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.

TV: FOX.

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 loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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