not an Astros apologist for their high prices. But …

You want a winning team? Pretty things cost money. It’s the difference between going to dinner at McDonald’s or an upscale steakhouse. The Astros are filet mignon. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for a doggie bag.

Yes, it’s expensive to attend a game at Minute Maid Park, but the Astros are putting out a quality product. They’re the best thing going in Houston. Why stop there? The Astros are the most successful pro sports team in America over the past seven years. You know the numbers: four American League pennants, six ALCS appearances in a row, four World Series appearances and two championships.

You get what you pay for. You want the Astros to sign Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker and Framber Valdez to long-term deals? Those players won’t come cheap.

Signing slugging first baseman Jose Abreu to a three-year deal took a ton of money. OK, bad example. But you get my point.

It’s not like the Astros are printing money with their local TV contract, like the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox. The Dodgers’ deal is worth upwards of $250 million. The Astros deal with AT&T SportsNet is worth about $73 million. For comparison, the Rangers’ local TV deal is worth about $111 million. I get it, the Dallas designated market is larger than Houston, but it’s still annoying when Dallas gets anything bigger or better than us.

Astros fans love their team and show out. The Astros are averaging 37,111 fans so far this year. That’s in the upper echelon of baseball, and 4,000 more fans per game over last year.

According to Forbes, the Astros are worth $2.25 billion (with a B), up 14 percent from 2022. Jim Crane and his support group bought the Astros for $610 million (with an M) in 2011.

The cheapest deal in baseball is offered by the Baltimore Orioles. A family of four can attend an O’s game for $198, according to Sporting Post data.

Now we enter the Bizarro World, or as they call it out west, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The A’s charge the 11th highest prices to attend a game - $240 for a family of four to watch the historically awful A’s lose game after game after game after (tell me when to stop).

On the other hand, you can enjoy quiet private time with your spouse and children in the empty upper deck. The A’s are averaging only 8,600 “fans” per game.

You know me and attendance figures. I’m calling bull on 8,600 fans.

I’m saying more like 5,000 … and I’ll still take the under.

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