Houston is a win away from advancing to ALCS

Springer, Valdez lift Astros to ALDS Game 2 win, lead series 2-0

Astros George Springer and Carlos Correa celebrating
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

George Springer celebrates one of two home runs in ALDS Game 2

After doubling up the A's 10-5 in Game 1 to start the series 1-0, the Astros returned to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday afternoon to try and take a commanding 2-0 lead by staying undefeated in the postseason. Here are the highlights from ALDS Game 2:

Final Score: Astros 5, A's 2.

Series: HOU leads 2-0.

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez.

Losing Pitcher: Sean Manaea.

The balls keep flying out of Dodger Stadium

The baseball continued to fly out of Dodger Stadium surprisingly well in ALDS Game 2, as found out by George Springer, who followed a ball off the bat of Khris Davis over the center-field wall in the bottom of the second to give Oakland a 1-0 lead. Luckily for the Astros, they were able to take advantage themselves, as Springer would launch one of his own, a two-run dinger with two outs in the top of the third to give Houston their first lead of the day at 2-1.

Michael Brantley led the top of the fourth off with a double, moved to third on a one-out Kyle Tucker single, then scored on an RBI-groundout by Carlos Correa. That made it a two-run game at 3-2, though Chad Pinder would cut it back to one run with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning.

Springer homers again while Valdez impresses again

In the top of the fifth, Martin Maldonado would knock Sean Manaea out of the game with a one-out solo homer to make it a two-run game again at 4-2. Oakland would bring in Yusmeiro Petit, who Springer would meet with his second home run of the game on the at-bat's first pitch, pushing the lead to 5-2.

Meanwhile, Framber Valdez was again proving himself to be the best starter the Astros have going right now. Besides the two solo home runs, he limited the A's to just three other hits while walking only one batter over seven impressive innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 2 HR, 103 P.

Houston's in the driver's seat

That left six outs for Houston's bullpen to cover and hold on to the three-run lead. After two perfect innings in Game 1, Enoli Paredes would make it back-to-back days on the mound in relief and retire Oakland 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth.

In the bottom of the ninth, still 5-2, Ryan Pressly came in for the chance at another save against the top of Oakland's lineup. After a shaky start to the inning, Pressly would erase a leadoff single, finishing off the win which put the Astros ahead 2-0 in the best-of-five ALDS.

Up Next: ALDS Game 3 will start a bit earlier on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 2:35 PM Central. The Astros will play as the home team, while the A's will switch to batting first as visitors. Neither team has announced their starters for Games 3 or beyond.

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Everyone is talking about the Texans! Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Texans' additions this offseason certainly have not gone unnoticed. When a talented young core coming off a playoff victory adds Stefon Diggs, Danielle Hunter, and Joe Mixon, there's good reason to pay attention.

However, the Texans wouldn't be the first team to disappoint with a second-year quarterback looking to build off a tremendous rookie season. Add that to all the media rounds CJ Stroud is currently taking part in and one could see the Texans struggling to live up to expectations. Especially with a difficult first place schedule on the horizon.

ESPN's Shannon Sharpe isn't the only person to say expectations could be what derails Houston's season, it's a different ballgame when you're the one being hunted.

But Rich Eisen said something very interesting on his show this week about the Texans 2024 outlook that many Houston fans will want to hear. Eisen has no shortage of NFL insiders he can contact who have a finger on the pulse of what teams across the league are thinking.

One of those insiders is Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. So, Eisen asked Breer what the consensus is among other insiders, coaches, and front office members across the league on the following question.

“Which team has pressed the most buttons properly to set themselves up for ultimate success this year?” And the answer Breer keeps hearing is the Houston Texans.

Which you have to love as a Texans fan, because this is coming from the people in the know. Not just media outlets looking to get pageviews. People that coach and run football organizations are all pointing to the Texans as the team that's doing it right.

Pretty amazing how much things can change in a year or two. Credit to GM Nick Caserio and head coach DeMeco Ryans.

In conclusion

At the end of the day, being set up for success doesn't guarantee the Texans anything. But it's the one thing they can control, and the reviews across the league speak for themselves.

To watch Eisen's discussion about the Texans, be sure to watch the video above!

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