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3 keys to Astros-Yankees ALCS Game 4

Jose Altuve is introduced before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on October 16, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK – OK. Let me start with this: It was only one game. Not long after the Astros cleared out of Yankee Stadium on Monday night, they had put the 8-1 Game 3 loss behind them.

In baseball, you move on and do it quickly, which is exactly the Astros plan. They lead the series 2-1 and Tuesday's game will be huge. A win means the Astros take a commanding 3-1 lead and would have a chance to clinch the American League Championship Series on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Lance McCullers Jr. will get the start he has been hoping for. Skippper A.J. Hinch announced that decision late Monday, giving McCullers the nod over Brad Peacock, who had started in the American League Division Series at Boston.

The keys to a win Tuesday are clear for the Astros:

1. This offense needs to snap out of its funk and put some runs on the board. This is the best offense in baseball, yet Yankees pitchers have held Houston to only five runs in the first three games. 

2. McCullers needs to shake off any rust and attack this New York lineup. McCullers has to mix his velocity well, have good location and use his curve ball often. It's his best pitch, and his curve is probably one of the top five in the majors.

3. Defense needs to be clean. On the road and in the playoffs teams need to be error-free. The Astros are a great defensive club overall and need to show that in Game 4, just like Aaron Judge did Monday night.

The Yankee crowd was a factor Monday night and will be again Tuesday.  New York has proven already they won't give up. Just ask the Indians about that.

The Astros haven't lost two straight games in a month, so we will see if that trend continues. If not, Keuchel will be ready for Game 5, with Verlander rested as well.

The Astros will bring their best effort starting at 4:08 p.m. in the Bronx.

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