Sunday’s ALCS Game 4 was a winner-take-all showdown in the Bronx. New York was living on a prayer, hoping their bats would wake up after only scoring four runs in the previous three games. While the Yanks finally put more than a few tallies on the board, the explosive Houston offense had New York’s number. The Astros outscored the Yankees, 6-5, securing their fourth trip to the World Series in the last six years.
The Astros sent Lance McCullers Jr. to the mound, hoping to knock the Yankees out of the playoffs in a four-game sweep. Mission accomplished. Although McCullers struggled, he completed five innings, surrendering three earned runs on eight hits, one walk, and six strikeouts. McCullers had only one other playoff start this postseason before Sunday’s no-decision over the Yankees. His outing in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Mariners was stellar, as he pitched six scoreless innings on only two hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts. McCullers saw limited action this year, spending most of the regular season on the injured list with a flexor tendon strain in his throwing arm. He did not pitch in 2022 season until August 13, when he threw six shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics.
McCullers’ 100-pitch outing looked like this:
New York was looking to win one game against the Astros, save their season, and live to see another day. However, they couldn’t get the job done. The Bronx Bombers handed the ball to lefty ace Nestor Cortés in this do-or-die game. Nasty Nestor labored from the get-go, making it through only two innings before Aaron Boone pulled him. In those two innings, Cortés gave up three runs on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Cortés had last pitched in Game 5 of the ALDS on October 18, defeating the Cleveland Guardians in his second postseason performance. He allowed only one run on three hits, with one walk and two strikeouts in that game.
Cortés’ 55-pitch outing on Sunday looked like this:
The big-game pressure play goes to Yordan Álvarez. He singled to right in the top of the seventh, scoring José Altuve and moving Jeremy Peña to third. The play had a 3.87 LI.
Although the overall pressure was on the Yankees to win the game, Astros closer, Ryan Pressly felt the squeeze when he came out in the ninth inning and shut the Yanks down in order to earn his third save of the postseason in three opportunities. He had the highest pLI, at 2.54.
Yordan Álvarez’s single in the top of the seventh, scoring José Altuve, had a .250 WPA.
Yordan Álvarez was the Game 4 hero, going 2-for-4 with two hits, one walk, and one RBI for a WPA of .333. He drove in the tying run in the top of the seventh.
Hardest hit: Giancarlo Stanton singled on a sharp line drive to right field in the bottom of the first inning, scoring Harrison Bader. The single had an exit velocity of 113.2 mph.
Weakest contact: Trey Mancini’s soft ground out to pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga rolled in at 37.2 mph.
Luckiest hit: Yuli Gurriel’s soft, bouncing single through the right side of the infield in the third inning had a .110 xBA.
Toughest out: The big man, Aaron Judge, proved to be a challenge with his sharp line out to center field in the fourth inning. The play had an .960 xBA.
Longest hit: Jeremy Peña’s home-run blast off Nestor Cortés in the top of the third inning went 408 feet to left field.
Magic Number: 4
Four more wins are all it takes to crown the next World Series winner! Who will it be? The red-hot Phillies or the tough-as-nails Astros? Stay tuned!
Hard-hit is any ball off the bat at 95 mph or more
LI measures pressure per play
pLI measures total pressure faced in-game
Whiff a swing-and-miss
WPA win probability added measures contributions to the win
xBA expected batting average
Who was the Astros MVP in Game 4 of the ALCS?
This poll is closed
Yordan Álvarez: 2-for4, 2 H, 1 RBI, WPA .333
Jeremy Peña: 2-for4, 2 H, 3 RBI, WPA .249
Ryan Pressly: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, WPA .189
Who was the ALCS Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Nestor Cortés: 2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, WPA -.215
Jose Trevino: 0-for-4, 1 LOB, WPA -.166
Josh Donaldson: 0-for-4, 3 SO, WPA -.153