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.

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The Texans host the Steelers at NRG this Sunday. Composite Getty Image.

What: Texans vs. Steelers

When: 10/1 12pm CST kickoff

Where: Houston, TX NRG Stadium

TV/Radio: KHOU-TV, KILT-Radio

Betting Lines: Steelers -2.5 (-120), O/U 42 (-110) *As of this writing

The Watt Brother Bowl takes place on Sunday. I'm calling it that because the Texans are honoring their all-time great J.J. while they're playing his younger brother and current hell raising edge rusher for the Steelers T.J. The Steelers have won four of the last five matchups vs. the Texans by an average score of 28-17. The biggest difference is that the Steelers have a second year starter at quarterback in Kenny Pickett, and the Texans have a rookie in C.J. Stroud. When you look at the two quarterbacks, both organizations have full faith in each guy. Both teams have tried to build a defense to help their young signal callers. Both are still trying to surround their franchise guys with weapons.

When the Steelers have the ball: Here's a game where Will Anderson Jr can make headway as a proven EDGE. Stacking consistent performances together and helping your team win games by making winning plays. It helps that Pickett has tiny hands. This was a knock on him during draft season last year. Hand size for a quarterback impacts grip. That can not only impact accuracy, but it could make it easier to strip the ball from him.

While he doesn't have the weapons to torch this defense, Pickett does hand the ball off to Najee Harris who's more than capable. Averaging only 67 yards rushing as a team can't be taken lightly. Denzel Perryman is expected to miss the game Sunday, so hopefully that won't help jumpstart the Steelers' run game. The Texans defense will have to key in on the run, given that they average giving up 117 a game on the ground. Those aforementioned weapons may not be scary, but the injuries to the defensive backs has hurt. Tavierre Thomas is expected to miss the game recovering from hand surgery. Jimmie Ward coming back last week showed what happens when they have a top safety back there, especially when the pass rush is turning up. Hopefully, the Texans can capitalize again this week, with safety Jalen Pitre expected to return to action.

When the Texans have the ball: Good luck stopping Tank Dell and Stroud! These guys have already established themselves as a formidable duo three games into their careers. A great way to get that connection going is to pound the rock. The Steelers are giving up over 150 yards on the ground per game so far this season. That's also a good way to keep T.J. at bay while J.J. watches. With Laremy Tunsil and Josh Jones both expected to miss the game, here are the offensive line starters: Austin Deculus, Kendrick Green, Jarrett Patterson, Shaq Mason, and George Fant.

Making the younger Watt brother slow down a bit instead of going balls to the wall after Stroud because a run could be coming will help the pass game tremendously. Stroud will have to continue to make quick decisions, but even quicker this game. I wouldn't be surprised to see his first pick of his career here, given the pressure he's most likely to be under. Especially when your offensive line starters were mostly all backups to begin this season.

Outcome: I failed to place a money line bet on the Texans last week because the game started and the live bet wasn't as profitable. I wanted to take a chance on them given their recent record against the Jags. Looking at their last five vs. the Steelers, one would say why make that bet this week? It's because I believe in Stroud more than I believe in Pickett. While T.J. Watt is a different kind of monster, Will Anderson Jr is on his way to becoming something special. Texans win/cover, and hit the over, but barely: Texans 24, Steelers 20.

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