It's winner-take-all for the World Series

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: World Series Game 7 Preview

Zack Greinke Pitching
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Can Zack Greinke make the biggest trade of 2019 pay off for the Astros?

The 2019 World Series has been nothing short of a roller coaster for both fanbases. For the Nationals, you come in red-hot and take the first two games against Houston's best pitchers at Minute Maid Park and look like you may cruise to the series win.

But then come the Astros, who go into D.C. and take all three games on the road and push the series back to Houston where they'll have Justin Verlander on the mound for Game 6. Washington responds, dominating the Astros in their house once again, and here we sit, with one last game of the 2019 MLB season to decide who will take home the Commissioner's Trophy. Here is a preview of Game 7:

Game Facts

When: Wednesday, 7:08 p.m Central.

Where: Minute Maid Park - Houston, TX.

TV: FOX.

Streaming: Fox Sports App.

Pitching matchup: Greinke vs. Scherzer.

Series: tied 3-3.

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 6Nationals 7, Astros 2Minute Maid Park, Houston TXVerlander (L) vs Strasburg (W)
Game 7Wednesday 10/30, 7:08 PMMinute Maid Park, Houston TXGreinke vs Scherzer

* If necessary
+ Projected Starters

Game Storylines

It all comes down to this

It's something sports fans love to hear: Game 7. While both of these teams would have liked to win the series in a more dominating fashion in fewer games, the fact remains that they have one game in front of them to go out and win to seal the deal. Both teams have reason to be confident. The Astros know what their offense can do on a good night, and have faith in their bullpen to back up Zack Greinke.

The Nationals can see themselves as favorites in this one, too, because they have a supposedly healthy Max Scherzer going to the bump, and their offense has been on fire in the three games at Minute Maid Park to this point. There are nearly endless ways that this game plays out where either team wins, and it's hard to say which side is truly the favorite. So, in those situations, you take away the intangibles and look strictly at the potential and matchup on paper, and in my opinion, I give the advantage to the Astros.

Can the home team win the one that counts?

So far in this World Series, we've seen something unprecedented, which is the road team winning the first six games. The Nationals have Max Scherzer on the mound to finish the sweep and make it all seven games. Houston will send out Zack Greinke, who, despite some playoff struggles, is still an elite arm and can get the job done. It's almost fitting that the Astros will have their season on the line with the guy they made the biggest splash to get in this year's trade deadline. If there were ever a time for Greinke to show he was worth the investment, this is it.

One key, in my opinion, of the Astros ending the road-team streak: keeping the crowd in it. One obvious way is to get early runs and hold on to a lead throughout the game. Should the Nationals score first, though, and try to take the air out of the stadium, it will be up to Houston to give the faithful at Minute Maid Park some reasons to make the home-field advantage worth winning, which is a loud, rowdy crowd that can lift the team up in some crucial spots. Part of that could be how A.J. Hinch manages a potential chess match. Will Gerrit Cole come in from the bullpen? Could we see Roberto Osuna come in for more than three outs of there's a tight game late? It will be fun to watch.

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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Will all the Texans playmakers be satisfied with their roles in the offense? Composite Getty Image.

ESPN Texans reporter DJ Bien-Aime joined The Mina Kimes Show this weekand shared his thoughts on the Texans outlook this season.

When looking at the Texans offense, Bien-Aime pointed to Houston's play calling as being a possible issue in 2024. Bobby Slowik did a terrific job in his first season as an offensive coordinator. But he will have his hands full keeping all his playmakers happy with Stefon Diggs joining the team, and Nico Collins expecting a ton of looks after signing a massive contract extension.

Which got us thinking, are there enough catches to go around?

We took a deep dive into the 2023 numbers and here's what we found. CJ Stroud averaged 21 completions per game. And here's a breakdown of how many catches his receivers averaged last year.

Nico Collins 5.3 catches per game

Stefon Diggs (with Buffalo) 6.29 catches per game

Dalton Schultz 3.93 catches per game

Tank Dell 4.27 catches per game

Texans running backs 3.05 catches per game

If we add those up, the total is 22.84. Which means the Texans top receivers should expect a similar amount of production compared to last season. Of course, players like Noah Brown, Robert Woods, and Brevin Jordan will take targets away from Stefon Diggs and company from time to time.

But it's good to know that the Texans top pass catchers should produce numbers close to their 2023 averages. Which is a big deal for a player in a contract year like Diggs.

Another thing to note. We're factoring in that the Texans are expected to run out of 11 personnel most of the time. Which means Diggs, Collins, Dell, Schultz, and Mixon will be the only pass catchers on the field the majority of the time.

Are there concerns about the defense?

Both Kimes and Bien-Aime designated Houston's secondary as the big x-factor this year. Bien-Aime named cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. as the only player in the secondary that he truly trusts. Is he right?

Be sure to watch the video above as we react to Kimes and Bien-Aime's outlook for the Texans this year, and share our thoughts on the possible pitfalls the team will have to navigate in the short and long-term.

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