Houston can wrap up the World Series on Tuesday

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: World Series Game 6 Preview

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:

Game Facts

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

Where: Minute Maid Park - Houston, TX.

TV: FOX.

Streaming: Fox Sports App.

Pitching matchup: Verlander vs. Strasburg.

Series: Astros lead 3-2.

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 5Astros 7, Nationals 1Nationals Park, Washington D.C.Cole (W) vs Ross (L)
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

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.

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Houston can win series on Sunday

Timely hitting helps Astros edge out D-backs to even series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Astros had two losses over the last 24 hours; one a game against the Diamondbacks in the series opener on Friday night, the other the news that their recovering ace, Justin Verlander, announced Saturday afternoon that he is opting to undergo Tommy John surgery. The decision and surgery will likely sideline Verlander through 2021 when his current contract with Houston ends.

With that, the Astros headwinds continued to increase, meaning a win to even the series with Arizona on Saturday would be a much-needed pick-me-up. Here's how they did:

Final Score: Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2.

Record: 26-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-2, 2.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luke Weaver (1-8, 6.51 ERA).

D-backs score two on Javier who is pulled early

Kole Calhoun, who drove in four runs, including a home run in Friday's game, would start the scoring on Saturday with a solo home run off of Cristian Javier in the top of the second, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Javier allowed another run in the top of the third, giving up a leadoff single that would move to third on a groundout then score on a sac fly, doubling the lead to 2-0.

Javier finished the third and tossed a 1-2-3 fourth, but whether it be due to a pre-determined pitch count or other situation, he would not go any further, ending his night there on just 77 pitches. His final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 77 P.

Astros grab a lead in the sixth

The Astros were able to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, getting a leadoff single by Josh Reddick, who would move to third after a walk and fielder's choice before scoring on an RBI-groundout by Jose Altuve, making it 2-1. Enoli Paredes was first out of Houston's bullpen, taking over for Javier in the top of the fifth and retiring six straight batters for two perfect frames.

Houston would get to Luke Weaver in the bottom of the sixth, getting a leadoff single by George Springer, who would score from first on an RBI-double by Altuve to tie the game. Altuve would come around as the go-ahead run later in the inning on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, knocking Weaver out of the game as the Astros took their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Houston evens the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James was the next reliever for Houston in the top of the seventh, and despite getting into a jam by issuing a one-out walk and hitting the next batter, he was able to get out of it. It was thanks to a great play by Michael Brantley, who started a double play by catching a lineout and throwing a runner out at second to end the inning.

Brooks Raley had the eighth and erased a one-out walk by retiring the next two batters to maintain the one-run lead. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Astros turned to closer Ryan Pressly to get another save and finish the one-run game. Pressly would do so, as Houston would move back up to .500 and even the series 1-1 heading into the rubber game on Sunday.

Up Next: The finale of this series between Houston and Arizona, and Houston's last regular-season home game of 2020, will get underway at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 8.53) ERA will be on the mound for the D-backs, while Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70 ERA) will start for the Astros.

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