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ALCS Game 4 open thread

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The Astros have a 2-1 series lead over the Yankees, who will try to knot it back up on Thursday night.

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at New York Yankees
Masahiro Tanaka looks to continue his postseason success tonight.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday’s rain may have delayed when it took place, but there’s no stopping Game 4 of the ALCS between the Astros and Yankees. The stakes only get higher as the series moves along. The Yankees need to tie things back up, while the Astros could instead take a commanding 3-1 lead with two of the three remaining (if necessary) games set to take place in their home stadium.

Standing against that goal is Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka, who’s able to pitch in this game due to that extra off day. Tanaka has thrown 41 innings over seven postseason starts and has allowed a total of six runs. That’s an impressive run, and one the Yankees will surely be hoping that he is able to continue tonight. This includes Game 1 of this same series, in which Tanaka pitched six innings and the Astros were shut out.

Obviously, the civilized baseball world will be pulling for the Astros to keep that from happening. The action gets back underway at 8:08 on Fox Sports 1.

Astros lineup

  1. George Springer - CF
  2. Jose Altuve - 2B
  3. Michael Brantley - LF
  4. Alex Bregman - 3B
  5. Yuli Gurriel - 1B
  6. Yordan Alvarez - DH
  7. Carlos Correa - SS
  8. Robinson Chirinos - C
  9. Josh Reddick - CF

The Astros have been outscored in this series so far, 10-7. There are no wins for winning the run differential battle. Still, as much of a tremendous offense as the Astros had in the regular season, that hasn’t showed up quite yet in this series. That could be because the Yankees have been pitching well or because MLB has un-juiced the baseballs.

At least one reporter earlier on Thursday observed that it’s very windy in Yankee Stadium today. If that’s still going on at game time, that could be another factor in the outcome.

Pitching for the Astros is Zack Greinke, who gave up three runs in six innings in Game 1 of this series.

Yankees lineup

  1. DJ LeMahieu - 1B
  2. Aaron Judge - RF
  3. Aaron Hicks - CF
  4. Gleyber Torres - 2B
  5. Edwin Encarnacion - DH
  6. Brett Gardner - LF
  7. Gary Sanchez - C
  8. Gio Urshela - 3B
  9. Didi Gregorius - SS

This is the third straight game where Giancarlo Stanton has not been in the starting lineup due to quad soreness. Stanton is now reportedly “pretty close to being a DH option.” The Yankees apparently feel that preserving that option has been better than having a fully healthy roster available to them. If they remove Stanton from the ALCS roster, he also would not be able to play in the World Series, if the Yankees make it that far.