ALCS GAME 5 AT A GLANCE

Astros-Red Sox Game 5 preview: Win or stay home

Justin Verlander will try to keep the Astros alive. Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

It's all or nothing now. The Astros now have to achieve a very unlikely feat: beating the best regular-season team in three straight games, two of which would be in Boston, to move on. It starts tonight with Game 5, where they'll have their best chance at a win with ace Justin Verlander on the mound. Be sure to catch our recap of the game after the final pitch:

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Minute Maid.

TV: TBS.

Streaming: TBS App.

Pitching matchup: Justin Verlander vs. David Price.

Series: Red Sox lead 3-1.

The breakdown: It's an elimination game for the Astros. This will be their last game in Houston in the ALCS, and their last time with a normally-rested Verlander on the mound to start. Boston is slated to send out David Price, despite Price warming in the bullpen late in last night's game. It's yet to be determined how long Boston expects Price to stay in the game tonight, but the Astros will try to get him out early like they did in Game 2 where they tagged him with four runs in four and two-thirds innings. For this, and hopefully, the other remaining games that they could force, the key to winning for the Astros will be stifling Boston's hot offense, and getting more done on offense themselves to convert more scoring opportunities and leave fewer runners on base. It's no longer about the series, it's all about these nine innings, and executing to force another game to be able to play again on Saturday.

Series schedule:

   Result / Date & Time  Location  Pitching matchup
Game 1  Astros 7, Red Sox 2  Boston  Verlander (W) vs. Sale (ND)
Game 2   Astros 5, Red Sox 7  Boston  Cole (L) vs. Price (ND)
Game 3  Astros 2, Red Sox 8  Minute Maid  Keuchel (ND) vs. Eovaldi (W)
Game 4  Astros 6, Red Sox 8  Minute Maid  Morton (ND) vs. Porcello (ND)
Game 5  Tonight, 7:00 PM  Minute Maid  Verlander vs. Price
Game 6*   Saturday 10/20, 4:00 PM  Boston  Cole+ vs. Sale+
Game 7*  Sunday 10/21, 6:30 PM  Boston  TBD vs. TBD

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Another tough loss for Houston. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans lost again as their road game ineptitude continues. Former Texans stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt helped the Cardinals to the 31-5 victory.

1. The lack of talent is getting exposed earlier and earlier each week. The Texans have seen games slip away faster and faster from them each week. The team is overmatched almost everywhere.

2. Penalties remain a problem for the Texans. It seems like clockwork the team gets an illegal motion or illegal formation each week. Jordan Akins torpedoed a drive with a chop block. Max Scharping erased a positive play with a hold.

3. Davis Mills had some solid moments, but again, this team isn't good. It is hard to assess Mills with this team. He's making quicker decisions but he doesn't have the time or the players to make big plays.

4. The offensive line stinks. The interior of the line is still a mess and with Laremy Tunsil down the edges find themselves shaky as well. The running backs don't block well. The blocking tight ends don't block well. It is bad football in what was supposed to be a much-improved unit.

5. Desmond King was the best returner in the preseason. The team elected to give Andre Roberts an opportunity for a few games, but with his departure, the duties went to King. King is the most successful returner the Texans have had in a long while. Yes, it is that clear after just one game.

6. Max Scharping was benched in favor of Justin McCray. McCray produced similar levels of success. Scharping was benched last year for a journey-man veteran as well. The former second-round pick isn't getting it done.

7. Speaking of former second-round picks, Lonnie Johnson had an interception. That was the highlight of his day. Otherwise, Johnson frequently has me asking "what is Lonnie Johnson doing?" The former second-round pick at cornerback has been less than impressive at safety. Johnson seems to frequently be out of position or making the wrong choice in coverage.

8. DeAndre Hopkins had a solid day against the team that traded him away. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. After he scored, Hopkins looked to bring his hands together and mimic a prayer motion. I don't anticipate this was a nod to Arian Foster but perhaps could this have been about Jack Easterby?

9. The Texans had some sacks, but little of that action came when the game was close. Jonathan Greenard added two sacks to his total. The success Greenard is having is frustrating when you consider he couldn't get on the field last season. Charles Omenihu returned to action and had some pressures for the defense.

10. During the game reports surfaced that the Panthers might be interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. It was also reported by the Houston Chronicle Watson had vetoed a trade to Philadelphia, so the Eagles will not be involved in the Watson sweepstakes. The Panthers can only trade two first-round picks. The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks they can trade for Deshaun Watson.

11. The Texans decided on a "culture" head coach in David Culley. His team has looked lifeless on the road. While the Texans took their beating, the Lions gave it their all against a good Rams team. Detroit is winless, but they play harder and better than the Texans. It grows clearer each week "culture" is meaningless if the team can't win.

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