#918 Houston Astrosvs.#917 Cleveland Indians
Written by David Hess
Cleveland Indians (20-19 SU, 12-27 RL, 14-23-2 O/U) vs Houston Astros (29-12 SU, 26-15 RL, 22-18-1 O/U)
When: 4:10 PM EDT, Saturday, May 20, 2017
Where: Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas
Lines: Houston -125/ Cleveland +115
The American League East meets the American League West this afternoon as the Cleveland Indians will rumble with the Houston Astros in game two of their three-game series from Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The Indians have won four of the last five games in this series. Pitching Probables: The Tribe will send out Mike Clevinger and the Astros will counter with Mike Fiers.
Last year, the Cleveland Indians won their division rather easily and they came into this year as the favorites to do so again, plus they were one of the favorites to make it to the world Series out of the American League. Well, so far they have not really looked like the team they were a year ago. They are a game over .500 for the year so far, but in a 2nd place tie with the Tigers in the AL Central and they come in having lost five of their last seven games. Six of those games played were at home, where they have gone just 8-10 on the year, compared to 12-9 on the road. They are hoping that getting out on the road will get them back on track, but it will not be easy as they are facing the best team in baseball right now. Toeing the rubber for the Indians in this one will be Mike Clevinger and he has gone 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA in three games (two starts) so far. Clevinger is 2-4 with a 5.29 ERA in 12 career games as a starter, while against the Astros in his career he has gone 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in one start.
Cleveland has been a below average offensive team this year so far as they come in ranked 21st in the league in scoring, putting up 4.31 rpg, while also ranking 20th in hitting at .241 and 21st in homers with 42. On the mound they have been solid in the early going as they come in ranked 11th in the league in ERA at 3.98, while also ranking 5th in WHIP at 1.25.
The Houston Astros came into this series off a seven-game road trip, in which they went 6-1 on. They started out by taking three of four in New York, before sweeping the Marlins in three games in Miami. They allowed a total of four runs in the three games against the Marlins. The Astros have now gone 15-6 on the road, which is the best mark in the league. Overall they are 17 games above .500 and that is by far the best record in the league so far. The Astros already have a 7.5 game lead over the Rangers, who are in 2nd place in the AL West. This is a complete team and it will be very hard for any of their divisional brethren to knock them off the top spot this year. Getting the nod for the Astros will be Mike Fiers and he has gone 1-1 with a 5.75 ERA in seven starts this year, including 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts here at home. Fiers have gone 5-6 with a 4.58 ERA in 22 games (15 starts) during the month of May in his career and he is 11-16 with a 4.10 ERA in 47 games (40 starts) in daytime, while against the Indians he has gone 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA in three starts. He has gone 7-6 with a 3.64 ERA in 23 career starts in this park.
Houston has been a strong offensive team this year so far as they come in ranked 4th in the league in scoring, putting up 5.15 rpg, while also ranking 3rd in hitting at .273 and 8th in homers with 55. On the mound they have been very strong so far as they come in ranked 2nd in the league in ERA at 3.41, while also ranking 2nd in WHIP at 1.19.
Neither starter has pitched all that well so far, but still, this has been a low scoring series of late and I will look for that to continue in this one. The Under is 11-2-3 the last 16 meetings between these teams here in Houston, which is a hard number to ignore, especially with an OU line of nine. Mike Fiers has a 2.76 ERA in his career against the Tribe and a 3.64 ERA in his career in this park. Mike Clevinger has not been a good starter in his career, but he has the best bullpen in the league behind him and that should keep the Astros from getting many late runs. Look for around seven runs in this one.
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