Astros-Mariners Game 2 live updates: Carlos Correa has high praise for Jeremy Peña

Astros-Mariners Game 2 live updates: Carlos Correa has high praise for Jeremy Peña

After a day off, the Astros-Mariners American League Division series resumes at 2:37 p.m. today with Game 2 at Minute Maid Park. The Astros lead the best-of-5 series 1-0 after winning Game 1 8-7 on Yordan Alvarez’s dramatic, three-run walkoff homer.

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Cool keepsakes

Game-used balls are among the memorabilia can be bought in one of Minute Maid Park’s gift shops on the outfield concourse.

Brent Zwerneman / staff

1:58 p.m. — One of the cooler gift shops in Minute Maid Park is on the outfield concourse to the right and under the Coca-Cola sign.

For fans who aren’t lucky enough to catch a foul ball, they can buy game-used balls ranging from $25 to at least $100. Last year, for instance, I bought my lefty 8-year-old son a ball thrown by then-Astros lefthander Brooks Raley, and my righty 13-year-old son a ball thrown by Zack Greinke, one of his sports icons.

The exact pitch is marked on the hard plastic case, so fans can look up the ball they own and see it pitched or hit via the Internet, if they’re so inclined (we have that on our list of things to do). — Brent Zwerneman

Correa has high praise for Peña

1:53 p.m. — Appearing as a guest analyst on TBS’ pregame show, former Astros shortstop Carlos Correa had high praise for his successor Jeremy Peña and his role in Houston’s Game 1 win, calling Peña’s two-out single before Yordan Alvarez’s walkoff homer “the most important at-bat” of the ninth inning Tuesday.

Correa also recounted seeing Peña field and hit for the first time at spring training in 2021 before Correa’s final Astros season and thinking “Wow, this kid is good.”

Regarding the Astros’ decision to let Correa leave in free agency, he said he understood the business reasons for the move, specifically Peña being under team control at the MLB minimum while Correa was seeking in the neighborhood of $35 million a season. 

“You know it’s an easy decision for the front office,” Correa said. “The Astros made a good decision. Jeremy Peña is going to be a superstar for a long time. I love to watch him play.”

As for his reported decision to opt out of his contract with Minnesota, Correa said he was letting agent Scott Boras handle business with the Twins and that he “would love to be back” in Minnesota. — Greg Rajan

Houston ties that bind for Mariners’ Servais

1:28 p.m. — Nearly 30 years ago as a student at Sam Houston State, I helped organize an Astros Caravan visit to Huntsville and the campus that included current Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais, a young catcher with Houston at the time.

I’d also pitched for the Bearkats and worked for the school newspaper, The Houstonian, so I invited the Astros out to Holleman Field during a midweek practice late in the winter of 1993. Manager Art Howe graciously accepted, leading to one of the all-time memorable Bearkats practices.

Howe took one look at the pristine field the coaching staff and players worked so hard on under iconic coach John Skeeters and chuckled and said, “This is nicer than Kissimmee.”

Howe meant the field only, considering the Sam Houston dugout backed up to an old indoor gun range. The Astros held spring training in Kissimmee, Fla., at the time. I specifically remember Servais pulling aside the Sam Houston catchers and working with them in that brief but unforgettable visit — what a thrill for a bunch of grinders in the Southland Conference.

I brought up the long-ago visit to Servais before Thursday’s Game 2 of the American League Division Series in Minute Maid Park.

“The old Astros Caravans,” Servais said with a grin. “I made it all over the state of Texas back in the day. It’s usually the young players that got roped into doing it, jumping on a bus and meeting fans and young players and doing different things. That was part of the deal. It helps young players mature a little bit in dealing in that environment.

“We were all young at the time when I first started with the Astros.”

Servais, 55, was 24 at the time of the Sam Houston visit, so he wasn’t much older than the collegians he was working with.

“I started my career here, and bought my first home in Houston, in Sugar Land,” said Servais, who played in the Astrodome with the Astros from 1991-95 and in Minute Maid Park in 2001 prior to his retirement as a player. “My two older kids were born here, so there are a lot of ties to the area.” — Brent Zwerneman

Loaded for leverage

1:27 p.m. — The back of Houston’s bullpen is very well-rested. Perhaps too much so. Neither Ryan Pressly nor Ryne Stanek has pitched since Oct. 5. Setup man Héctor Neris last appeared a day before on Oct. 4. Houston anticipated the long layoff and had all of its relievers throw live batting practice sessions during their five-day wait for the Wild Card series winner. But, given manager Dusty Baker’s acknowledgement after Game 1 that his team looked “rusty,” it’s worth wondering if the same can be said for its most trusted relievers. — Chandler Rome

Diaz can catch up to heat

1:23 p.m. — Dusty Baker’s decision to start Aledmys Díaz today isn’t just rooted in Trey Mancini’s struggles. Yes, Mancini had a miserable September and finished hitless in Game 1, but Díaz is known around the sport for his ability to handle high velocity. It’s why the Astros see more value in Díaz as a bench bat, when he could ostensibly face a team’s hardest-throwing relievers late in a close game. Mariners starter Luis Castillo averages 97.1 mph with his four-seam fastball and 96.9 mph with his sinker. He gets unreal movement on both pitches — so it’s not the normal high velocity Díaz is used to seeing — but he is still a far better matchup here than Mancini. — Chandler Rome

How do Astros approach Castillo?

12:31 p.m. — Luis Castillo has allowed one run in 12 ⅔ career postseason innings. Seattle’s Game 2 starter was superb at Toronto in the recent Wild Card round, throwing 7 1/3 frames of scoreless fire. Regularly hitting 99 mph is part of Castillo’s repertoire. But the real art is in the late movement, which saw Blue Jays hitters wildly whiffing at offerings in the final moments before another ball smacked into a catcher’s glove.

How will the Astros handle Castillo’s attack?

“As a hitter, you’re preparing to swing at every pitch until you decide that it’s a ball,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said pregame Thursday. “At a 100 miles an hour, if you wait until the last second to swing, it’s already by you — there is no last second. You just try to hope that he comes over the plate, and if you get a pitch to hit, you hope you don’t miss it.”

Castillo is Seattle’s premier starting arm and was one of the biggest names moved at the trade deadline. Baker mentioned “controlled aggression” when describing the balance between attacking inside the box and being overly selective. If Castillo repeats his Wild Card form on Thursday, he will be one of the Astros’ toughest mound tests during the playoffs. Approach and pitch selection could define Game 2.

“Most of the time when you’re young, you’re either aggressive or passive,” Baker said. “I would rather take that aggressive person and try to make him a little bit passive and selective, than I would a guy that takes all the time and try and make him aggressive. That’s hard to do. When in doubt, like I tell my son: When in doubt, attack.” — Brian T. Smith

Why Maldonado, not Vázquez

11:12 a.m. — The calls for Christian Vázquez have begun again on social media. He never had a chance to start this game. Martín Maldonado’s ability to calm Framber Valdez down and handle the inevitable ups and downs of his starts make it mandatory that he catch Valdez. — Chandler Rome

Seattle leans to the right

11 a.m. — Unsurprisingly, the Mariners stacked their lineup with righthanded hitters against Houston southpaw Framber Valdez. The only personnel change from Game 1: Dylan Moore starting in left field over the lefthanded hitting Jarred Kelenic. Red-hot catcher Cal Raleigh — a switch-hitter who has better splits against righthanded pitching — moved down into the seven-hole. Seattle’s only two lefthanded hitters follow him: Adam Frazier hitting eighth and J.P. Crawford hitting ninth. — Chandler Rome

Here is the full Mariners lineup:

1. Julio Rodríguez, CF
2. Ty France, 1B
3. Eugenio Suárez, 3B
4. Mitch Haniger, RF
5. Carlos Santana, DH
6. Dylan Moore, LF
7. Cal Raleigh, C
8. Adam Frazier, 2B
9. J.P. Crawford, SS
Luis Castillo, RHP

Pair of changes for Game 2 lineup

10:39 a.m. — Astros manager Dusty Baker made two changes to his lineup for Game 2, starting Aledmys Díaz at designated hitter and Jake Meyers in center field, batting seventh and eighth in the order, respectively. Replacing Trey Mancini, who went 0-for-4 against the Mariners in Game 1, with one of the team’s hottest hitters in Díaz is an obvious decision. Center field is less so. On Wednesday, Baker said he thought Meyers had the best chance of Houston’s center fielders to hit Seattle starter Luis Castillo, despite Castillo’s proclivity to throw the type of high-velocity fastball Meyers has struggled against this year. — Danielle Lerner

Here is the full Astros lineup:

1. Jose Altuve, 2B
2. Jeremy Peña, SS
3. Yordan Alvarez, LF
4. Alex Bregman, 3B
5. Kyle Tucker, RF
6. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
7. Aledmys Díaz, DH
8. Jake Meyers, CF
9. Martín Maldonado, C
Framber Valdez, LHP

Must-see TV?

10:36 a.m. — Astros fans might want to watch today’s TBS pregame show, which will include guest analyst Carlos Correa, the former Houston star shortstop who signed with Minnesota as a free agent last season. The show begins at 1:30 p.m. Central. Correa also will be a guest on the postgame show following the Yankees/Guardians doubleheader nightcap. — Greg Rajan

‘What you dream of’

10:35 a.m. — TBS announcer Brian Anderson called an Astros walkoff homer in the postseason that he forgot about. But he won’t forget the experience of being on the air for Yordan Alvarez’s Game 1 home run anytime soon. He also discusses going to games at the Astrodome as a youth. — Greg Rajan

Luhnow still unapologetic

10:30 a.m. — Former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who was suspended and subsequently fired after details of the team’s sign-stealing scheme came to light, told Sports Illustrated that he doesn’t have anything to apologize for, because he didn’t know his team wasn’t following the rules. He also says he has a 750-page manuscript telling his side of the story that he may publish one day. — Matt Young

Game 2 preview

• How Yordan Alvarez’s parents got to Minute Maid Park from Cuba
• Smith: Pitch to Yordan Alvarez? Why, it’s pure folly
• Solomon: These Astros have changed mindset for generation of fans
• How Astros pitching could line up for long series
• Framber Valdez relishes matchup with Dominican countryman Luis Castillo
• Astros’ Joe Espada interviews for Marlins, White Sox managerial jobs
• Mariners phenom Julio Rodriguez is the real deal
• Astros to make quick change in center field?
• Ex-Astros star Carlos Correa joins TBS’ Game 2 coverage team
• TBS’ Brian Anderson on Alvarez’s homer: ‘It’s what I dreamed of calling’
• Agony and ecstasy: Dueling radio calls of Alvarez’s walkoff HR
• Series primer: TV info, tickets and more

Game 1: Astros 8, Mariners 7

• On Yordan Alvarez and the anatomy of a comeback
• Smith: October, magic and Astros
• Solomon: A clubhouse full of heroes
• The importance of Yuli Gurriel’s resurgence
Justin Verlander’s bump in the road
Mariners will try to ‘flush it’ after collapse
• Five key moments
• How Game 1 unfolded
• Smith:  More uncertainty in front office
• Maton done after punching locker
• History of Astros playoff walkoff wins
• Best photos from Game 1

Astros-Mariners ALDS preview

• How 9 pitches might determine World Series dreams
• Solomon: Astros in 4 is an easy choice
• Smith: Killer V’s are Astros’ most potent weapon
• How Astros and Mariners match up in ALDS
• Michael Brantley’s absence and trickle-down effect
• Upstart Mariners have Astros’ full attention
• Jose Altuve’s heart set on staying in Houston
• Astros’ Pete Putila leaving to be Giants’ GM
• Q&A: TBS’ Jeff Francoeur analyzes Astros-Mariners matchup
• Astros seek more offense from center field, leaving Dubón odd man out
• Illness puts Game 2 starter announcement on hold
• No lack of ill will between Astros, Mariners
• Series primer: TV, ticket info and much more
• Flashback: Revisiting playoff series of Astros’ golden age
• Podcast: Breaking down Astros vs. Mariners

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