Thanks to solid pitching and timely hitting, the Astros claimed victory in Game 1 of the ALDS. But the Indians could even series back at one game apiece on Saturday.
Even though the Astros won Game 1, their ALDS bout with the Indians is anything but over. The first team to three wins advances to the ALCS and both teams are quite terrific. To declare a victor of the series right now is a fool’s errand. Postseason baseball is a crapshoot at times.
That said, Houston must feel good about its chances as Game 2 takes place later Saturday afternoon. Another pitcher showdown is possible as Gerrit Cole (2.88 ERA, 2.70 FIP in 200 1/3 IP) gets the nod for the Astros and the Indians counter with Carlos Carrasco (3.38 ERA, 2.94 FIP in 192 IP).
The Astros’ lineup is exactly the same as last night with Martin Maldonado catching Cole.
Maldonado has caught Cole for 48 innings over eight games, and the Astros’ starter has limited opposing hitters to a .230/.289/.388 with a 3.75 ERA.
Here is how the Indians’ lineup looks heading into Game 2.
Like Houston, Cleveland is sending out the same lineup configuration as Game 1. Of course, the Indians are hoping for better success against Cole than they had yesterday. In his lone start against the Indians on May 27th, Cole limited the Indians to four hits and three runs over seven innings. Unfortunately for Cole and Houston, this game was also when the bullpen surrendered five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning before the Astros succumbed in extra innings.
Like Kluber and two fellow Cleveland starters, Carrasco posted a 200-plus strikeout season. In addition to his strikeout ability, he finished with the 15th-highest ground ball rate (46.5%) out of all qualified starting pitchers this year. Unsurprisingly, Carrasco fits the mood of pitchers that seem to do well in Minute Maid Park.
The outcome of Game 2 will help set the tone for the rest of the series. Both the Astros and Indians are aiming for the best possible situation heading into Game 3 in Cleveland on Monday.