Houston can take control of the series with a win

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: World Series Game 5 Preview

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After two games, the World Series seemed lost for the Houston Astros. They had lost two games at home with their best pitchers on the mound, and their potent offense that dominated the regular season looked lost at the plate. Now, after getting two huge wins in D.C., the Astros are back in the series with a chance to take control if they can win two fo the next three. Here is a quick rundown of Game 5 of the fall classic that will take place Sunday night:

Game Facts

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

Where: Nationals Park - Washington, D.C.


Streaming: Fox Sports App.

Pitching matchup: Cole vs Scherzer.

Series: tied 2-2.

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 4Astros 8, Nationals 1Nationals Park, Washington D.C.Urquidy (W) vs Corbin (L)
Game 5Sunday 10/27, 7:07 PMNationals Park, Washington D.C.Cole vs Scherzer
Game 6Tuesday, 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 chance for the Astros to reverse the Game 1 loss

Washington came out of the gate in the World Series firing, and that resulted in a Game 1 win that shocked many. After starting the postseason 3-0 with three dominant starts, Cole looked shaken as he would allow five runs in his start against the Nationals at Minute Maid Park. Those five runs would prove to be the difference in a night where the Astros would come up one run short in the 5-4 loss.

Max Scherzer, meanwhile, allowed just two runs over five innings of work in a start that would earn him a win. Much has changed since the first game of this series, namely: the Astros look like the team that won 107 games in the regular season and won the ALCS against arguably the second-best team in the league. They will have to do better on both sides of the ball in Game 5 to put themselves in position to win their second World Series in three years; a dominant start from Gerrit Cole that goes deep into the game, and an improved offense that gets after and knocks out Scherzer early.

Houston has to keep the offense rolling

If they're going to get to Scherzer and knock him out early, the Astros will have to repeat the success they've had in Games 3 and 4. Several players have stepped up and contributed in the two wins and can easily be the difference in Game 5 with a few swings of the bat. Jose Altuve has been incredible in the postseason, getting a hit in all but one of Houston's games. Michael Brantley has had two great games, going 5-for-9 in D.C. to help spark the revitalized offense that has tied the series.

Then there's Alex Bregman. In an unusual slump in the 2019 postseason, he delivered one of the biggest hits of the series with the grand slam in Game 4, which blew open the game that would eventually be an Astros win. Him getting on a roll and coming through with big moments like that could be the difference in the final games of this series, so Houston needs him to stay loose and confident. While it will be no easy task against Scherzer, the key for Game 5 will be once again getting an early lead to control the momentum of the game, so look for Houston to try and manufacture some runs in the top of the first to quiet the crowd in D.C.

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.

Alvarez is the third in franchise history to get the award

Astros' Yordan Alvarez wins AL Rookie of the Year

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

As expected, the MLB announced on Monday that the winner of the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year Award is Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros. It comes as no surprise, considering Alvarez's performance since being called up on June 9th of this season was powerful, to say the least. He beats out the two other finalists: John Means of the Baltimore Orioles and Brandon Lowe of the Tampa Bay Rays.

After dominating at the AAA level for the Round Rock Express where he led the minors in home runs (23) and RBIs (71) while hitting for a .343 average and 1.184 OPS over his 56 games before being promoted to the major leagues, he brought the same power to Houston's lineup. He wasted no time showing what he was capable of, notching his first career home run in his second at-bat at Minute Maid Park in his debut game.

He followed that by hitting home runs in four of his first five games and going on to slash .317 / .406 / .733 for a 1.139 OPS from his debut through the end of June, tenth best in all of the majors over that span. Though he finished the month with seven homers in just 60 at-bats, he also maintained his ability to drive in runs, notching 21 RBIs in his first sixteen games. He slowed down slightly in July, banging just five homers in 75 ABs to go along with 15 RBIs, though increasing his average to .333.

He picked the power back up in August and September, though, finishing the final two months of the regular season with a combined 15 home runs and 42 RBIs over 178 at-bats. That ended his regular season with 27 homers, 78 RBIs, a 1.067 OPS, and .313 average, a line that would have been decent for a full season, much less one that started in early June. One of the shining moments of his debut year came in the matchup with the Orioles on August 10th, a night when the Astros put up a franchise-record 23 runs, seven of which came off the bat of Alvarez on a three-homer night including a grand slam.

Although not factored into the voting, Alvarez did contribute in the postseason for Houston, though not at the same level as his regular-season numbers. He had just one home run in the playoffs, a two-run blast in World Series Game 5 against the Nationals in D.C. to help Houston take that game 7-1. He had just one other RBI in October, in ALDS Game 1 against the Rays, giving him just three total along with the one homer to leave his postseason stat line as something to improve on.

Nonetheless, Alvarez's power is something that Houston will gladly put in their DH spot as long as he can continue to drive in runs and be a difference-maker in a game with one swing of his hefty bat. Yordan is the third player in franchise history to win the Rookie of the Year award, joining Jeff Bagwell, who took home the honor for the National League in 1991 and Carlos Correa, who also won in the American League in 2015. The future is bright for this left-handed slugger and the Houston Astros as a result.

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