Are the Indians the Astros Kryptonite? Hopefully not, because this could be a playoff matchup preview.
Even after a two-game losing streak, the Houston Astros are still the best team in baseball. They have a .674 winning percentage with 29 wins, and 14 losses. They have a 6.5 lead in the AL West despite the Rangers 10 game winning streak that was snapped yesterday. Houston has only had three losing streaks so far in the 2017 season.
When I say losing streaks, I’m not talking about a long losing streak. The first losing streak was during the first homestand of the season. They lost three games that week. They lost the fourth game of the Mariners series and lost the first two of the Royals weekend series. This is surprising now that the Royals are in last place in the AL Central.
Stros vs. Indians
The second time was the April 26-27 games in Cleveland versus the Indians. Then they have lost the first two games versus the Indians in this homestand. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that the Indians have Astros number this year.
As Lance Zierlein says on the Proper Gentlemen of Sports, the Astros are baseball royalty playing against the poors of baseball. Using this analogy and the fact the Indians played in the World Series last year, they are royal too. Maybe they are of House Tribe, and they are trying to conquer House Stros for the Iron Throne. What is it about the Indians that makes the Astros struggle?
I expect the Stros to win today behind Joe Musgrove, but let’s take a look at the stats versus the Tribe so far. The Indians rotation is stacked when injuries are not present, but they have the second highest ERA in their rotation. The Astros have Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers who have helped lower their ERA in the rotation. Both teams have good bullpens and good lineups.
So why are the Stros 1-4 versus the Indians so far?
The Trevor Bauer Effect
While it would hard to say that Bauer has dominated the Astros this year as he has in his career, he does have two wins versus us. Bauer and his 6.65 ERA has two wins after allowing four runs in his first game and three Friday night. Both games Bauer went six innings and struck out eight and nine runs respectively. Bauer also got the fortune of facing McCullers and Morton during down games.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Luck had a part in it.
All the games have been close, mostly between 2-3 runs difference. Andrew Miller and Cody Allen have been a thorn in Houston’s side. Mike Clevinger almost no-hits one of the best teams in baseball. Plus, the first time around the Astros were without Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. The Indians also missed Keuchel this time around while getting to face homer happy Mike Fiers twice.
Lowest batting average.
The Stros are near the top of the pack with a .268 batting average as a team. Granted a team’s batting average will take a hit with and an almost no-hitter. Through five games versus the Indians, the Astros are batting .226. Things could change today, but the Astros need to back to the winning ways.
While there are no must wins in May, this could be a preview of a playoff match this year. The Indians came into Houston a game over .500; now they are 22-19. Musgrove will try to contain the Indians offense, but Fiers did a good job yesterday only allowing two runs. The offense couldn’t muster much against Clevinger and the bullpen.
Listen to Talking Stros on Sports Talk 790 after the Tenth Inning Show on Sunday’s!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and ESPN Team Stats Page***