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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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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