A crazy one yesterday in Game 4 of the ALCS. The Yankees looked like they were dead in the water, and that’s when Aaron Judge ignited the offense and sent them to a 6-4 win. Judge connected on a solo shot in the bottom of the 7th which started a chain reaction of runs for the Yankees.
Should Lance McCullers have been pulled after Judge went deep on him? I have to question that decision, as it was the only mistake he made all game long. You give him another hitter or two, and if he struggles, I’m not going to say it’s a bad choice to pull the cord. Gary Sanchez ultimately broke the tie up, knocking a double into the gap to bring two runs home. The Astros weren’t able to muster up anymore offense from there.
There was a small amount of controversy to go with McCullers in Game 4. After all of that, though, it wasn’t McCullers fault at all. In fact, if he doesn’t pitch like that the game is a blowout. Despite scoring 4 runs, the Astro offense still wasn’t performing at the level we seen in the regular season. Once again, they couldn’t hit their run average from the regular season, where they were scoring over 5 runs per game with ease.
The bullpen blew it, but the offense still has to find a game where they put up 7 or 8 runs. By now you would think they’d have one of those games in the ALCS under their belt. Not the case. Now, Dallas Keuchel will look to get the Astros back to Houston with a series lead, and an opportunity to close it out. The final two games of the series will take place in Houston. Let’s get straight to our ALCS Game 5 pick below.
Houston Astros vs. N.Y. Yankees Pick
Dallas Keuchel (14-5, 2.90 ERA) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA)
There was some speculation that the Astros were going to go with Keuchel in Game 4, but they preserved him for a start in Game 5. It’s an incredibly important game and start for Keuchel, the biggest of his career. A win will put the Astros in a position where they just need to win one in Houston to win the series, whether it comes in Game 6 or 7. In other words, the Yankees need this game badly.
Going to Houston for the final two games down a game could be a death sentence. The Astros have been good on the road this year, but haven’t showed it in the ALCS. Keuchel has been excellent in his last three outings, posting a 0.96 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. In the postseason, he has a staggering ERA of 0.71, including 7 innings with no runs allowed against the Yanks.
Don’t forget about Tanaka, though. He has yielded a 0.90 ERA and 0.60 WHIP in his last three outings, nearly identical to Keuchel. Tanaka allowed 2 runs against the ‘Stros in his previous start, a 2-1 win for Houston. He hasn’t traditionally been good against the Astros, however. Note that this current Astros’ lineup has hit him for a .322 with 7 deep balls in 59 at-bats. Keuchuel on the other hand has been unhittable for the Yankees, a team BA of .181. Can Tanaka buck the trend again? I say that Keuchel is going to win this duel, getting the Astros a win and 3-2 series lead before we head back to Houston for Game 6. I like the Astros in Game 5 of the ALCS.
PICK: ASTROS (-120)