Houston will look to Verlander to try and even the series

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: World Series Game 2 Preview

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Coming in as heavy favorites to win the series, and with their hottest pitcher on the mound at home in Game 1, the Game 1 loss by the Astros to the Nationals is a disappointment. However, the Astros are no strangers to this situation, having experienced a similar situation in ALCS Game 1 against the Yankees.

Just like in that series, they have Justin Verlander at home in Game 2 to even the series and shift the momentum back their way. Here is a quick look at World Series Game 2:

Game Facts

When: Wednesday, 7:07 p.m Central.

Where: Minute Maid Park - Houston, Texas.


Streaming: Fox Sports App.

Pitching matchup: Verlander vs Strasburg.

Series: Nationals lead 1-0.

Series schedule

Date & Time (Central)LocationPitching matchup
Game 1Nationals 5, Astros 4Minute Maid Park, Houston TXCole vs Scherzer
Game 2Wednesday 10/23, 7:07 PMMinute Maid Park, Houston TXVerlander vs Strasburg
Game 3Friday 10/25, 7:07 PMNationals Park, Washington D.C.Greinke+ vs Sanchez+
Game 4Saturday 10/26, 7:07 PMNationals Park, Washington D.C.TBD vs TBD
Game 5*Sunday 10/27, 7:07 PMNationals Park, Washington D.C.TBD vs TBD
Game 6*Tuesday, 10/29, 7:07 PMMinute Maid Park, Houston TXTBD vs TBD
Game 7*Wednesday 10/30, 7:08 PMMinute Maid Park, Houston TXTBD vs TBD

* If necessary
+ Projected Starters

Game Storylines

Another terrific pitching matchup

Although the Game 1 matchup between Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer ended up yielding more runs than predicted, Game 2 offers another chance for two high-caliber pitchers to hold the opposing lineup at bay. The Nationals will look to Stephen Strasburg to try and steal both road games in Houston before going back to Nationals Park. Including a three-inning appearance out of the bullpen in the Wild Card game, Strasburg has thrown 22 innings in the postseason while allowing five runs (four earned). He is, however, coming off his best start of the bunch, a seven-inning shutout performance against the Cardinals in the NLCS, where he struck out twelve.

Houston will trust the ball with their potential Cy Young winner and co-ace, Justin Verlander. Unlike Strasburg, who is coming off his best start, Verlander will be looking to right the ship after a horrible first inning in the Bronx in ALCS Game 5 where he allowed four runs on two homers to the Yankees, which would ultimately be the undoing of the Astros in that game. Verlander did leave that game with something to build on, finishing his next six innings scoreless. He will look to have a game more like his first of this postseason, a seven-inning one-hit outing against the Rays in ALDS Game 1.

Houston must do more with their opportunities

While the Nationals scoring five runs on Gerrit Cole was undoubtedly impressive and ultimately earned them the win in World Series Game 1, it was Houston being unable to take advantage of critical opportunities that left them coming up short in the game. When it was all said and done, Houston was 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position, leaving eleven runners on base, which is monumental in a game that would be decided by just one run.

On the positive side, the Astros had two big healthy signs at the plate in the loss on Tuesday with George Springer looking like the offensive force he was in the 2017 World Series, along with Yordan Alvarez, who went 2-for-3 with a walk in a possibly slum-breaking game. To take Game 2 and even the series, they will have to convert more scoring opportunities.

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 back in the win column

Astros end six-game skid thanks to a gem by Greinke

Zack Greinke tossed a gem Saturday night. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After the Mariners roared back Friday night to get a walk-off win over the Astros, dashing their hopes of ending their losing streak, Houston tried to even the series with a win on Saturday night with their ace Zack Greinke on the mound. Greinke would do his part, throwing a terrific game, and the Astros would squeak out one run, which was enough to get back in the win column.

Final Score: Astros 1, Mariners 0

Astros' Record: 7-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Chris Flexen (1-1)

Plenty of hits, but only one run

Although the Astros were racking up hits against Chris Flexen, they had little to show for it. Eight different batters would notch ten hits against him, but the only time it amounted to a run was on a two-out RBI-single by Taylor Jones in the top of the fourth, giving Houston a 1-0 lead.

Greinke spins a gem

Luckily for them, Zack Greinke was making it look like that would be enough. He cruised through the Mariners all night, allowing just four hits while giving up zero runs along with six strikeouts, one of which moved him past 2,700 on his career. He could have attempted to finish the complete-game shutout, but at 91 pitches after eight, Dusty Baker opted to bring in closer Ryan Pressly for the ninth. Greinke's final line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 91 P.

Houston finally ends their losing streak

With the high-leverage save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered to hold on to the one-run lead. He would do his job, finishing off the win for Greinke and putting an end to Houston's disappointing losing streak.

Up Next: The third and final game of this series will get underway at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will look to make a rebound from his disappointing first start with the Astros, while the Mariners will start Nick Margevicius (0-1, 7.04 ERA).

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