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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Many of the games have been hard to watch. Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

They say that breaking up is hard to do, then comes the rebuilding, and that's where the real pain happens. Last week, the 4-9 Rockets lost a tough game, 103-91, to the very average San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center. That night, Ben McLemore scored 21 points, while P.J. Tucker contributed four points.

Every other point for the Rockets was scored by a player who wasn't on the team last year. That's no way to build a fan base of young people, or older people, or anybody. Because of COVID restrictions, the Rockets can sell only 3,000 tickets to games, and they're still having to offer special deals like four tickets and four drinks (soda, water, wine or beer) for $79.

The night the Rockets fell to the Spurs, DeMarcus Cousins was out with an ankle injury (surprise), John Wall was out with a sore knee (shock), and Eric Gordon sat with a lower leg injury (stunning). They were not sidelined by COVID protocol, it was age creakiness. All three are on the other side of 30. All have a history of missing games because of injuries. Danuel House also missed the game because of a bad back and COVID protocol.

The Rockets took to the floor with able-bodied Mason Jones, David Nwaba, Rodions Kurucs, Kenyon Martin Jr., Jae'Sean Tate and Christian Wood. They're nice players, for sure, they're on an NBA roster. But the NBA is a megastar-driven operation. How many of them would you recognize if they were standing behind you at Costco? The way the Rockets sign, trade and cut players, many or most of the current roster won't be around next year. Becoming a fan of a current Rocket is like falling in love with the Rug Doctor you rented for the weekend at a supermarket. It's going back Monday.

Last year, the head coach was Mike D'Antoni, the general manager was Daryl Morey. Both are established and respected figures in the league. Would you recognize the Rockets new coach Stephen Silas? Can you even name the Rockets new general manager?

And that's how you sink to 14th place in the Western Conference standings, inevitably a lottery team, the end to the Rockets' eight-year run of making the playoffs … the longest current streak in the NBA. The 2021 Rockets aren't just a lousy product, it's worse, they're a boring team. Gordon and Tucker, maybe the two most popular Rockets veterans, are rumored to be traded soon. Fans will have abandonment issues.

Maybe the Rockets should offer something stiffer than beer on "Guys Night Out" next Thursday when the Portland Trail Blazers visit Toyota Center. Good seats available.

That's not what you want to see

Did you see where the New York Mets fired their general manager Jared Porter because he sent explicit, uninvited, unanswered text messages to a female reporter?. Porter absolutely deserved to lose his job. What he did was awful and cruel. More than just losing his job, he should be committed to a home for the terminally stupid. Who does something that moronic? So unconscionable and abusive, on top of being job-killing.

But not all junk shots are meant to be hurtful – here's one that's actually funny, and totally inadvertent and innocent. Several years ago, a local sportscaster not only took a photo of his naked, anatomically correct body, he posted it on Facebook for all of his friends, indeed the world, to see. I won't name the local sportscaster because he was the victim of his own innocent lack of focus. It could have happened to anybody. Not me, thankfully, but anybody else.

Here's how it happened. The sportscaster was taking a shower, and when he emerged, he noticed his kitten curled up in the bathroom sink. Aw, isn't that cute? The sportscaster grabbed his phone and took a photo.

And posted it on Facebook. He didn't notice that, in the background of the photo, in the mirror, was his naked body. You can't say he was butt naked because it was full frontal nudity. You can't say it was a wardrobe malfunction because there was no wardrobe involved. Fortunately his wife noticed the mishap and told the sportscaster to delete the photo.

Here's the real problem, and his solid alibi. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put huge, wide mirrors in the bathroom, especially opposite the bath tub? There's a good look, you're naked, dripping wet, with patches of soap you missed rinsing off. This should be a fleeting disturbing image, not one to be preserved on film or online. Solution: don't bring your phone, or any photographic equipment, into the bathroom. We've all taken accidental photos. Nobody needs to see a photo of your disgusting body. You are not Michelangelo's statue of David. I don't let my dog watch me take a shower or any other business conducted in the bathroom. There is a reason that bathroom doors have locks. Use them.

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