The initial plan was for Game Four to be a bullpen game, possibly with Jose Urquidy or Brad Peacock getting the start. Now with the game pushed back to Thursday, the Astros will start Zack Greinke in Game Four on regular rest. Greinke had been in line to start Game Five on Thursday.
Justin Verlander will start Friday’s Game Five on regular rest after previously being in line to start Game Six. Gerrit Cole would still be in line to start a potential Game Seven on regular rest, so that probably won’t change. This just means that a potential Game Six would likely be a bullpen game.
AJ Hinch choosing to start Verlander on Friday has its benefits. If they win Game Four, Verlander pitching would be akin to going for the knockout punch, trying to clinch the series in Game Five. If they can do that, they would be set up well for the World Series.
If the Astros lose Game Four, Hinch going with Verlander on Friday would hopefully prevent the team from falling down 3-2 in the series and facing elimination. Verlander would essentially be the stopper in this scenario. Hinch would have to put together a bullpen game on Saturday, but hopefully the team won’t be facing elimination at that point.
The hardest part will be managing the bullpen itself. The travel days allow everyone to get a day of rest, but since there won’t be a travel day between Game Five and Game Six, that luxury goes away. He’ll have to figure out when to rest guys like Will Harris and Roberto Osuna, as you probably don’t want them pitching four straight days.