Astros @ Red Sox ALDS Game 4 Free Pick


I didn’t think there would be a Game 4 at Fenway Park before Game 3 started on Sunday afternoon. I definitely didn’t think there would be a Game 4 at Fenway Park once Game 3 began on Sunday afternoon.

After scoring twice in both Games 1 and 2 in Houston earlier this week, the Astros put up three in the top of the first at Fenway Park in Game 3. Josh Reddick drove in George Springer in a quick 1-2 combination to begin the game and then Carlos Correa lifted one into the blacked-out seats in dead center two batters later to give Houston a 3–0 lead.

At that point, Fenway Park was dead and the Red Sox’ season was over. It is still a little inexplicable as to how things turned.

The feeling started to shift when Mookie Betts casually robbed what would have been a three-run home run by Reddick to end the second inning. Reddick’s long out came against Joe Kelly and would have made it 6–0 had Betts slipped and fell on his way back on the ball — it had that kind of carry.

Then David Price came in and shut the Astros out for four innings of key relief. It has been the only prolonged outing by a Red Sox pitcher in the series and it came at the opportune time, giving Boston the chance to get on the board, eventually tie the game, take the lead and then break it open. Ten unanswered runs between the second and seventh inning accounted for the final score, 10–3 Boston.

But Price won’t be available for Game 4; and with Chris Sale slated to go in a possible Game 5 on Wednesday back in Houston, Rick Porcello has the job of starting the game that will help his team get there. His opponent, Charlie Morton, had a fine season in his first season as an Astro in 2017.

Free Pick

In 2010 in his second season of what would be a seven-year run with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Charlie Morton started 17 games and finished with an ERA of 7.57. He cut that number in half the following season and has been a sub-4.00 ERA pitcher since.

This season may have been his finest, though. Morton posted a career-high 1.19 WHIP and a 3.62 ERA, which wasn’t a best but was about as good as any considering it was his first season in the American League. With Dallas Keuchel‘s inconsistencies down the stretch of this season, Morton was — and still is — arguably the second-best starting pitcher the Astros had to offer.

He will just have to be average to beat Rick Porcello, who is poised to get lit up on Monday. Porcello mopped up some in the late innings in Game 1 and held the Astros scoreless but starting is a different animal. Houston has scored seven runs in three first innings thus far in the series. It also has the type of power that makes starting Porcello a dangerous exercise for John Farrell.

I just can’t imagine the Red Sox have enough pitching to hold the Astros down for nine innings on Monday.  The offense had its moments in Game 3 but there still isn’t much power anywhere in the lineup, especially with Mookie Betts banged up. I like Houston to close this series out on the road and to do it relatively easily. The Astros are a fine play on Monday afternoon.

Free Pick: Houston -115

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