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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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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