Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Astros and Yankees has been postponed due to continued projections of inclement conditions in the New York City area, Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday.
ALCS Game 4, originally scheduled to be played at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday at 8:08 p.m. ET, will be played instead on Thursday at 8:08 p.m. ET. The National Weather Service and The Weather Channel both project a 100-percent chance of rain for Wednesday evening.
The postponement moves Game 5 to 7:08 p.m. ET on Friday, with the clubs losing a potential travel day between New York and Houston. The Astros lead the ALCS, two games to one.
“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,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said prior to ALCS Game 3. “We don’t want to bring them here if we know we are not going to be able to play.”
After Houston’s 4-1 victory in Game 3, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that he almost certainly would have right-hander Masahiro Tanaka start Game 4 in the event of a rainout.
“Good chance of that,” Boone said. “That's something we'll talk through, also. But a good chance of that, yes.”
The Astros are likely to bring back right-hander Zack Greinke in Game 4. That shift would put right-hander Justin Verlander on track to pitch Game 5, allowing right-hander Gerrit Cole to start Game 6, if necessary, on short rest.
Houston could go with Jose Urquidy or a bullpen game in Game 6 and save a fully-rested Cole for Game 7, with Verlander potentially available out of the bullpen.
"Whatever happens, happens, and we've just got to roll with the punches and keep battling," Houston third baseman Alex Bregman said. "Keep fighting and keep playing our brand of baseball."
One possibility for the Yanks would be to use James Paxton for Game 5, J.A. Happ or a bullpen game for a potential Game 6 and Luis Severino for Game 7 (if necessary).
"It doesn't matter if [it’s Wednesday] or if it’s Thursday," Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said. "We're going to be ready. Rain isn't going to stop us."