MLB Playoffs 2019: Updated LCS Bracket, TV Schedule and Live-Stream Guide
The Houston Astros pushed the New York Yankees to the brink of elimination in Thursday's Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
Bolstered by three-run shots from Carlos Correa and George Springer, the Astros surged to an 8-3 victory and a 3-1 series edge.
Houston is one win away from its second AL pennant in three years, while New York faces as many as three win-or-go-home games. The Washington Nationals, who made quick work of the St. Louis Cardinals, await the winner in the 2019 Fall Classic.
With the stakes as high as they can be, let's look ahead at the remainder of the ALCS schedule and break down Friday's critical matchup.
Updated LCS Bracket, TV Schedule and Live-Stream GuideNational League
Nationals defeat Cardinals 4-0
Game 1: Nationals 2, Cardinals 0
Game 2: Nationals 3, Cardinals 1
Game 3: Nationals 8, Cardinals 1
Game 4: Nationals 7, Cardinals 4American League
Astros Lead Yankees 3-1
Game 1: Yankees 7, Astros 0
Game 2: Astros 3, Yankees 2 (11)
Game 3: Astros 4, Yankees 1
Game 4: Astros 8, Yankees 3
Game 5: Friday, Oct. 18-Astros at Yankees, 7:08 p.m. ET on FS1
Game 6: Saturday, Oct. 19-Yankees at Astros, 8:08 p.m. ET on FS1 (if necessary)
Game 7: Sunday, Oct. 20-Yankees as Astros, 7:38 p.m. ET on FS1 (if necessary)All games can be live-streamed on Fox Sports Go.
Wednesday's washed out contest could not have broken better for Houston. With an extra day off, that puts Game 5 starter-and perennial Cy Young candidate-Justin Verlander on regular rest.
"As soon as we can use our best pitchers, the better for us," Astros manager AJ Hinch told reporters.
While Gerrit Cole's ridiculous run has (deservedly) garnered the most publicity, the 36-year-old Verlander has been almost equally filthy.
Only once in his past 12 starts has Verlander allowed more than three earned runs. In four others, he has put up goose eggs.
He mostly contained New York's boppers in Game 2. Other than Aaron Judge's two-run shot in the fourth inning, Verlander kept them off the scoreboard. His final line featured seven strikeouts, five hits, two walks and two earned runs across 6.2 innings.
"They're tough to score runs off, especially on a night when Verlander is out there," Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said afterward.
It was business as usual for Verlander, who's likely fighting Cole for the AL Cy Young award. A coin flip could be needed for the final vote.
Verlander had the edge in wins (by one) and WHIP (by 0.09). Cole had the lower ERA (by 0.08) and more strikeouts (326-300). These are two of the best pitchers in baseball, and Houston has to like its chances any time either takes the rubber.
The Yankees will put their hopes in the hands of James Paxton, who must give them more length than he did last time out. He didn't make it out of the third inning in Game 2, with some speculating he was tipping his pitches.
Prior to the early exit, tough, Paxton seemed like he was finding his groove. He had his best month in September, when he posted a 1.05 ERA over five starts and had 30 strikeouts against only 14 hits and six walks in 25.2 innings. He wasn't quite as sharp in Game 1 of the ALDS (three earned runs in 4.2 innings), but even then he had eight strikeouts and only one walk.
"He's got to go out and pitch well and set the tone for us because we've got to get on that plane and go back to Houston," Boone told reporters. "It all starts with Pax."
If it starts with Paxton, then it quickly shifts over to a lineup struggling to find its rhythm after a Game 1 eruption. The Yanks sent seven runners across the plate that night. They have only scored six runs in the three games since, one of which went to extra frames.
Houston has momentum, the superior starter and big bats that continue finding ways to deliver timely hits. It's hard to see how New York extends this series, but October baseball is unpredictable enough that anything is possible.
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press The Washington Nationals earned a full week of rest before the 2019 World Series by sweeping St. Louis in the National League Championship Series. Dave Martinez's side used seven first-inning
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press We're getting closer and closer to the World Series. Monday night, we will see Game 3 of the NLCS between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals, and Tuesday night
Tim Warner/Getty Images Houston and Tampa Bay will rely on very different pitching strategies for Tuesday's ALDS Game 4. The Astros are going back to Game 1 starter Justin Verlander, who gave up
Baseball is good when it's good, and sometimes even more powerful when it's bad, and maybe especially when it doesn't matter, which makes it more concerning that we are
The American League Division Series are set. After the Rays' convincing 5-1 win in the wild-card game over the A's, Tampa Bay will face off with the Astros starting
Now that we officially know the two Wild Card winners, the MLB playoff bracket has been updated, and the divisional schedules have been set! Rays down A's How does Tampa Bay do it? Each year most experts
In case you didn't hear, the Twins won the AL Central! They'll be playing the Yankees on Friday, but what about the other teams? Who should you root for? Ultimately that's up to
Oakland will try to follow the path paved by Washington and win the American League Wild Card Game on home soil Wednesday. Since 2012, the home teams in both Wild Card Games have won once. That
More News in Mlb
Matt Slocum/Associated Press NEW YORK - By the end of the eighth inning, there were swathes of empty seats in Yankee Stadium. Thousands of fans were already out the door, on the streets,
NEW YORK - Merriam-Webster defines faith as "allegiance to duty or a person." In the MLB postseason, faith can mean something completely different: trouble. It wasn't long ago that Adam
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports NEW YORK - The greatest indignity Yankees fans suffered on Thursday night was not one of the four errors or 13 strikeouts or 17 men left
1:56 AM ET CloseMarly Rivera is a writer for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com. NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia left it all on the field, but it wasn't enough for the New York Yankees, who
CLOSE NEW YORK - One of postseason baseball's best features might also be its cruelest: A single moment can be defining. Fair or not, that's often the way it goes this time of year. It
George Springer and Carlos Correa each hit three-run homers and the Houston Astros got another wild ace off the hook to beat the sloppy New York Yankees, 8-3, Thursday night and reach the