The Astros host the Yankees in a must-win Game 6 at Minute Maid Park Friday night. It's the first Game 6 for the Astros since they punched their ticket to the World Series 12 years ago.
The fate of the Astros' season falls on Justin Verlander, the veteran righty who waived his no-trade clause just moments before the final trade deadline to come to Houston. This is his 19th postseason start of his career.
"This is what we work so hard for," Verlander told reporters Thursday. "My workout regimen in the offseason, my throwing regimen, my shoulder regimen during the season all that stuff, this is when it pays off the most."
Verlander says he doesn't prefer his back against the wall, but knows momentum can shift quickly.
"This is an exciting series with two great teams going at it," he said. "Obviously home field advantage has been huge to this point; hopefully we can keep that going."
"When you talk about momentum, if we're able to win the game, I think all that momentum switches back to our side where we're having a Game 7 in our home park."
Astros spokesperson Dena Propis says the team is also relying on fan support to extend the series.
"Our players have said several times that having that energy and having that noise from our fans means absolutely everything to them," she says.
"It energizes them, it gives them that boost when they're feeling tired, so it means so much to have everyone here screaming at the top of their lungs and wearing orange."
Ticketholders are urged to come down early for "Street Fest" which opens at 3 pm.
Rockets legend Clyde Drexler is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Country singer Jack Ingram will perform the national anthem and sing "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch.