What the Game 4 rainout means for the rest of the ALCS, World Series

(Associated Press)

Which team benefits from the rainout?

It's complicated, but all signs point toward the Astros.

Instead of having to use a bullpen game on the road in Game 4, they can start Zack Greinke. The whole reason Houston traded for Greinke is moments like this. So far, it hasn't worked out and Greinke has struggled in the playoffs, both in Houston and for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017.

The idea is that he's a third ace and should be able to match up well with Masahiro Tanaka, but that didn't happen in Game 1.

Bullpen-wise, it probably benefits the Yankees, but now the Astros get Greinke and Justin Verlander in games 4 and 5 on the road on regular rest, leaving the likely bullpen game to be pitched at home.

Why doesn't the league give the teams a travel day because of the rainout?

Money and scheduling.

Games 6 and 7 are to be played on the weekend. You'll get your best TV ratings Saturday and Sunday, even if you're competing against football.

Also, the World Series starts Tuesday. The schedule is preset and Monday is a workout day for both World Series teams.

It's as simple as that.

Do the teams ever play four straight games – with travel – in the regular season?

All the time.

The Astros played 11 straight days as recently as September, including three of those games starting a road trip on the back-end of an eight-game homestand. They went 8-3 in that stretch, including a sweep of the Royals on the road.

The Yankees played an even more absurd stretch from Aug. 2 through Aug. 18, including two double-headers.

That's 17 straight days with games, with a seven-game road trip in the middle of it. New York went 15-4 in that stretch of 19 games in 17 days.

Basically, playing a bunch of games in a row with travel in the middle of it doesn't have a negative effect on either team.