ALCS GAME 4 AT A GLANCE

Astros-Red Sox Game 4 Preview: Time to right the ship

Charlie Morton gets the ball tonight in a must-win. Houston Astros/Facebook
     

With their backs being pushed closer and closer to the wall, Game 4 is an important one for the Astros. They'll get the chance to tie the series up tonight and make it a best-of-3. Check our recap right after the final pitch for the highlights of the game:


When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Minute Maid.

TV: TBS.

Streaming: TBS App.

Pitching matchup: Charlie Morton vs. Rick Porcello.

Series: Red Sox lead 2-1.

The breakdown: The Astros will have to flip the momentum from the last two games to hold the Red Sox down in tonight's game long enough to build a lead they can hold on to. The best way they can accomplish that is by taking advantage of the pitching matchup. Charlie Morton, who will take the mound for the Astros, will be coming off an extended period of rest, his last in-game action coming in a tune-up start to finish the regular season on Sept. 30. Rick Porcello will be starting for Boston, and he, on the other hand, has already seen his fair share of the 2018 postseason with one five-inning start against the Yankees in their ALDS-clinching Game 4 win, and two relief appearances, most recently on Sunday where he threw a scoreless frame. Look for the Astros to try and manufacture some early runs to put stress on Porcello and get to the Red Sox bullpen early, meanwhile giving Morton some run support to go deep into the game to limit innings from their own relievers. 

Series schedule:

   Result / Date & Time  Location  Pitching matchup
Game 1  Astros 7, Red Sox 2  Boston  Verlander (W) vs. Sale (ND)
Game 2  Astros 5, Red Sox 7  Boston  Cole (L) vs. Price (ND)
Game 3  Astros 2, Red Sox 8  Minute Maid  Keuchel (ND) vs. Eovaldi (W)
Game 4  Tonight, 7:30 PM  Minute Maid  Morton vs. Porcello
Game 5  Thursday 10/18, 7:00 PM  Minute Maid  Verlander+ vs. TBD
Game 6*  Saturday 10/20, 4:00 PM  Boston  Cole+ vs. TBD
Game 7*  Sunday 10/21, 6:30 PM  Boston  TBD vs. TBD

* Games 6-7 are if necessary.
+-projected starters.

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Houston's winning streak moves to six

Eighth-inning rally powers Astros to series sweep over Rangers

Yuli Gurriel brought in the go-ahead run late in Sunday's game. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Winners in the first three games of this series and their last five games overall, the Astros continued their climb towards the A's for first place in the AL West. They completed the four-game sweep, ending a successful homestand on a positive note before heading on the road.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 2

Astros' Record: 24-17, tied for first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brooks Raley (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Joely Rodriguez (1-2)

Astros strike first, McCullers Jr. goes six scoreless

After the Rangers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Houston grabbed an early lead off the bat of Alex Bregman. He provided the third single of the inning, a one-out RBI to put the Astros in front 1-0, a score which would hold steady for a while. Another run didn't come across until the bottom of the fifth when Houston would load the bases with one out when Carlos Correa would get an RBI groundball to double the lead to 2-0.

Lance McCullers Jr. did well with the small lead, backing up his recent eight-inning gem with a quality start against Texas. He allowed a couple of hits each in the third and fourth but would erase the runners with no damage allowed. The Rangers threatened in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double before the runner moved to third on a wild pitch, putting him in a great position with no outs. McCullers Jr. would come away unscathed, finishing the inning and his day by retiring the next three batters. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 95 P.

Rangers tie it against Scrubb

First out of Houston's bullpen was Andre Scrubb, and he would not fare as well as the Astros starter. A leadoff single turned into a two-run game-tying homer, making it 2-2 before Scrubb would sit down the next three in order. Still tied in the top of the eighth, Brooks Raley had a terrific inning, striking out the three batters he faced.

Houston rallies ahead in the eighth for the four-game sweep

The top of Houston's order mounted a threat in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out to try and regain the lead. Yuli Gurriel would come through with the go-ahead at-bat, getting a sac fly to put the Astros back in front 3-2. A two-out walk loaded the bases again, setting up Chas McCormick to provide two insurance runs on a two-RBI single.

Myles Straw added one more on an RBI single, making it a four-run game at 6-2 heading to the ninth. Enoli Paredes made his long-awaited return from the IL, appearing for the first time since April 8th to try and close things out in the ninth. He tossed a scoreless inning, finishing off the four-game sweep, extending Houston's winning streak to six games, and keeping them in step with Oakland for the AL West lead.

Up Next: After a day off on Monday, the Astros will begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday. They'll kick off a three-game set in Oakland against the A's at 8:40 PM, an exciting matchup to determine who will head into the weekend atop the division. While Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.08 ERA) is the expected starter for Houston, Oakland has not yet determined their rotation for the series.

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