Heavy rain and strong winds could play a critical role in the outcome of this series.

WeatherMap: ALCS Report

Weathermodels.com

The Astros came into this post season with the slogan "October Reign," and October Rain is what they are going to get in New York today. If you have followed the ALCS at all you have likely heard by now that the status of Game 4 is in question given the prospect for rain. Beyond the rain today the weather will remain a factor into Thursday and possibly Friday in New York so lets break down what we are looking at.

Wednesday (Game 4) - Scheduled start time 7:08 PM Central

Rain is all but guaranteed this afternoon and this evening. Rain, which will be heavy at times, will be moving in during the mid to late afternoon and will likely continue through at least midnight. This would preclude the game from being simply delayed. A postponement seems most likely. I would be surprised if the game isn't called by mid day. The postponement of the game could have significant implications on the pitching matchups for the rest of the series by allowing starters to get an additional day of rest.

Model simulated radar for 8 PM - Midnight tonightWeathermodels.com

Thursday (Game 4 or Game 5) - Scheduled start time 7:08 PM Central

Rain moves out of the area Thursday but it is replaced by strong winds and temperatures in the mid 50s on the back side of the storm system. On Thursday the wind could gust up to 40 MPH at times, however by game time that should hopefully die down a bit. By early evening winds should be coming out of the west at about 20 MPH with occasional gusts up to 30 MPH. Winds like this would be impactful no matter what, but what makes this situation particularly interesting is the orientation of Yankee Stadium. The field is in a west to east orientation, meaning that the wind will be blowing straight out to center field. Obviously this favors home run potential which can cut both ways with both teams being more than capable of bashing the long ball. All those balls that died on the warning track yesterday would be several rows deep on Thursday. Pitching will be critically important on this day.

Friday (Potentially Game 5) Scheduled start time TBD

Friday does not look like weather will be a major factor. Winds will only be about 10-12 miles per hour blowing across the field from the third base line. However this will be the coolest of the games with temperatures starting in the mid 50s and falling into the low 50s during the game.

A note on temperatures: On both Thursday and Friday game time temperatures look to be in the mid 50s. Not freezing by any means, but certainly colder than the teams are used to playing in. Both teams have been playing all summer so it is not like the Yankees are significantly more acclimated to the cooler temperatures than the Astros are. The main impact from the cooler temperatures may be on pitching. Cooler air is more dense which imparts additional friction on the ball leading to more movement on pitches. I suspect we saw a little of this effect yesterday when Gerrit Cole gave up an abnormal amount of walks and said he lacked some command on his fastball. The effect may be small, but when it comes to the strike zone every millimeter makes a difference.

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The Rockets may be the smartest guys in the room. Or the cheapest

The Rockets have their new head coach. Composite photo by Brandon Strange

On Wednesday afternoon, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Rockets' coaching search had come to an end finally. The front office tabbed Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas as the successor to Mike D'Antoni, beating out former Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy and current Rockets assistant John Lucas.

Knee jerk reaction?

I'm not mad at it. I expected Jeff Van Gundy to be the next hire, but maybe that was just nostalgia clouding my judgment. Either way, the Silas hire should be viewed optimistically. He's been highly regarded for some time around the league as an inventive mind that comes from basketball pedigree and has worked with big-name guards in prior stops around the league. If the Rockets didn't grab him, it was only a matter of time before another team gave him a shot.

Now there are two very distinct ways to look at this hire:

The first is that the Rockets, in spite of being one of the last teams to fill their coaching vacancy, are the smartest kids in the room. Every team is looking for the next version of what the Celtics found in their current head coach, Brad Stevens; a young brilliant coach that just needed a team to give him a shot. Hired at 37 from the college ranks, Stevens endured one losing season (his first) and has since guided the Celtics to six playoff appearances, to include three conference finals appearances. Not bad, considering he was up against LeBron James for most of those.

That is what it looks like the Rockets are trying to go for. Now at 47, Silas probably won't be mistaken for a wunderkind, but compared to 69-year-old D'Antoni, he might as well be announcing his hire on Tik Tok. If it works out, the Rockets will have once again been one step ahead of the league with the hiring of their innovative new coach.

The other way to look at the Silas hire is a little less rosy.

While Silas is only 47, he's also been an assistant in the league since he was 27. The positive spin on his resume is that he's worked with star players the likes of Kemba Walker, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry. The reality is that he worked with them while they were very young in their careers, and worked on teams like the Cavaliers, Bobcats/Hornets, Wizards, and Warriors (when they were bad). Until the last two seasons working with Luka Doncic on the Mavericks, there hasn't been a lot of success following Silas. That's not necessarily an indictment since he was an assistant, but it's not exactly a sparkling pedigree.

So while this could be a brilliant hire, at the moment, it has all of the markings of the cheaper hire. As I've mentioned before, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has been quite vocal about the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on his portfolio. Clips and quotes moaning and groaning about losing money are not typically precursors to an owner gearing up to make a big financial investment in the front office of a sports team that he can't sell tickets for anyone to come see. If in fact, money factored in more than fit, it would make sense that the Rockets would forego a coach like Van Gundy, whose previous head coaching experience would automatically command a higher starting price. We'll, of course, have to wait and see what the actual contract figures are once released.

It could be one. It could be the other. It could be both. Hopefully it translates into wins either way.

One thing that's for certain though is that Silas needs to take some pointers from Russell Westbrook and James Harden before he steps out courtside in any more of those TJ Maxx suits, circa 2000. Big boy job means big boy suits.

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