Astros vs. Red Sox ALCS Game 4 Preview and Best Bet

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Danny Santana #22, Alex Verdugo #99, and Hunter Renfroe #10 of the Boston Red Sox. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The Boston Red Sox appear to have come up with a fool-proof method of winning postseason games. After 120 seasons of October baseball, it appears that all you need to do to win in the playoffs is get an early grand slam or two.

After becoming the first team in baseball history to hit two grand slams in a game, going yard with the bases loaded in each of the first two innings of game two, Boston went granny again in the second inning of game three to cruise to a 12-3 lead over the Houston Astros.

Boston has now taken the lead in the best-of-seven ALCS, two games to one, and can take another step toward returning to the World Series for the first time since 2018 with a win in game four on Tuesday. Let’s check out the MLB odds for this game and decide which way to lean at the top betting sites.

Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox

Monday, October 18, 2021 – 08:08 PM EDT at Fenway Park

Pitching Dis-astro

Conventional wisdom was that the Astros had the advantage on the mound in the American League Championship Series. Three games in, that couldn’t be farther from the case. Framber Valdez started game one and allowed three runs in 2.2 innings. So far, that’s been the best performance by a Houston starter. Luis Garcia gave up five runs in one inning in game two, and Jose Urquidy allowed six in 1.1 innings on Monday.

In addition to putting the Astros in a deep hole to start each game, the collapse of the starting rotation has also increased the workload on the Houston bullpen significantly. Astros relievers have logged 22 of the 26 innings that the Red Sox have batted in the series. Now the Astros need to find someone to take the ball and stop the bleeding on Tuesday. Houston has yet to name its game four starter, but the best bet is that Zack Greinke will get the call. Cristian Javier would likely be the first arm out of the bullpen.

Manager Dusty Baker has said he wouldn’t start Greinke, who is returning from injury and is only good for about 40 pitches. Houston could also start Javier and then bring in Greinke if Baker is going to keep his word. The other option would be to bring game one starter Valdez back on short rest, but with game two starter Luis Garcia nursing an injury, the better option would seem to be to use Greinke and have Valdez available for game five, followed by a travel day to rest arms.

Demolition Crew

It doesn’t appear it will make a difference who the Astros put on the mound, if Boston is going to keep hitting like it has been. The Red Sox are on a record-setting pace so far this postseason. Consider, Boston had three grand slams in 162 games in the regular season, then matched that in a 10-inning stretch over games two and three.

Boston was sixth in the American League in home runs this year, but in the postseason, they’ve found a new level, hitting 20 home runs in eight playoff games, including nine in three games against Houston.

The Red Sox have jumped on teams early, scoring 35 runs with 11 home runs in the first three innings of their postseason games. Only four other teams in history have had more home runs in the first three innings of the playoffs, and Boston still has plenty of games left to add to its total. The Sox have already set a franchise record for home runs in a single postseason.

The Pick

Houston is reeling and is coming close to running out of pitchers. The momentum in this series has swung hard in the direction of Boston, and we’re going with the molten hot hand in game four for our MLB picks.

MLB Pick: Red Sox (-125) with Intertops (visit our Intertops Review)

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Red Sox (-125)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.