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Braves vs. Astros: What to know about World Series, key storylines

The Houston Astros are back in the World Series for the third time in the last five years.

HOUSTON — It’s Game Day! The World Series gets underway tonight as the Houston Astros face off against the Atlanta Braves at Minute Maid Park in Game 1 of the best-of-seven World Series.

The Houston Astros are sending Framber Valdez to the mound. The Braves counter with former Astros’ pitcher Charlie Morton.

First pitch is at 7:09 p.m.

This will be the Astros third trip to the World Series in the last five years. For Atlanta, it's their first time there since 1999. Houston has home field advantage in the best-of-seven series.

The Astros were 95-67 in the regular season, while the Braves were 88-73.   

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Game Day weather

We do have a 30 percent chance of showers today, and as fans leave Minute Maid – hopefully happy after an Astros win – we’re looking at muggy conditions in the mid-70s.

Atlanta Braves

Manager: Brian Snitker (sixth season).

Projected Rotation: RHP Charlie Morton (14-6, 3.34 ERA, 216 Ks in 185 2/3 IP), LHP Max Fried (14-7, 3.04, 158 Ks in 165 2/3 IP), RHP Ian Anderson (9-5, 3.58, 124 Ks in 128 1/3 IP), LHP Drew Smyly (11-4, 4.48).

Top Hitters: 1B Freddie Freeman (.300, 31 HRs, 83 RBIs, .896 OPS), 3B Austin Riley (.303, 33, 107, .898 OPS), 2B Ozzie Albies (.259, 30, 106, 40 doubles, 20 SBs), CF Adam Duvall (.228, 38, NL-best 113 with Miami and Atlanta).

Top Relievers: LHP Will Smith (3-7, 3.44 ERA, 37/43 saves, 87 Ks, 67 IP), LHP Tyler Matzek (0-4, 2.57, 77 Ks, 37 BBs in 63 IP), RHP Luke Jackson (2-2, 1.98), LHP A.J. Minter (3-6, 3.78).

Houston Astros

Manager: Dusty Baker (second season).

Projected Rotation: LHP Framber Valdez (11-6, 3.14 ERA, 125 Ks), RHP Luis Garcia (11-8, 3.30, 167 Ks as rookie), RHP José Urquidy (8-3, 3.62 in 20 starts), RHP Zack Greinke (11-6, 4.16 in 30 games, 29 starts) or RHP Jake Odorizzi (6-7, 4.21).

Top Hitters: 1B Yuli Gurriel (AL-leading .319, 15 HRs, 81 RBIs), 2B Jose Altuve (.278, 31, 83), LF Michael Brantley (.311, 8, 47), SS Carlos Correa (.279, career-high 26, 92), DH Yordan Alvarez (.277, 33, 104), RF Kyle Tucker (.294, 30, 92, 37 doubles).

Top Relievers: RHP Ryan Pressly (5-3, 2.25 ERA, 26/28 saves), RHP Kendall Graveman (1-1, 3.13 in 23 games with Houston; 4-0, 0.82, 10 saves in 30 games with Seattle), RHP Ryne Stanek (3-5, 3.42, 2 saves), RHP Cristian Javier (4-1, 3.55, 2 saves, 130 Ks, 101 1/3 IP in 36 games, 9 starts), LHP Brooks Raley (2-3, 4.78, 2 saves, 65 Ks, 16 BBs, 49 IP in 58 games).

Houston Astros Street Fest

Astros Street Fest gets underway three hours before the game outside Minute Maid Park. Fans with game tickets will be treated to games, live music, great food and more! 

Key story lines

Father vs. Son

Troy Snitker, one of the Astros hitting coaches, will soon be facing his dad Brian, who's the manager of the Braves. It’s something he says their family still can’t believe.

“To have both of us do it in the same year and go up against each other is a dream come true,” Troy Snitker said Sunday. “It’s something that I don’t know either of us will be able to top in our careers and for our family. Can’t bet it.”

Credit: AP
FILE- Houston Astros hitting coach Troy Snitker, left, stands with his father Braves manager Brian Snitker before a spring baseball exhibition game, Monday, March 4, 2019, in Kissimmee, Fla. No matter how this year’s World Series ends, a Snitker will get a championship ring. This edition of the Fall Classic is a family affair with Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker in the dugout opposite his son, Houston Astros co-hitting coach Troy Snitker. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

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Charlie Morton vs. his former team

Charlie Morton was on the mound the last time the Houston Astros won a World Series title. Now, he's the starting pitcher in Game 1 for the Atlanta Braves. He talked about facing the Astros with the sign-stealing scandal still hanging over the team's head.

“I never questioned how good those guys were and how good they are," he said. "So that’s my focus. I’m pitching against a really good baseball team."

Bo Porter's unique perspective

Former Astros manager Bo Porter also worked as Special Assistant to the GM for the Braves. Now, he's spending his time training the next generation.

Earlier this year, he opened Bo Porter's Future All-Stars Baseball Development Academy in Rosharon. It's where dozens of young players will get to watch the World Series. As for which team he's rooting for, Porter said he still has many personal connections to both teams.

With insights into both teams, here are his thoughts on the World Series.

No Lance McCullers Jr. for the World Series

Lance McCullers, the Astros' ALDS Game 1 starter, won't pitch in the World Series. He also missed the ALCS.

After a career-high 13 wins during the regular season, when he also had a 3.16 ERA and 185 strikeouts, McCullers got hurt in the AL Division Series. He pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a Game 1 victory over the Chicago White Sox but let after four innings in Game 4 with what the team said was forearm tightness.

World Series schedule

  • Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7:09 p.m. (Minute Maid Park)
  • Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7:09 p.m. (Minute Maid Park) 
  • Game 3: Friday, Oct. 29 at 7:09 p.m. (Truist Park)
  • Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 30 at 7:09 p.m. (Truist Park) 
  • Game 5 (if necessary): Sunday, Oct. 31 at 7:15 p.m. (Truist Park) 
  • Game 6 (if necessary): Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 7:09 p.m. (Minute Maid Park) 
  • Game 7 (if necessary): Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7:09 p.m. (Minute Maid Park)

Houston Astros fan photos

We want to see YOUR Houston Astros fan photos. Text them with names to 713-526-1111 and we may show them on air.

Credit: KHOU

Road closures

If you're downtown, you need to be aware of street closures around Minute Maid Park. Here they are, and they start roughly 3 hours before first pitch.

Getting to Minute Maid Park

There are plenty of surface lots and parking garages in the area. You can find the best one by downloading the Park Whiz mobile app. It will show you how much each lot costs, and it also lets you book a space in advance. Another app that does the same thing is called Park Houston.

You can also take the train to the game! METRO rail purple line riders should exit at the Convention District station, then walk two blocks north to the ballpark. Keep in mind though, the trains share lanes with street traffic, so getting home could take longer.

If you prefer to leave the driving to someone else, Minute Maid has a rideshare pickup and drop-off zone located just outside the center field gate on Crawford Street between Preston Street and Congress Avenue.

Before You Leave, Check This Out