Yankees, Astros brace for possible Game 4 rainout
Steven Ryan / Getty Images Sport / Getty

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees know that if they are going to beat the Astros in the American League Championship Series, they likely will have to face Houston aces Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole again.

First, the Yankees must ensure there actually will be a return trip to Houston.

Weather permitting, the Yankees will attempt to even the ALCS at two games apiece Wednesday night when they host the Astros in Game 4.

The Yankees trail the series after scoring a combined three runs in Games 2 and 3. After getting two runs in 6 2/3 innings against Verlander on Sunday, the Yankees were blanked for seven innings by Cole on Tuesday en route to a 4-1 defeat.

"That's nothing," right-hander Luis Severino said of New York's deficit. "We have a great team. We can come back. Hopefully, we play (Wednesday) and get it back."

The Yankees are scheduled to go with a bullpen game with Chad Green likely to serve as the opener. The right-hander pitched to a 3.72 ERA while filling the opener role 15 times during the regular season, and he has tossed 2 2/3 hitless innings in two relief outings so far in the ALCS.

As of Tuesday night, there was a projected 100 percent chance of rain on Wednesday, and commissioner Rob Manfred said a decision on a rainout likely would be made in the morning.

"We are mindful of two things: We don't want to affect the competitive complexion of the series, and we want to be mindful of our fans who have to get out," Manfred said. "We don't want to bring them here if we know we are not going to be able to play. It's just too early to tell what's going to happen."

If Game 4 gets pushed back to Thursday, both teams would lose the travel day originally scheduled for Friday, and the pitching matchup likely would be a rematch of the series opener between New York's Masahiro Tanaka and Houston's Zack Greinke. Games 6 and 7, if necessary, are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Houston.

In the meantime, regardless of the forecast, the Yankees will attempt to fix an offense that has 11 hits and 19 strikeouts in the past two games.

Whether or not New York's offense includes Giancarlo Stanton remains unknown. Stanton sat out the past two games with a right quadriceps injury and was replaced by Aaron Hicks in Game 3.

Houston earned its first ALCS victory in New York after going winless in three games there two years ago. On Tuesday, Jose Altuve and Josh Reddick hit solo homers in the first two innings off Severino, and that was enough run support for Cole and the Houston bullpen.

The Astros are only hitting .173 (17-for-98) in the series and have scored seven runs while going 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position, but they have done enough to build a series lead thanks largely to their pitching.

"What a big statement win for us to come out after taking the split at home," Reddick said. "To come in and get the first one out of the way, that's a big win for us because as we know two years ago, we didn't play very well here. So to come and get that confidence moving forward for us is a big step for us."

On Monday, Houston manager AJ Hinch said rookie right-hander Jose Urquidy, who posted a 3.95 ERA in nine regular-season appearances (seven starts) would pitch at some point in what he said would be a bullpen day for Game 4. Houston's fourth starter beyond Cole, Verlander and Greinke is Wade Miley, but the left-hander was omitted from the ALCS roster.

"That's the cool thing to say nowadays," Hinch said. "Maybe Urquidy starts, maybe he comes in the middle of the game and we go with somebody with a little bit more experience. But we haven't made that decision. We don't even know if we're going to play that day. There's been a lot of talk about the weather."

Urquidy has yet to face the Yankees in his career.

--Field Level Media

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Yankees, Astros brace for possible Game 4 rainout
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