WASHINGTON – It is a new day and a big one for the Astros.
They took Game 3 to gain new life in this World Series. Houston now trails 2-1 in this Best-of-seven series with a crucial Game 4 tonight.
Top keys to Astros Game 4 victory
Quality innings for Jose Urquidy
It is back to a bullpen game for the Astros, like Game 6, of the ALCS. Manager A.J. Hinch announced he will go with rookie Jose Urquidy, who pitched against the Yankees. Hinch says he will stay with him as long as Urquidy is effective in the game. If Urquidy can deliver four to five quality innings, that would be huge. His longest outing this season was July 20 against the Texas, when he went seven innings and gave up two hits and one run. He went six shutout innings in late September giving up three hits. A deep outing will set up the bullpen.
Contain Rendon and Soto
This Nationals lineup is dangerous. Containing the big bats like Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto is a priority. In Game 3 Zack Grienke and bullpen kept them quiet all night. Hard to do that night after night but Urquidy will need to avoid mistakes or they will hurt you. Last night the Nationals were 0-10 with Runners in scoring position which doesn't happen often.
Aggressive with the bats against Patrick Corbin
The Astros need to have patience at the plate against Patrick Corbin. The Nationals lefty hasn't shined in the postseason but had a good regular season. He was signed in December and now has become a pitcher who has really relied on his slider as a primary pitch. He'll mix it well but relies on movement. Hinch has Jake Marisnick in the lineup today and will hit 8th against Corbin while roaming center field, while George Springer shifts to right field.
There's only one lefty in the Astros lineup today against Corbin and that's Michael Brantley who again will hit third and play left field.
Play clean defensively
This key really goes for any regular season or postseason game because bad defense can hurt you quickly especially on a big-pressure stage like the World Series. Playing on the road, it's vital today that the Astros play clean baseball like they did in Game 3. That's been their story most of this season on how locked in they are as a whole defensively. Check this box and let the offense and pitchers do the rest of the work to try and make it back-to-back wins and even this World Series 2-2.