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Astros ALCS Game 4 By The Numbers

Tonight, I will be going to the Houston Astros Fans of San Antonio Facebook group Watch Party at Slackers Bar SA Northstar. Click the link for details.

Astros Hitters vs. Rangers Pitchers

Andrew Heaney is the Rangers starter tonight. I will be shocked if Jeremy Pena faces him twice. I believe that Dane Dunning will enter the game vs. Pena at either Pena's first or second PA. I believe he is a long opener. He could get 1,2,3,4, or even 5 innings depending how the game flows.

First, here are the Astros vs. Heaney in the lineup announced for tonight.

Here is what that lineup looks like vs. Dane Dunning.

So WHY are the Rangers choosing to start Heaney instead of Dunning?

They are HOPING the Astros take the trap of not thinking Heaney is an opener and ignore how GOOD Brantley (LHH) projects vs. Heaney (LHP) - 0.353 wwOBA. They HOPE the Astros start with Dubon in CF and the relatively cold McCormick (75 wRC+) in LF. Then if they bring Dunning in say the second inning the Astros would be forced to pull Dubon who can play MULTIPLE positions (they would not want to do that) or pull McCormick. The choice with Dunning in may be to pull McCormick. However, versus Chapman later in the game the Astros might want McCormick who is one of the best projected hitters vs. Chapman. This is the beauty of baseball on decision before the game could impact the flexibility of the eighth or ninth.

The Astros COULD avoid the limitation of late inning options by not starting McCormick but then they give up one of their best batters vs. Heaney.

Here is another option. Start Dubon at SS. He is hot; Pena is not. Dubon would be serviceable defensively at SS.

That way the Astros can have Dubon, Brantley, AND McCormick in the game.

What will the Astros do? I will update and comment here. Here is what the Astros DID. They left Brantley on the bench. I assume he will come in for Dubon or McCormick depending on who is pitching.

What do you all think of the lineup? It has a projected xwOBA of 0.360 vs. Heaney which is GREAT.

This lineup gets an 8 because the Astros are in a good spot vs. LHSP. How long he lasts is interesting.

MVP Tonight- Kyle Tucker

Here are the Rangers vs. Urquidy

I expect the Astros will have a short hook with Urquidy. The Rangers project to have a 0.355 xwOBA.

If he struggles the Astros could turn to

Brown- 0.352

Blanco- 0.383

All three of the pitchers could pitch more breaking pitches and/or more off-speed pitches and deliver different results if they were focused on going only three innings vs. trying to target six innings.

The Rangers lineup gets a 7.5 from me. Against Urquidy, it looks a little top heavy.

Like Game 1, THIS is one that the Astros actually have a SP potential advantage in.

I HAVE to pick the Astros. Let's even the series.

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