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.

TV: FOX.

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.

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Jose Urquidy is a surprising choice to start Game 2. Photo by Getty Images.

After a long and tumultuous season, the Houston Astros made it to their 3rd World Series in five years and will take on the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night.

Houston had the better overall regular season record, so games 1 & 2 will be played at Minute Maid Park while games 3-5 will be held at Truist Park in Atlanta.

(If necessary, the final two contests will be played back at Minute Maid Park).

The Braves got this far by defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in the ALDS 3-1 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games (4-2).

Atlanta prevailed with timely hitting from guys like Joc Pederson, Austin Riley and Eddie Rosario performing like an MVP this postseason.

The Braves received solid pitching outings from guys like Ian Anderson, Max Fried and former Astro Charlie Morton.

Atlanta used clutch hitting and solid pitching to make to their first World Series since 1999.

Meanwhile, the Astros made it back to the World Series by defeating the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS 3-1 and out-slugged the Red Sox four games to two.

According to Fox Bet, the Astros are favored at -154 to win the World Series. This is certainly an obtainable goal for Houston's team as they have the experience, hitting and pitching to compete with anyone.

Can Houston's bats stay hot?

The most intriguing matchup this series will be the Astros' bats facing off against this Braves pitching staff. On paper, Houston's lineup seems to be favored for their depth. Jose Altuve at the top of the batting order is always a threat to get on base, and behind him are a plethora of hitters who can drive in multiple runs.

The two best bats this postseason thus far for the Astros are ALCS MVP Yordan Alvarez (.522 batting average) and this year's American League batting title champion Yuli Gurriel (.455 batting average). The Cuban natives have lit up pitching and will look to continue their torrid hitting in the World Series.

Other Astros who could be impactful at the plate against the Braves include Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker. All three of their batting average's in the .200's respectfully and could come up big at any time.

This lineup is so deep, Atlanta's pitchers won't receive many breaks, if at all this series.

Will the pitching step up again?

Losing Lance McCullers Jr. for the World Series certainly isn't ideal, but not impossible to overcome as proven in the ALCS against the Red Sox.

Framber Valdez pitched the best game of his career when he threw 8 innings and surrendered only one run in Game 3, while Luis Garcia had his best start of the postseason and received the Game 6 win. Both of these pitchers have stepped up in McCullers' absence and will have a huge impact on the series. Valdez is set to start Game 1 on Tuesday night.

If Jose Urquidy and Zack Greinke can also pitch deeper into games, there will be less stress on the bullpen and give the Astros a better chance to stay in games. And we won't have to wait long to see Urquidy, as he will start Game 2, according to Astros manager Dusty Baker.

In an ideal scenario, the Astros' starting pitchers should throw six innings of work and let Kendall Graveman, Ryne Stanek and Ryan Pressly closeout games as they have all season.

Of course this is the best-case scenario, which doesn't always happen, but other arms can be used to bridge the gaps that include Phil Maton, Yimi Garcia in short relief outings and Cristian Javier and Jake Odorizzi can pitch multiple innings if needed.

Even if a starter has a clunker of a start, this bullpen has done a great job of keeping things close and setting up the Astros for success.

Will this be Carlos Correa's "Last Dance" with Astros?

One can only imagine what is going on in Carlos Correa's mind right now. No one is implying that the free agent to be will not be focused this series, but it's hard to fathom this upcoming offseason isn't a distraction right now.

The 27-year-old shortstop is set to receive multiple offers from different teams and land one of the richest contracts once this season concludes.

If this truly is his final season with the Astros, why not go out on top and win one more title before moving on?

Let's hope this "Last Dance" for Correa is a slow one, so we can all enjoy it a little longer.

Will Dusty's experience prove to be a difference-maker?

Dusty Baker's experience could be beneficial for Houston's chances of hoisting another trophy as he has managed teams in parts of 24 seasons.

He's the only skipper to ever lead five franchises to the postseason and obtain more than 2,000 career victories.

This is the second time he as taken a club to the World Series. He took the 2002 San Francisco Giants to the Fall Classic but lost to the Angels in seven games.

It's safe to assume the 72-year-old seems eager to win his first championship as a manager to cap off a Hall of Fame career.

Final projection

As previously mentioned, the Astros are favored to win this series. If Houston can continue to stay hot at the plate, receive solid outings from their pitchers and just play Astros baseball, there is a good chance this city will have yet another Commissioner's Trophy in their display case.

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