The Astros will send Zack Greinke to the mound in ALCS Game Four, while the Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka.
After Wednesday’s rainout, Thursday’s Game Four of the ALCS will be a rematch from Game One. Zack Greinke will take the mound for the Astros, while Masahiro Tanaka will pitch for the Yankees. The Astros will attempt to extend their 2-1 series lead and force the Yankees to the brink of elimination.
As you may recall, Game One was decidedly one-sided in favor of the Yankees. Tanaka absolutely carved up the Astros hitters for six innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. He needed only 68 pitches to get through those six innings, and the Yankees won 7-0.
Greinke didn’t pitch badly, but he wasn’t nearly as good as Tanaka. He gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings, throwing 83 pitches. He’ll need to be sharper this time around, especially pitching in Yankee Stadium.
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Both pitchers should be ready to go after getting their full rest and throwing less than a full workload in Game One. Both offenses should try to run up their pitch counts and get them out of the game as quickly as possible.
For the Yankees, getting Greinke out early is big. The Astros bullpen doesn’t have the depth that New York’s does, and with the possibility of the teams playing four games in four days, the Astros need their starters to throw as many innings as possible.
The Yankees bullpen is certainly deeper, but it is nonetheless important for the Astros to run up Tanaka’s pitch count. Everyone should be rested following the off day, but the Yankees rely so much on their bullpen that forcing Aaron Boone to use his best relievers in Game Four will be key for the rest of the series. Scratching out a few runs off Tanaka would be nice too.
It’s unclear if the Yankees will have Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup, who homered off Greinke in Game One but missed the next two. His absence would be welcome for Greinke, but the lineup will be challenging to navigate nonetheless. Gleyber Torres will be the hitter to watch, as he also took Greinke deep and is hitting .417 with a 1.500 OPS in the ALCS.
Meanwhile, Jose Altuve has been the Astros best hitter, with a .417 average and 1.129 OPS this series. Somewhat quietly, Michael Brantley has been the next-best at a .308 clip. Kyle Tucker was the only Astro to get a hit off Tanaka last time, but he might not be in the lineup after Josh Reddick homered in Game Three.
The temperature is set to be in the 40s this evening in New York, which could affect the game as well. The ball doesn’t typically carry as well in cold weather, which could cause a potential home run or two to die on the warning track. Situational hitting will be even more important.
First pitch is set for 7:08 p.m. CT on FS1.