ALDS Game 1 Preview: facts and story lines for Astros vs. Mariners

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Wyke/AP/Shutterstock (13428395b) Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws to an Arizona Diamondbacks batter during the first inning of a baseball game, in Houston Diamondbacks Astros Baseball, Houston, United States – 28 Sep 2022

ALDS Game 1 Preview: facts and story lines for Astros vs. Mariners

With their AL-best record earning them a bye right to the Division Series, the Astros will begin their 2022 postseason journey on Tuesday when they welcome in the Seattle Mariners for Game 1 of the best-of-five ALDS. Seattle, fresh off an upset series victory over the Blue Jays in Toronto, will come in as underdogs to the top-seeded Astros.

Houston went 12-7 against the Mariners in the regular season, but throw those records out as both teams start this series 0-0, looking to get the three wins needed to move on the ALCS. Here’s a look at Game 1:

Game Facts

When: Tuesday, 10/11/2022, 2:37 PM Central. 

Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas.

TV/Streaming: TBS / Watch TBS App

Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander (18-4, 1.75 ERA) vs. Logan Gilbert (13-6, 3.20 ERA)

Series: Tied 0-0

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central)LocationPitching Matchup
Game 1Tue 10/11, 2:37 PMMinute Maid Park, HoustonVerlander vs. Gilbert
Game 2Thu 10/13, 2:37 PMMinute Maid Park, HoustonTBD vs. TBD
Game 3Sat 10/15, TBDT-Mobile Park, SeattleTBD vs. TBD
Game 4*Sun 10/16, TBDT-Mobile Park, SeattleTBD vs. TBD
Game 5*Mon 10/17, TBDMinute Maid Park, HoustonTBD vs. TBD
* If necessary.

Game Storylines

Winning Game 1 is Pivotal

Teams that take the first game of an MLB postseason series go on to win that series at a very high rate. Look at the Wild Card round; every Game 1 winner went on to win the series, with three of those series wrapped up in two games. It’s crucial for the Astros to get a good day on the mound and at the plate to start this series with a win. 

One loss isn’t insurmountable, but it puts you in a position to go down 2-0 to a team with momentum, which is almost always impossible to overcome. 

Keeping the Mariners off the board early may be key

Of the seven losses the Astros had to the Mariners this season, Seattle scored first and in the first inning in six of them. One of those was on May 27th in Seattle, where Game 1 starter Justin Verlander allowed six earned runs, including four in the first frame on two two-run homers. 

That was the exception, not the rule, for Verlander not just in 2022 but against the Mariners, as he combined to allow just five earned runs in his other five starts against Seattle, all wins and four of those going at least seven strong innings. One key to the game for the Astros should be focusing on starting the game with a zero in the top of the first. 

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