The Houston Astros lead the Boston Red Sox two games to one in the best three-of-five American League Division Series matchup, and are looking to close out on the road today. The Astros pummeled the Red Sox in the first two games, with the final scores of both games being 8-2. However, the Red Sox bounced back in a big way yesterday, winning in emphatic fashion 10-3. Let’s take a look at how today’s matchup could potentially play out, with the Astros looking to punch their ticket to the American League Championship Series while the Red Sox are hoping to push this series to a final and deciding game five.
Date – Monday October 9th, 2017
Time – 1:08 PM EST
Line – HOU -120
Why The Astros Might Win
The Astros are rolling with Charlie Morton in this crucial game four. On the year, Morton is 14-7 with a 3.62 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, 0.31:1 BB:K ratio, and a stellar 0.86 HR/9 rate. Opponents have slash a measly .228/.306/.386 against Morton. This year’s version of Morton has been different compared to prior years. Before 2017, Morton had a career strikeout rate of 16% but suddenly fanned 26.4% of batters faced. Morton used to rely heavily on his sinker but this year, he’s been throwing a lot more four-seam fastballs, averaging 95.5 mph, while his sinker is averaging 95 mph. However, his wipeout pitch has been his curveball, which has held batters to a .119 average and had a 44% strikeout rate. The Astros bullpen has been faltering, but they’re the better team. The Astros will likely be playing in desperation mode as they’ll definitely not be looking forward to a potential game five and having to face Chris Sale, who struck out 308 batters this year.
Why The Red Sox Might Win
In this win-or-go-home game four, the Red Sox are going with Rick Porcello. After winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2016, Porcello has been rather pedestrian this year. On the year, Porcello is 11-17 with a 4.65 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 1.40 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, 0.27:1 BB:K ratio, and a horrendous 1.68 HR/9 rate. Additionally, opponents have posted a pretty solid slash line against last year’s Cy Young winner – .286/.328/.498. With the Red Sox season on the line, I wouldn’t feel so comfortable with Porcello as the starter, even though he’s definitely capable of turning back the clock and posting a Cy Young performance. Porcello will no doubt be on a short leash and after leading the league in home runs allowed, Porcello will need to turn back the clock if he’s to save the Red Sox season. The Red Sox offense woke up last night – let’s see if the offense is able to maintain this type of performance.
Let’s take a look at the head-to-head matchups of the two starting pitchers.
Charlie Morton vs. Red Sox
- Hanley Ramirez .067/.176/.067 with 2 BB and 3 K in 15 AB
- Chris Young .250/.308/.500 with 1 HR, 1 BB, and 2 K in 12 AB
While there aren’t too many meaningful stats with Morton and the Red Sox hitters, there’s decent sample sizes for Porcello.
Rick Porcello vs. Astros
- Carlos Beltran .370/.379/.519 with 1 HR, 1 BB, and 5 K in 27 AB
- Brian McCann .250/.240/.292 with 0 BB and 9 K in 24 AB
- Josh Reddick .300/.533/.600 with 1 HR, 5 BB, and 1 K in 10 AB
- Josh Altuve .222/.222/.667 with 1 HR, 0 BB, and 1 K in 9 AB
- Marwin Gonzalez .375/.444/.500 with 1 BB and 2 K in 8 AB
- George Springer .429/.429/.714 with 2 2B, 0 BB, and 3 K in 7 AB
Porcello’s head-to-head matchups against the Astros batters have mixed results, but it’s mostly been positive on the part of the Astros. With Hurricane Harvey decimating the city of Houston, the fans will be behind the Astros, which should provide further motivation for today’s game. Also, the Astros will be facing a very vulnerable Porcello, who led the league in home runs allowed this year. The Astros should close out this game and advance to the ALCS.
Since the Astros are on the road in this spot, you don’t have to lay much in terms of the betting line. If they were laying -150 or more, we’d have to pause and possibly shift our play to the total but at -120, it’s a reasonable investment. Look for them to get the job done and be the first team to advance to the Championship Series.
Pick: Astros -120
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