It was just under a week ago, when the Astros were getting ready to face the Indians in Houston. Now, they travel to Cleveland, trying to get the series win yet again.
The Astros have won five series in a row, most recently a two game sweep over San Francisco. Staying hot will be critical going into a stretch of games in which they will face the best teams in the American League.
The last time the Astros played in Cleveland was in late April last year. The Astros only won the opening game in the series. Dallas Keuchel led the Astros to the win with a complete game. Lance McCullers and Mike Fiers had poor starts in the last two games of the series.
This time around, it is an oddly arranged four-game weekend series which opens on Thursday, and ends Sunday afternoon.
Thursday, 5:10 PM CT: Charlie Morton (6-0, 1.94 ERA, 70 K) vs. Mike Clevinger (3-1, 2.87 ERA, 50 K)
Friday, 6:10 PM CT: Dallas Keuchel (3-6, 3.43 ERA, 48 K) vs. Corey Kluber (7-2, 2.36 ERA, 71 K)
Saturday, 6:15 PM CT: Lance McCullers Jr. (6-2, 3.20 ERA, 66 K) vs. Carlos Carrasco (5-3, 3.65 ERA, 63 K)
Sunday, 12:10 PM CT: Gerrit Cole (5-1, 1.86 ERA, 101 K) vs. Trevor Bauer (4-3, 2.35 ERA, 73 K)
Facing the Indians will be tough, but the Astros have the STATS on their side.
The Astros offense has been more consistent as of late. They have outscored opponents 46-17 in the last ten games. They also have extended their league lead in run differential over the Yankees, with +107 runs fifty games into the season. Despite their offense being even more inconsistent than the Astros, the Indians still have a +27 differential, good enough for ninth in the league.
Through the first third of the season, the Indians have struggled. That said, they still have had a lot of success primarily against lefties (.270/.339/.464), with the majority of their run support coming from the large amount of lefties in their lineup. We will likely see a lot of Houston relievers who have had success against lefties . Because of his earlier performances, Chris Devenski will likely pitch a lot in relief this series. In addition, Indians have an exceptionally capable rotation, which enables them to compete no matter which teams they face. Expect the series to be very low scoring, with the starting pitching carrying their “A” games. The bullpen has been the best in the American League this year (2.82 ERA), white the Indians has been the worst (5.65 ERA). The Astros will likely be looking to raise the starters pitch count early, leaving Cleveland manager Terry Francona no choice but to use the bullpen, which would give the Astros advantage.
Injuries and DL assignments struck the Astros this week. The recent call ups will be ready to take advantage of the opportunity and try to impress. The Astros have a tough next few weeks, and driving the momentum from game to game, with help from the young guys, will be huge. Cleveland is the next endeavor, and the Astros are ready for the test. Oh! By the way, GO ROCKETS!
**Statistics and information courtesy of ESPN and Baseball Reference**