Who will Astros start in ALCS Game 4? Here are five options for Houston following Luis Garcia's knee injury

The Houston Astros lost Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday to the Boston Red Sox by a 9-5 margin (box rating), thus night the best-of-seven series at 1-1 as the setting shifts to Fenway Park. More harming to the Astros than the loss itself is what Game 2 did to their prepare for the remainder of the series.

Keep in mind, the Astros’ pitching outlook was currently jeopardized. Ace Lance McCullers Jr. needed to be ended the lineup after he suffered an arm injury throughout the definitive video game of the divisional series. (Relievers Pedro Báez and Rafael Montero, though of lower significance to Houston’s title hopes, are likewise sidelined since of injuries.) It’s not going to assist Houston’s issue that Game 2 starter Luis Garcia needed to leave with an evident knee injury, nor that the Astros needed to burn their arranged Game 4 starter, Jake Odorizzi, by asking him to toss 82 pitches in a boat race.

The Astros have their Game 3 starter, in José Urquidy; they have their Game 5 starter, in Framber Valdez. But what about Game 4? (To state absolutely nothing of a possible Game 6.) That’s where things start to get challenging. Let’s analyze their 5 courses forward. 

1. Roll with a bullpen video game

If the Los Angeles Dodgers can choose the Johnny Wholestaff method to open a champion series, then why can’t the Astros break it out in the middle of theirs?

This appears to be the most useful service for the Astros. Houston has 9 reducers on its ALCS lineup, consisting of the similarity Cristian Javier, who has actually tossed 2 innings or more in both of his looks this postseason. Slotting Javier into the Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin function would guarantee the Astros might blend and match around him without risking of tiring their alternatives need to the video game enter into additionals.

Heck, the Astros even have a veteran opener at their disposal, in Ryne Stanek, implying they might develop their Game 4 method to look something like this:

You can experiment with this script. Maybe Stanek can get an out or more into the 2nd, moving the timeline on everybody else. Or possibly the Astros would choose to open with a left-hander in an effort to require Alex Cora’s hand. You understand.

There are a couple of apparent disadvantages to this path. Using Javier in a multi-inning capability in Game 4 suggests not utilizing him at all in Games 3 and 5. Additionally, a bullpen video game in the middle of 3 successive video games might need a few of Houston’s reducers to work back-to-back-to-back nights. That’s not the perfect situation, however the Astros may not have actually an option provided the stakes.

What else could they do? Let’s carry on.

2. Bring back beginners on brief rest

Arguably the course of least resistance for the Astros requires them having their beginners pitch on brief rest heading forward. That would imply Valdez in Game 4, Garcia and/or Odorizzi in Game 5, Urquidy in Game 6, and so on — all on 3 days’ rest. That’s a lot to request, nevertheless, and it appears not likely to take place as an outcome. 

3. Bring back Garcia on brief rest

In theory, the Astros might deal with Garcia’s Game 2 as a side session. He tossed simply 33 pitches and he would have 2 days off by Game 4. Even if the Astros released Garcia in performance with the bullpen video game set out in the very first subhead (maybe slotting him in for one time through the order), it would decrease the concern put upon the rest of their reducers. 

We believe it’s not likely, nevertheless, since of 2 factors. One, there’s no informing how Garcia’s knee will react to treatment in between from time to time; the Astros definitely do not wish to enter into a scenario where they make the injury even worse, either in the brief or the long term. Two, Garcia appears like a bad match versus the Red Sox since of how inadequate he is versus left-handed batters. Limiting his direct exposure might assist, however as he showed on Saturday, it does not imply he’ll leave the Astros in a great area.

There is another method the Astros might take with Garcia ….

4. Remove Garcia from the lineup 

Manager Dusty Baker stated on Sunday that Garcia will stay on the lineup. If his knee injury does intensify, or if the Astros establish issues about his practicality, they might simply eliminate him from the lineup and include a fresher arm in his location.

One catch is that the Astros do not have an excellent alternative readily available to them. They might toss Josh James or Peter Solomon or whomever into the fire, however that does not always appear like an upgrade on paper. Another is that the Astros would deal with a charge for getting rid of Garcia: he would be ruled disqualified for the World Series.

Of course, that drawback matters just if the Astros really get to the World Series in the very first location. If having Garcia on the lineup or not threatens that possibility, then the stakes look a lot various than they carry out in a vacuum. 

With that in mind, let’s struck on the last capacity choice.

5. Change prepares with Greinke

Baker has actually been determined that Zack Greinke will not be utilized as a starter this series, as he’s extended to just 40 pitches. Desperate times might require desperate steps, however, and it’s possible the Astros ask Greinke for a favor. 

From this point of view, it appears most likely that the Astros would fold Greinke into a bullpen video game situation, having him toss as lots of innings as his 40 pitches would permit. Still, it’s tough to eliminate anything in October, the one month a year where groups get cool with their veteran arms with any consistency. 

Whatever path the Astros take, it’s ensured to look much better with a win in Game 3 —  and a lot even worse with another loss.

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