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's winning streak moves to six

Eighth-inning rally powers Astros to series sweep over Rangers

Yuli Gurriel brought in the go-ahead run late in Sunday's game. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Winners in the first three games of this series and their last five games overall, the Astros continued their climb towards the A's for first place in the AL West. They completed the four-game sweep, ending a successful homestand on a positive note before heading on the road.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 2

Astros' Record: 24-17, tied for first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brooks Raley (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Joely Rodriguez (1-2)

Astros strike first, McCullers Jr. goes six scoreless

After the Rangers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Houston grabbed an early lead off the bat of Alex Bregman. He provided the third single of the inning, a one-out RBI to put the Astros in front 1-0, a score which would hold steady for a while. Another run didn't come across until the bottom of the fifth when Houston would load the bases with one out when Carlos Correa would get an RBI groundball to double the lead to 2-0.

Lance McCullers Jr. did well with the small lead, backing up his recent eight-inning gem with a quality start against Texas. He allowed a couple of hits each in the third and fourth but would erase the runners with no damage allowed. The Rangers threatened in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double before the runner moved to third on a wild pitch, putting him in a great position with no outs. McCullers Jr. would come away unscathed, finishing the inning and his day by retiring the next three batters. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 95 P.

Rangers tie it against Scrubb

First out of Houston's bullpen was Andre Scrubb, and he would not fare as well as the Astros starter. A leadoff single turned into a two-run game-tying homer, making it 2-2 before Scrubb would sit down the next three in order. Still tied in the top of the eighth, Brooks Raley had a terrific inning, striking out the three batters he faced.

Houston rallies ahead in the eighth for the four-game sweep

The top of Houston's order mounted a threat in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out to try and regain the lead. Yuli Gurriel would come through with the go-ahead at-bat, getting a sac fly to put the Astros back in front 3-2. A two-out walk loaded the bases again, setting up Chas McCormick to provide two insurance runs on a two-RBI single.

Myles Straw added one more on an RBI single, making it a four-run game at 6-2 heading to the ninth. Enoli Paredes made his long-awaited return from the IL, appearing for the first time since April 8th to try and close things out in the ninth. He tossed a scoreless inning, finishing off the four-game sweep, extending Houston's winning streak to six games, and keeping them in step with Oakland for the AL West lead.

Up Next: After a day off on Monday, the Astros will begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday. They'll kick off a three-game set in Oakland against the A's at 8:40 PM, an exciting matchup to determine who will head into the weekend atop the division. While Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.08 ERA) is the expected starter for Houston, Oakland has not yet determined their rotation for the series.

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