Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Game 4 Pick
Houston Astros (115-61) vs. Washington Nationals (102-72)
When: 8:08 p.m., Saturday, October 26
Where: Nationals Park, Washington
Moneyline: HOU +104/WSH -118 (Bovada)
Runline: Astros +1.5/Nationals -1.5
A New Hope
And now we have a series again, as the Astros got the performance they needed to get a critical win and en-sure that they’re going to get this back into the hands of their two aces. This is a dangerous situation for the Nationals to be in because even though they’ve got a 2-1 lead in the series, they’ve now got to beat Gerrit Cole again in Game 5 or face a return trip to Houston.
That’s a big boon for the Astros because their bullpen can pitch with confidence, knowing that if they do lose to the Nats on Saturday, it’s not the end of the world. Even with a loss in Game 4, Houston will still have a shot to ride Cole and Justin Verlander to a Game 7, so there’s a lot less pressure on the Astros than there would have been had they been facing a win-or-else situation.
The Nationals have to be kicking themselves after that game because they could have easily had the Astros in a 3-0 chokehold if they hadn’t wasted so many opportunities with runners in scoring position. Washington was 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position against Houston in Game 3, the worst performance in a game since the Philadelphia Phillies went 0-for-13 in a game against Tampa Bay in 2008. The good news for the Na-tionals — those Phillies went on to win the World Series in five games.
Have the Astros decided to start stepping on the gas to try to get themselves back into this series? That might be the case based on how aggressive they were in Game 3. Houston swiped four bases on Friday against catcher Kurt Suzuki, who wasn’t a great defensive catcher anyway during the regular season. Suzuki came out with some pain in his hip, but that’s not likely to play a factor in Game 4, as Yan Gomes is usually behind the dish when Game 4 starter Patrick Corbin takes the hill. Gomes is a stronger threat to throw out base stealers, so it remains to be seen if the Astros will keep up the aggression on the base paths.
It’s also a question as to whether the Nationals will respond in kind. Washington was the National League’s best base-stealing threat all season, which could throw a new wrinkle into what the Astros are facing. How-ever, it’s not like Houston hasn’t seen a quick team: the Astros share a division with Texas and Seattle, two of the top three base stealers in the American League.
- The Nationals are 23-9 in their past 32 games following a loss.
- The Nationals are 7-1 in their past eight interleague games.
- The Astros are 8-2 in their past 10 Game 4’s of a series.
- The Astros are 40-12 in their past 52 games against a left-handed starter.
- The Nationals are 14-3 in Corbin’s last 17 home starts.
- The under is 4-1 in the Astros’ past five playoff road games.
- The over is 6-1 in the Nationals’ past seven interleague games.
Game 4’s weather is going to look and feel a lot like the weather from Game 3, as the temperature is ex-pected to be 58 degrees at first pitch.
Have the Astros regained their aura after gutting out a critical win in Game 3? I don’t think so, given that Houston’s win came more because of how wasteful Washington was rather than a great performance on the part of the Astros. Zack Greinke did enough to get the Astros through, but he wasn’t overly dominant in his victory.
That’s likely to have the Nationals angry at themselves rather than feeling down about the defeat. That’s a dangerous situation for a bullpen game to face. The good news is that Houston will likely be able to keep Washington off-balance with several new looks, but the bad news is that they still have to find a way past Corbin, who has been just as dominant as Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg this year.
I don’t like that situation for the Astros. I’ll take the Nationals.
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