Game 4 between the Astros and Rangers starts at 8:03PM EST on Oct. 19th. After a Game 3 win, the Astros look to tie the series on the road. Let’s take a look at some odds for Game 4 of the ALCS, where my prediction is for over 9.5 runs.
Astros Vs. Rangers Prediction
It had to happen eventually; the Texas Rangers have lost a postseason game in 2023. After sweeping their way through the Rays and Orioles in the first two rounds and going up 2-0 after a pair of massive wins in Houston, the Rangers brought a sparkling 7-0 playoff record back to Arlington, and failed to extend the streak. Interestingly enough, it did lengthen a different streak, although not one to which the Rangers were looking to contribute; the home teams are 0-3 in this series. That’s likely not a sustainable trend, but this is of course the Astros team that played through a 2019 World Series that went seven games and never featured a home win.
The Rangers threw Max Scherzer in game three, and he deserves heaps of credit for even getting on the mound at this stage of his career with such a recent injury to his throwing shoulder, but he didn’t get the job done. The legendary righty, who fought through the pain en route to much greater effectiveness against Houston in that 2019 Fall Classic, was just a bit rusty as he surrendered five runs in four innings of work, by way of five hits and four walks, an ugly final stat line.
Cristian Javier had a much smoother outing, he allowed only four baserunners in 5.2 innings of work, yielding just two earned runs as he continues to perform better in October than he did during the regular season. That trend has also been the case for both of Thursday’s starters, at least through one start. Houston’s José Urquidy worked through a vital 5.2 innings of 2-run ball in a tight win over the Minnesota Twins, after struggling to a 5.29 ERA in the regular season. Andrew Heaney was the very picture of mediocrity in his first season in Texas, although that’s a pretty good outcome given his career standard, and he contributed a short but effective 3.2 inning start against the Orioles, allowing just one run in a game the Rangers would go on to win 3-2.
Javier has great stuff, and went through a tough stretch; he has the track record to make us believe in his hot postseason start, after he earned an ERA of 0.71 in 12.2 innings of work last October. Conversely, Heaney and Urquidy have done very little to convince us that their initial solid performances were much more than flashes in the pan, and with a top-5 offense this regular season by both scoring and OPS on 60 feet and six inches away from each of them, this game could be full of runs.
It’s hard to know who wins, and while I’d lean towards a Texas team that needs a statement win at home, it’s too uncertain to make our best bet. Let’s stick with the over for a total of 9.5, as the bats woke up on both sides in game three to the tune of 13 total runs, and they don’t seem like they’ll be taking a nap anytime soon.
Astros Vs. Rangers Prediction: Over 9.5 Runs
Astros Vs. Rangers Odds
The Rangers are slight favorites with -120 odds on the moneyline, compared to +100 for the Astros. To cover a spread of -1.5, Texas is +155, with the Astros at -190 on the other end. For a total of 9.5, you can grab either the over or under at -110 odds.
Astros Vs. Rangers Key Matchups
José Urquidy vs. True Outcome Hitters
During the regular season https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/u/urquijo01.shtml , Urquidy fell into some pretty classic pitfalls; he struggled to keep the ball in the park, and to limit walks. Unfortunately for him, he’s facing a Texas lineup that came third in the league in both home runs and walks, with counts of 233 and 599 in those categories, respectively. The homers have slowed down a bit in the postseason, but the Rangers are still getting on base at a very solid clip.
Ironically enough, the Rangers saw some notable home run actions in their first postseason loss. Rookie slugger Josh Jung continued an excellent postseason with a two-homer game after smacking 23 in just 122 games this regular season. Adolis García led the team with 39 homers in the regular season, followed by Corey Seager with 33 in 119 appearances, while Nathaniel Lowe and Marcus Semien topped the charts with 93 and 72 walks, respectively.
Andrew Heaney vs. Heart of the Lineup
Heaney struggled in most facets of pitching this season, one of the major reasons I have the over hitting for a total of 9.5 runs in my Astros vs. Rangers prediction, but he had an especially tough time with hitters in the third, fourth, and fifth spots in the lineup. This trend was highlighted by an OPS of 1.020 for cleanup hitters against the homer-prone Heaney, and marks of .957 and .888 for third and fifth hitters, respectively,
The Astros have tinkered with their lineup, but it’s looking like Michael Brantley will hit third, after the lineup proved to press the right buttons in game three, he’s had a great postseason after a very abbreviated regular season campaign. In the cleanup spot is Alex Bregman, who had a down-year by his standard but has predictably heated up for the playoffs, followed by Yordan Álvarez, who is hitting over .400 with six homers already this postseason.
Astros Vs. Rangers Starting Lineups
Astros Starting Lineup
2B Jose Altuve R
LF Michael Brantley L
3B Alex Bregman R
DH Yordan Álvarez L
RF Kyle Tucker L
1B Jose Abreu R
CF Mauricio Dubón R
SS Jeremy Pena R
C Martin Maldonado R
Rangers Starting Lineup
2B Marcus Semien R
SS Corey Seager L
LF Evan Carter L
RF Adolis Garcia R
C Jonah Heim S
DH Mitch Garver R
1B Nate Lowe L
3B Josh Jung R
CF Leody Taveras S