Houston has a huge chance to tie the series

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: World Series Game 4 Preview

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With an impressive showing in the first game in D.C. on Friday in World Series Game 3, the Astros were able to get back into the series and avoid going down 3-0 and instead made it a 2-1 deficit. That makes Game 4 pivotal for both teams, as a victory for the Nationals puts them back in the driver's seat, while a win for Houston would give them the upper hand for the rest of the series. Here is a quick look at Saturday's crucial game in this series:

Game Facts

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

Where: Nationals Park - Washington, D.C.

TV: FOX.

Streaming: Fox Sports App.

Pitching matchup: Urquidy vs Corbin.

Series: Nationals lead 2-1.

Series schedule

Date & Time (Central)LocationPitching matchup
Game 1Nationals 5, Astros 4Minute Maid Park, Houston TXCole (L) vs Scherzer (W)
Game 2Nationals 12, Astros 3Minute Maid Park, Houston TXVerlander (L) vs Strasburg (W)
Game 3Astros 4, Nationals 1Nationals Park, Washington D.C.Greinke (ND) vs Sanchez (L)
Game 4Saturday 10/26, 7:07 PMNationals Park, Washington D.C.Urquidy vs Corbin
Game 5Sunday 10/27, 7:07 PMNationals Park, Washington D.C.Cole vs Scherzer+
Game 6*Tuesday, 10/29, 7:07 PMMinute Maid Park, Houston TXVerlander vs Strasburg+
Game 7*Wednesday 10/30, 7:08 PMMinute Maid Park, Houston TXGreinke vs Sanchez+

* If necessary
+ Projected Starters

Game Storylines

A massive opportunity for Houston

As stated earlier, this game is crucial on both sides. If Houston loses, they are down 3-1 and will have to win the final three games of the series. However, if they can steal another game on the road, then the odds shift back to being in their favor in a big way. Despite the horrible start to the series by losing the first two games at home, that's what this series could become: a best-of-three.

While the first two starts with Cole and Verlander on the mound did not go their way, they remain the two aces you want to have at your disposal in a best-of-three situation. They've already won their way to another start with Cole; now, they need to push the series back to Houston for at least another game to get to Verlander. With that hard-earned opportunity on the horizon, the Astros should do all they can to continue the momentum they created in Game 3 to stay in the win column.

How deep can Urquidy go?

Before they can start thinking about coming back to Houston with a chance to win the series, though, they'll have to take care of business on Saturday in what is expected to be a bullpen day. It starts with Jose Urquidy, who the Astros have given the nod as the starter in the game. After being in consideration to start ALCS Game 6, Houston's last bullpen day, the Astros instead sent Brad Peacock to the mound to start the game. Peacock would provide 1.2 innings in that game while allowing a run, while later in the game, Urquidy would impress with 2.2 innings while allowing just one run on a solo homer.

While the Astros will have all hands on deck in terms of their bullpen, it would be a massive benefit if Urquidy can come out hot and eat up several innings and into the middle innings or beyond. Not only would that improve their chances of winning Game 4, but it would also help keep their bullpen usage manageable for the rest of the series behind starts by Cole, Verlander, and Greinke, depending on how far the series goes.

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 is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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