Houston looks to take a commanding 2-0 lead

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

Gerrit Cole
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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The Braves blew the game open against Hader on Monday night. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

When the Astros signed Josh Hader to anchor the back of the bullpen with Ryan Pressly and Bryan Abreu, we thought the club might have the best 'pen in MLB.

But at this early stage in the season, nobody is confusing these guys with Octavio Dotel, Brad Lidge, and Billy Wager.

Heading into the ninth inning on Monday night, the Astros handed the ball to Hader trailing the Braves 2-1. Instead of keeping the game close and giving the Astros' offense one more chance, the Braves teed off on the closer putting the game out of reach and ultimately winning 6-1.

Hader has one save on the season with an ERA over nine. Which has us wondering, do the Astros have a Hader problem?

Don't miss the video above as ESPN Houston's John Granato and Lance Zierlein weigh in!

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