Houston Astros: The next game the most important this season

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros walks back to the dugout after a pitching change in the seventh inning during Game 2 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros walks back to the dugout after a pitching change in the seventh inning during Game 2 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Down 0-2 in the World Series, the Houston Astros are now heading to Washington looking for their first win, one that could be the most important game of their season.

It is quite surprising that the Houston Astros are currently down 2 games to the Washington Nationals, especially on the backend of starts by dominant pitchers Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. Both players have been fantastic in the regular and postseason, and both pitchers were hit around this series in an uncharacteristic way we haven’t really seen all year.

The series also will not get easier over the next few games, as all three games will take place in Washington, and the Astros do not have momentum on their side. It isn’t easy playing on the road, never mind the playoff atmosphere for a team that has a fanbase who has never experienced World Series baseball. The fans will show up in droves, and the stadium is going to be rocking.

But don’t count the Houston Astros out yet; there is still plenty left in the tank.

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For one, the organization does still employs a top-end starter in Zack Greinke, who will most likely be making the start for the team for game three on Friday. While Greinke had a rough outing against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, he did perform better against a stronger team in the New York Yankees during the ALCS. He is a grizzled veteran with some experience in rough and rowdy atmospheres like the Nationals stadium will be over the next three games.

The Astros did also have a .580% winning streak on the road this season, and went into New York during the postseason and muscled out two wins in one of the most raucous stadiums in the league. Many teams can get caught flat-footed under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium, but the Astros prevailed when they needed too.

This team also boasts a multitude of World Series experienced players, who will all be hungry to get the team on the right track heading into game 3. The front end of the batting order in George Springer, Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, and Alex Bregman has been able to put points on the board during the first inning, but the team has had issues in applying the pressure early in the game after that.

The back end of the lineup needs to start generating more offense; the team can’t keep scoring 2 runs in the first inning and then sit on their hands until the later in the game. They need to put the pressure on the starters and attack them while they are down and giving up runs, while the momentum is on their side. They need to take the crowd out of the game and fast while in Washington.

Combine that with another round of Cole and Verlander on the mound, and the Houston Astros may just be able to pull a couple wins and put themselves back into contention to win the Worl Series.

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However, if the team can’t find a way to win this first game in Washington, their road to being world champions will take a major hit in which I don’t think the team will be able to recover from.