ASTROS @ INDIANS
April 25-27, 2017
What happened in the last series?
The Indians are 10-8 after taking two out of three from the White Sox in Chicago, with back-to-back 3-hitters on Friday and Saturday by Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. This was on the heels of basically sweeping the Twins (a fourth game in the series got rained out). Cleveland’s 7th-best bullpen ERA is largely offset by their 2nd-worst starter ERA (4.81), although that number was certainly helped by last weekend’s shutouts. The Tribe boast an offense not entirely dissimilar to the Astros’, with AVG, OPS, and runs all in the top tier or just below and strikeouts in short supply.
The Astros just won a series in Tampa for the first time in nearly a decade, continuing to find ways to win in come-from-behind fashion. Jake Marisnick is going through the concussion protocol and may not be available for this series after catching Tropicana’s center field wall with his face.
Tuesday, April 25 – 5:10pm CDT
Dallas Keuchel (3-0, 0.96) vs. Josh Tomlin (1-2, 11.68)
There’s not much to say about Keuchel – so far this year he’s been good for seven innings and one run or less every time, and with a sub-1 ERA and WHIP he’s been a machine. He’s also 3-0 against Cleveland for his career.
Tomlin is obviously not likely to continue posting the stats he has – 1.93 WHIP, .393 BAA – but I’ll be happy if he waits another week or so before he really turns things around. He actually posted a quality start against the Twins after getting beaten up by the White Sox and Diamondbacks. Somewhat remarkably, he has only pitched against the Astros once since they’ve been not-shitty: a single scoreless inning in his only relief appearance last season.
Wednesday, April 26 – 5:10pm CDT
Lance McCullers Jr. (2-0, 3.38) vs. Trevor Bauer (1-2, 6.35)
McCullers turned in his best outing of the season against the Angels last Thursday, taking a shutout into the 7th before getting pulled after walking a pair. He has never faced Cleveland, although Edwin Encarnacion took him deep as a Blue Jay.
Like Tomlin, Bauer pitched his best game against the Twins, getting his first win while allowing less than four runs for the first time. Despite his early struggles the Astros will have to overcome some history – Bauer is 5-0 with a 1.96 ERA in five career starts against Houston.
Thursday, April 27 – 5:10pm CDT
Mike Fiers (0-1, 5.40) vs. Corey Kluber (2-1, 4.28)
Prepare your drinking game of choice. Fiers is one long ball short of tying the MLB lead and, if his current pattern continues, will give up four home runs in this game. He did pick up two wins against the Indians in 2016, though, so who the hell knows?
Kluber pitched a complete-game three-hit shutout and faced only two batters over the minimum against the White Sox in his last start. This was a nice rebound from a couple of tough outings against Detroit and the Rangers. He has had mixed success against the Astros in the past; last year he was 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA against Houston, but did much better in 2014 and 2015.