HOUSTON - The Houston Astros best-of-five American League Division Series against the Red Sox was not expected to be easy for the 101-win AL west division winners and now they are faced with a Game 4 at Fenway Park hoping to avoid a plane ride back to Houston for a winner-take-all Game 5 on Wednesday.
The Astros lead the series 2 games to 1 after losing Game 3 on Sunday, 10-3.
A plane ride to Houston is coming for Houston regardless, they hope a plane carrying the Red Sox will not be joining them.
Here are 4 keys to Game 4:
1. Charlie Morton has to deliver as he did most of the season, including in Boston in the final series of the season. He very quietly finished 10th in the AL in strikeouts per nine innings (minimum 120 IP). He also won in Boston during the final weekend of the season holding the Red Sox to just four hits and two runs.
2. The Astros top four must continue to deliver. George Springer, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa have all seven of the home runs for the Astros this series. With another right-handed Red Sox starter, Rick Porcello, getting the ball in Game 4, expect Josh Reddick again to be among that top four in the order and they have to set the tone and the table again for the Astros.
3. In Game 3, the Astros had a number of near-misses in the field, and that has to get cleaned up. Marwin Gonzalez bobbled a ball in left field, that he probably should have caught. Correa made a spectacular stop of a grounder of the middle, then committed an error with a wild throw to first base. The dagger in Game 3 came on a ball that Reddick caught, but then didn't, on the 3-run homer that put the game well out of reach in the 7th inning.
4. Pay no attention to the weather. Astros manager A.J. Hinch said before Monday's game he is not be concerned with what might be coming weather-wise and if a delay is on the way. The team needs outs and will use his pitchers accordingly. The team needs runs and he'll use his bench accordingly. Then he'll adapt to whatever Mother Nature might bring.
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