Things have gone according to plan for the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees thus far, their bats coming alive and the pitching following suit. Anything can happen in a best-of-seven series, and it is clear that after being destroyed in Game 1 by a 7-0 count, that the Astros are, in fact, back. It is their third year in a row qualifying for the ALCS, and after taking New York down a couple of seasons back, they seem to possibly be on the verge of doing it again.
New York has some improvements to be made, especially in the pitching department. Aaron Boone usually does not allow his starters to go deep or run up high pitch counts in postseason games, and the 70 pitches in six perfect Masahiro Tanaka innings in Game 1 is no exception. The bright side to that decision is that he is at least available to throw again on Thursday, in the most important game to date for the home team as they try to avoid a 3-1 deficit.
The moneyline for Game 4 is set with Houston being +130 underdogs, and the Yankees favored at -130. The over/under is at eight runs.
Getting On A Roll
After an impressive victory in Game 3, Houston is hoping to continue to sprinkle the right ingredients into the ballgame and go ahead 3-1 in the series. They could do no right in the opening game of the series but have responded impressively. It seems that most fans around the league have no belief in Houston, and they think that the Yankees should win this series without a problem. The Astros have better hitting and a starting rotation that can be unhittable at times. Gerrit Cole overcame a season high in walks to still deliver seven innings to help Houston to the win in Game 3.
After going 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 starts with the Astros in the regular season, Zack Greinke has been the losing pitcher in both of his starts this postseason. He is 3-6 with a 4.58 ERA in his playoff career over 13 starts, striking out 70 and walking 16 in 76 2/3 innings.
Can The Yankees Get The Win?
There is no doubt that a loss in Game 4 would doom the Yankees. If they cannot get it done, they would need wins over both Justin Verlander and Cole still, and thanks to the rainout on Wednesday, there will not be any more off days. This is a team that uses its bullpen heavily, and Boone has not thrown anybody out for three games in a row yet this season. The situation is not favoring them, and if they cannot start putting guys on base before their best hitters, the situation will remain tough.
Tanaka went 11-9 with a 4.45 ERA, 149 Ks and 40 BBs in 30 starts (182 innings) this year. He is 5-2 with a 1.32 ERA in seven playoff starts, striking out 36 and walking nine. Tanaka had allowed two runs over 19 innings against Houston in his postseason career.
Houston Finally Figures Out Tanaka
Tanaka will not last as long as the team needs him to after he threw just 70 pitches in Game 1, and he will allow a few runs they won’t be able to get back as Houston takes Game 4.
Free Play: HOU +110
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