With the postponement of a scheduled Game 4 in the ALCS on Wednesday, the Astros and Yankees were able to realign their rotations, and a rematch of Game 1 -- Zack Greinke for the Astros vs. Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees -- with both pitching on normal rest.
It, however, does add to the desire to get this series over in six games or fewer because the rainout means -- weather permitting -- if the ALCS were to go to seven games, Game 7 would still be played on Sunday, meaning a four-game-four-day stretch. And that means neither Geinke nor Tanaka would be ready on normal rest.
It could lead to the team that would go into Saturday's Game 6 with a 3-games-to-2 edge could decide to turn to a bullpen game for Game 6, knowing that would assure a rested top starter rested if a Game 7 is necessary, instead of going into a win-or-go-home Game 7 trying to piece things togehter with the bullpen.
Greinke has had a struggle in this post-season, giving up nine runs in 9 2/3 innings, including three runs on six hits, including two home runs, in the ALCS opener at Minute Maid Park. That came on the heels of Grineke giving up six runs in 3 2/3 innings of Game 1 of the AL Division Series against Tampa Bay. He made that start on 11 days rest.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch is confident in Greinke, particularly in light of the fact he will be working on a normal four-days of rest on Thursday.
“I think for him execution is always key,” Hinch said. “He’s one of the best at it when he gets locked in with his mechanics and timing and delivery. When he makes his pitches, he’s really difficult to hit, and you can see that based on how good he is for as long as he’s been good. It will all come down to pitch execution.”
It is worth noting that Greinke is 205-123 in the regular season during his career, including having a winning record in 12 of the last 13 seasons, including each of the last 10. He, however, is 3-6 with a 4.58 ERA in 13 career post-season starts, his team having won six of the 13 games.
The Astros are looking to eliminate the Yankees from the post-season for the third time in five years, and for the second time in three years in the American League Championship Series. Over the last five years, however, the teams have been evenly matched during the regular season.
Both teams had impact offenses during the regular season, but the post-season is a different world. There are only 10 players who are hitting .250 or better in the ALCS -- five from each team. And each team has one player among the 10 whyo has played in only one of the three games.