Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
After losing the first two games of the World Series at home disappointingly, many were rightly questioning if there would be any more games played in Houston this season. Three games later, and the Astros have regained their momentum and once again look like the 107-win team that earned them the home-field advantage. Now they get to use it, getting a chance to clinch in Game 6, or 7 if necessary, at home. Tuesday's Game 6 will also be an opportunity for Justin Verlander to lift his team and notch another achievement of his own. Here is a breakdown of the game:
* If necessary
When: Tuesday, 7:07 p.m Central.
Where: Minute Maid Park - Houston, TX.
Streaming: Fox Sports App.
Pitching matchup: Verlander vs. Strasburg.
Series: Astros lead 3-2.
|Date & Time (Central)||Location||Pitching matchup|
|Game 1||Nationals 5, Astros 4||Minute Maid Park, Houston TX||Cole (L) vs Scherzer (W)|
|Game 2||Nationals 12, Astros 3||Minute Maid Park, Houston TX||Verlander (L) vs Strasburg (W)|
|Game 3||Astros 4, Nationals 1||Nationals Park, Washington D.C.||Greinke (ND) vs Sanchez (L)|
|Game 4||Astros 8, Nationals 1||Nationals Park, Washington D.C.||Urquidy (W) vs Corbin (L)|
|Game 5||Astros 7, Nationals 1||Nationals Park, Washington D.C.||Cole (W) vs Ross (L)|
|Game 6||Tuesday, 10/29, 7:07 PM||Minute Maid Park, Houston TX||Verlander vs Strasburg|
|Game 7*||Wednesday 10/30, 7:08 PM||Minute Maid Park, Houston TX||Greinke vs Sanchez+|
* If necessary
+ Projected Starters
With the DH back in play, Houston's offense needs to score early and often again
Although they didn't seem to miss a step without it, the Astros will be back in their AL ballpark for Game 6, which means they don't have to lose a position spot to get Yordan Alvarez in the lineup. They'll be able to put him back in his usual DH spot, getting a full-strength nine-bat order that will make them even more dangerous than the team that outscored Washington 19-3 over the last three games.
No matter the lineup or order of it, Houston will need to try and replicate the early-game success they had in Washington, scoring runs early to take control of the game and keep the Nationals out of reach. It will be a tough task going up against Stephen Strasburg, but this historic offense is also nearly matchup-proof. Look for a big game from Jose Altuve, who loves to light a spark in these big-moment games.
Verlander needs to learn from Cole and notch another milestone
Okay, not necessarily literally. However, Gerrit Cole was terrific in Game 5, rebounding from his disappointing loss in Game 1 to keep the Astros rolling and finish his incredible season on a high note. Justin Verlander will be looking to do the same in Game 6, erasing the memory of his Game 2 loss to keep his team in the game to potentially finish the series.
While a lengthy outing would be welcome by Houston, considering they only had to use two bullpen arms on Sunday, then had the day off on Monday, the bullpen will be ready to back Verlander up should he need to come out earlier than usual. He will likely be hoping to go at least five innings and leave with a lead, however, because he's still in search of joining another exclusive list: pitchers to earn a win in a World Series game. Verlander has started 6 World Series games in his career, including Game 2 this year, and is 0-5 in those. Getting his first victory in the biggest stage would also mean that his team gets to do something for the first time...
A chance to finish in front of the home crowd
While the 2017 World Series win will always the sweetest since it was the first for the franchise, the 2019 Astros have a chance to do something the team two years ago didn't: win it at Minute Maid Park. While the series did not go down as quickly as initially expected by many with Houston making easy work of Washington, that does provide a silver lining should the Astros take care of business at home in Game 6. Not only will the crowd be roaring and ready to go from the first pitch, if they can cheer their team on to the World Series win, but they will also blow the roof, which will be closed, right off.
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.
The Houston Astros were in need of some serious help in the bullpen with Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Ryne Stanek likely leaving this year in free agency.
The Houston Astros have acquired RHP Dylan Coleman from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for RHP Carlos Mateo. pic.twitter.com/hDYuBLn2Kv
— Houston Astros (@astros) December 6, 2023
While some fans were getting concerned about the quiet offseason, the club has made two moves this week to get the ball rolling.
First the team signed Victor Caratini to be the backup catcher, and now they have added some relief pitching.
The Astros traded pitching prospect Carlos Mateo to the Royals for RHP pitcher Dylan Coleman.
Coleman appeared in 96 games in the past three seasons for KC, including 68 games in 2022 and 23 games last season. He has a career 3.88 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He’s fastball (95 mph), slider (81) and cutter (90) and walked 57 batters and struck out 99 in 92 2/3 innings.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 6, 2023
Coleman is under club control for the next several years, and made just over $700,000 in 2022. With the Astros right up against the tax threshold, this is a good way to add to the bullpen without having to hand out a large contract.
The Royals had a tough roster decision to make with Coleman, and the Astros made the decision easy for them by making the trade.
Something to note
There's a reason Kansas City wasn't determined to protect Coleman from the Rule 5 Draft. Despite his decent numbers over the last three seasons, 2023 was a rough year for him, posting an 8.84 ERA over 23 games.
In fact, Coleman pitched more innings (30.2) for the Royals AAA team than he did for the big league club (18.1) in 2023.
Hopefully, the Astros can get him back on track this season with some help from their highly touted player development program.
You can watch some of his 2022 highlights above.