Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#919 Houston Astros 8 vs.
#920 New York Yankees -130
Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 8:08pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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The AL Championship Series takes center stage as the series continues with a pivotal contest in the Bronx, provided the weather cooperates. The Houston Astros are on the road as they play Game 4 of their best of seven set with the New York Yankees Thursday night. In Houston, the teams split the first two games in the series: New York took a 7-0 victory in Game 1 on Saturday night. Houston answered by recording a 3-2 victory in 11 innings on Sunday night to square the series. The Astros grabbed home field advantage back by earning a 4-1 win in Game 3 on the road Tuesday night. Mother Nature won the day Wednesday, postponing Game 4: after a day’s reprieve, will the Yankees be able to answer the call and square the set or will Houston take a 3-1 series lead?

Houston Astros Seek Commanding 3-1 Lead in Series

Houston used another stellar outing from their co-ace to earn a road victory and take the 2-1 series advantage. The Astros now try to earn another victory and a commanding 3-1 advantage in the series. Houston got two hits from Jose Altuve (two runs, RBI) and Michael Brantley (run) in the victory. Altuve (his fourth of the postseason) and Josh Reddick (his first) each went deep in the triumph. Gerrit Cole (3-0) continued his torrid run as he earned the win: he threw seven innings, allowing no runs on four hits with five walks and seven strikeouts. Roberto Osuna retired the side in the ninth for his first save.

Zack Greinke gets the ball for his third start of the postseason after logging 33 regular season starts split between Arizona and Houston. He finished the regular season 18-5 with a 2.93 ERA, a 0.982 WHIP, 30 walks and 187 strikeouts over 208.2 innings of work. Greinke took the loss in his last start, which came at home against the Yankees in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series on Saturday. He threw six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts in an eventual 7-0 Houston loss. Greinke is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA, a 0.889 WHIP, two walks and 20 strikeouts over 18 innings in his last three starts. He is 4-5 with a 5.00 ERA, a 1.319 WHIP, 27 walks and 61 strikeouts over 77.1 innings in 16 career appearances, 13 starts, against the Yankees. Greinke is 0-1 with an 11.57 ERA, a 1.857 WHIP, six walks and seven strikeouts over nine innings in two career starts at Yankee Stadium.

New York Yankees Try to Square Series Up

New York’s bats have fallen silent in the last couple of games and that has left them behind in the series for the first time. After scoring seven runs in the opener, the Yankees have totaled three runs in 20 innings in the last two games. New York finished with five hits in the game: DJ LeMahieu was the lone player with two while Gleyber Torres accounted for the Yankees’ lone run in the eighth inning with his third homer of the postseason. Luis Severino (0-1) took the loss on the mound: he allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts over 4.1 innings of work.

Masahiro Tanaka is expected to get the call for his third postseason start after making 32 regular season appearances, 31 starts, for the Yankees this season. He was 11-9 with a 4.45 ERA, a 1.242 WHIP, 40 walks and 149 strikeouts over 182 innings of work in the regular season. Tanaka earned the win in his last outing, which came on the road against the Astros in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series Saturday night. He threw six innings, allowing no runs on one hit with one walk and four strikeouts in an eventual 7-0 New York victory. Tanaka is 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA, a 0.56 WHIP, two walks and 17 strikeouts over 18 innings in his last three starts. He is 1-2 with a 5.66 ERA, a 1.258 WHIP, 10 walks and 29 strikeouts over 41.1 innings in eight career starts against the Astros. Tanaka is 42-20 with a 3.36 ERA, a 1.072 WHIP, 97 walks and 510 strikeouts over 516.2 innings in 82 career starts at Yankee Stadium.

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The rainout gave the pitching staffs a breather and allowed both teams to shift their focus from a bullpen day in Game 4 to returning to their Game 1 starters. That actually helps the Yankees at this point as it allows them to keep their relievers fresh while turning the ball over to Tanaka, who shut the Astros down in the opening game of this series. New York knows how important this game is as they don’t want to go down 3-1 facing Justin Verlander in Game 5. Greinke has sputtered in his two postseason starts and is winless at Yankee Stadium in his career. Granted, it’s a small sample size but the fact remains that he’s struggled in the House that Ruth Built. Give the Yankees the upper hand as they tie the series up heading to Game 5.

Prediction: New York Yankees -120

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We've seen three relatively low-scoring affairs in the series as the teams have combined to score 17 runs in three games. That's hardly impressive from a hitting perspective when you consider that the Astros were third in the majors with 5.68 runs per game in the regular season while the Yankees were first with 5.82 runs per contest. In three games, the Yankees have a 10-7 advantage on the scoreboard but seven of their runs came in Game 1. After we saw seven runs in Game 1, there have been only five runs in Games 2 and 3. Can New York find a way to get runs on the board here?

The under is 3-0-1 in the Astros' last four overall, 3-0-1 in their last four on grass, 3-0-1 in their last four playoff games, 3-0-1 in their last four against AL East teams and 4-1 in their last five games on Wednesday. New York has seen the under go 4-1 in their last five games in the AL Championship Series, 3-1-1 in their last five on Wednesday and 14-5-1 in their last 20 against AL West teams. This one likely falls under the number provided the game even takes place given the weather as the bats simply haven't clicked for either team in the series.

Prediction: Under 8
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.