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

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

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

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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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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