World Series Game 4 Preview: facts and storylines for Astros vs. Phillies

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock (13434549b) Houston Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game, in Houston Rays Astros Baseball, Houston, United States – 01 Oct 2022

World Series Game 4 Preview: facts and storylines for Astros vs. Phillies

After a terrible outing for both Lance McCullers Jr. and the Astros’ offense in Game 3, which allowed the Phillies to take a lopsided 7-0 victory and 2-1 series lead, Houston will return to Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night trying to draw even in the series. 

While not an elimination game, the manner in which the Astros lost on Tuesday night will demand a change of momentum for Houston in Game 4 if they hope to win three of the next four games and win the series. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Game Facts

 When: Wednesday, 11/01/2022, 7:03 p.m. CT

Where: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

TV/Streaming: FOX / FOX Sports App

Pitching Matchup:  Cristian Javier (11-9, 2.54 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (3.25 ERA).

Series: PHI leads 2-1

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central)LocationPitching Matchup
Game 1PHI 6, HOU 5Minute Maid Park, HoustonVerlander vs. Nola
Game 2HOU 5, PHI 2Minute Maid Park, HoustonValdez vs. Wheeler
Game 3PHI 7, HOU 0Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia McCullers Jr. vs. Suárez
Game 4Wed 11/2, 7:03 p.m.Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Javier vs. Nola
Game 5Thu 11/3, 7:03 p.m.Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Verlander vs. Syndergaard^
Game 6*Sat 11/5, 7:03 p.m.Minute Maid Park, HoustonValdez vs. Wheeler^
Game 7*Sun 11/6, 7:03 p.m.Minute Maid Park, HoustonTBD
* If necessary.
^ Projected starters

Big expectations for Javier

After the postponement of Game 3 to move the series back a day, Dusty Baker did have an opportunity to pivot away from Cristian Javier and bring back Justin Verlander in Game 4, similar to what the Phillies are doing with Aaron Nola. Instead, Baker will give the ball to the young right-hander for Game 4, and after the rough Game 3 loss, a strong outing from Javier is imperative.

He’ll look to replicate what he did against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS, where he went 5.1 innings while allowing just one hit and striking out five as the Astros would back him up with more quality bullpen work and five runs to get him a win. Luckily for Houston, they only had to use one of their high-leverage relievers in Game 3, Ryne Stanek, leaving them plenty of rested arms available behind Javier. The hope for Hoston will be that the call to the bullpen happens later in the game and with a lead. 

You can’t win if you don’t score

McCullers Jr.’s terrible outing notwithstanding, the Astros managed no runs on five hits against the Phillies in Game 3. While it’s promising that most of those hits came from the bottom of Houston’s order, the Astros need more production from the top when it gets flipped over to take advantage of the production from the bottom of the lineup.

After stringing together four straight games with hits to break out of his postseason slump, Jose Altuve went 0-for-4 in Game 3, with the top five of Altuve, Jeremy Pena, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, and Kyle Tucker managing to go just 1-for-18 with two walks. There will need to be more sparks ignited by those batters to start the big innings they will likely need to match Philadelphia’s potent offense in their home stadium. 

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