Houston looks to take a commanding 2-0 lead

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: ALDS Game 2 preview

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Astros got the job done on Friday. Justin Verlander outlasted Tyler Glasnow, and he was able to get the run support needed with some timely offense as Houston would take control of the game and go up 1-0 in the series. On Saturday night, they will look to repeat that success with Gerrit Cole on the mound. Here are the details you need to know about Game 2:

Game Facts

When: Saturday, 8:07 p.m.

Where: Minute Maid Park - Houston, Texas.

TV: FS1.

Streaming: Fox Sports App.

Pitching matchup: Gerrit Cole vs. Blake Snell.

Series: HOU leads 1-0.

Series schedule

Date & Time (Central)LocationPitching matchup
Game 1Astros 6, Rays 2Minute Maid Park, HoustonVerlander (W) vs. Glasnow (L)
Game 2Sat 10/5, 8:07 PMMinute Maid Park, HoustonCole vs. Snell
Game 3Mon 10/7, TBDTropicana Field, St. PetersburgGreinke vs Morton
Game 4*Tuesday 10/8, TBDTropicana Field, St. PetersburgTBD vs. TBD
Game 5*Thursday 10/10, TBDMinute Maid Park, HoustonTBD vs. TBD

* If necessary.
+ Projected starters.

Game Storylines

Another potential pitcher's duel

Obviously, on Houston's side, they have an ace-caliber pitcher in Gerrit Cole heading to the mound who has not lost a game since May 22nd. He's also on a streak of nine-straight games with double-digit strikeouts and has gone at least seven innings in four of his last five. He's one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, and the Astros have the luxury of starting him in Game 2.

That doesn't mean that the Astros have it easy at the plate, though, as they'll be going up against 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell. Much like Tyler Glasnow, Snell was one of Tampa Bay's strong arms sidelined during the year with an injury. He saw playing time in September, working his pitch count up to 62 in his last start of the regular season. While he hasn't had great success since returning to the rotation, he does possess the upside that could give Houston's bats trouble and create another tightly-contested game early in Saturday's game.

Opportunity for Houston to take control

In a best-of-five, going up 2-0 can be seen as momentous as taking a 3-0 lead in a seven-game series. Houston has that opportunity Saturday night, so look for them to continue to go after hard contact at the plate like they did in Game 1. If they can provide run support for Cole, they should be able to ride a lead to the end and put themselves in a position to only need one win out of the next three games to move on to the ALCS.

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

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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Houston gets another victory in Anaheim

Astros overpower Angels again as magic number dwindles

Kyle Tucker had 3 of Houston's RBI on Tuesday night, including a two-run homer. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

After a beatdown of the Angels on Monday in the opener, the Astros entered Tuesday's game looking to replicate that success. Though Los Angeles would put up more of a fight, Houston still used their potent offense to keep the game out of reach.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 90-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (8-3)

Losing Pitcher: Packy Naughton (0-3)

Houston's bats keep connecting to back up Urquidy

The Astros picked up on Tuesday's game where they left off on Monday, launching homers to take and extend a lead. A leadoff walk by Carlos Correa in the top of the second set up Kyle Tucker, who drove a two-run shot. Aledmys Diaz was next, making it back-to-back jacks to push the new lead to 3-0.

That gave Jose Urquidy a lead to work with, which came in handy as former Astro Jack Mayfield cut the lead to two runs with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the second. Other than that, Urquidy did well through five innings, allowing just two other hits over that span. LA got to him in the sixth, getting two singles to set up a three-run homer to end his night. His final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 79 P.

The runs keep coming

He would still leave in line for the win, though, as before that bottom of the sixth, the Astros had put up seven more runs across the fifth and sixth. A leadoff walk in the top of the fifth was followed by a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, then later in the frame, an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz made it 7-1. They pushed that to double digits in the sixth, with a leadoff solo shot by Martin Maldonado, a sac fly by Carlos Correa, and an RBI groundout by Kyle Tucker, putting them up 10-1 before the homer allowed by Urquidy cut that to 10-4.

Astros win to reduce magic number again

In the sixth, Cristian Javier took over for Urquidy, finished that inning, and returned for a scoreless seventh. He ran into Shohei Ohtani to lead off the bottom of the eighth and left a fastball in the zone, which Ohtani turned around 445 feet to make it a five-run game. Javier still got through the inning, leaving just the ninth for Houston's second reliever of the night, Josh James. James would get through a scoreless inning, erasing a leadoff walk as the lopsided win paired with an A's loss reduces Houston's magic number to 4.

Up Next: The third of this four-game series will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Wednesday. Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his third career start for the Angels, while Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) will have the ball for the Astros.

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