Everyone knew it was coming, but now it’s official. Game Four of the ALCS between the Yankees and Astros has been postponed due to rain. According to Bryan Hoch, Game Four will now take place on Thursday night, while Game Five moves to Friday night. Mark Feinsand, meanwhile, has information on what this means for tickets.
So how does this affect the ALCS? Well to start, this would give each team an unscheduled off day on Wednesday, which dramatically changes the series. Aaron Boone already stated that he planned to use the bullpen in Game Four, however, upon a rainout, this would give Masahiro Tanaka an extra, fourth, day of rest. With the same logic, this would give Houston starter Zack Greinke four days of rest as well. With Game Four moved to Thursday, we would most likely see a Tanaka vs. Greinke pitching rematch of Game One.
Continuing this scheduling, Game Five would be bumped up to Friday, and that extra day of rest means that James Paxton and Justin Verlander would be available for that game. That would change the outlook of the series.
Originally, the Yankees were planning for three home games facing Cole, the bullpen, then Greinke. Now, with this extra day of rest looming, Houston may get to throw all three of their best pitchers in New York, which could benefit them given the hostile environment that is Yankee Stadium. It depends on how you look at it, but on the bright side, at least the Yankees would get to face these pitchers at home rather than on the road.
With no off day scheduled for travel purposes, if Houston chooses to stick with their three starters, the Yankees would see the last of Verlander in Game Five, and in Games Six and Seven, Cole and Greinke could pitch on short rest. There could also be a scenario where they use the bullpen in Game Six and bump Cole to Game Seven with one more day of rest, cancelling a Greinke start. However, this is all to be determined.
On the Yankees side of things, as mentioned before, Tanaka could pitch Game Four, then just like the Astros, scheduling would continue as normal, having Paxton pitch Game Five. This, however, is where the Yankees could get creative. With the rainout, they avoid doing a bullpen game which means their relievers would all be rested an extra day as well. Now given their bullpen strength, the Yankees would not hesitate at all to dedicate a new game to the bullpen. So instead of Game Four, they could push their bullpen game to Game Six, for example, avoiding a starter going on short rest and giving Luis Severino an extra day of rest to pitch in Game Seven.
That is the pitching outlook. Now, another off-day means something else for the Yankees and Giancarlo Stanton. The outfielder is suffering from a quad injury and could definitely use the extra time to recover.
"I'm doing what I can."— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 15, 2019
Giancarlo Stanton says his quad "is not the best," but he remains hopeful he can still be a factor in the ALCS. pic.twitter.com/OGCGDAzYls
Having said “time is not on my side right now” is all you need to hear. This is clearly something that is bothering him and any extra off day could be a big help.