The Houston Astros start their quest to become back-to-back champions on Friday afternoon, but the Cleveland Indians are hoping to rain on their parade. The Indians will travel to Minute Maid Park to take on the Astros in game one of the ALDS.
One of the beautiful things about October baseball is that often times you get the best of the best squaring off against each other on the mound. This couldn’t be truer for this game. The Indians will be sending ace Corey Kluber (20-7, 2.89 ERA) to the mound to square off with the Astros’ ace, Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.52 ERA.
Both are in the conversation in the AL Cy Young Award race and both have fantastic resumes coming into this contest. The action will start Friday afternoon as game one is scheduled for a 2:05 pm ET start.
The moneyline for Friday’s game is set at the Cleveland Indians +125 and the Houston Astros -145. The over/under on runs scored is set at 6.5.
|INDIANS VS. ASTROS ODDS||MONEYLINE||TOTAL RUNS|
|Cleveland Indians||+138||Ov 6½- 118|
|Houston Astros||-148||Un 6½ -102|
Indians Hoping To Make Postseason Push
The Cleveland Indians are desperately trying to get back to the World Series like in 2016, this time hoping for better results. To start that quest, the Indians will turn to Corey Kluber in game one of the ALDS. On the season, the righthander was 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and opponents are hitting .223 against him. In 215 innings pitched, he had 222 strikeouts, 34 walks and allowed 25 home runs. In his last start of the regular season, Kluber went 5 innings, giving up 3 earned runs and striking out 6 in a 9-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
On the offensive side, the Indians had marvelous seasons from both Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez. Lindor hit .277/.352/.519 with a .871 OPS. He had 38 home runs, 92 runs batted in, scored 129 runs and had 25 stolen bases.
Not to be outdone, Ramirez hit .270/.387/.552 with a .939 OPS. He had 39 home runs, 105 runs batted in, scored 110 runs and had 34 stolen bases. Throw in Josh Donaldson, Michael Brantley and Edwin Encarnacion, and this is a loaded lineup top to bottom.
Astros Trying To Respark October Magic
The Astros followed up their World Series Championship last year with a 103-win season this year. As crazy as it sounds, they may be better than the team they had one year ago. Leading the way on the pitching side has been Justin Verlander.
This season, Verlander is 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and opponents are hitting just .200 against him. In 214 innings, he had a career high 290 strikeouts, 37 walks and allowed 28 home runs. In his last three outings of the regular season, he went a combined 19 innings, allowing 1 earned run, and striking out 32. The Astros won all 3 of those games.
On the offensive side for the Astros, you have to start with Alex Bregman. He really exploded onto the national scene after hitting .286/.394/.532 with a .926 OPS. He had 51 doubles, 31 home runs, 103 runs batted in, 105 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. He also had more walks (96) than strikeouts (85) on the season. Aside from Bregman, Altuve, despite missing time with an injury, put up another solid season.
He finished the year hitting .316/.386/.451 with a .837 OPS. He had 13 home runs, 61 runs batted in, 84 runs scored and 17 stolen bases. While those numbers are down from what we have become accustomed to seeing with Altuve, he is healthy entering the playoffs, which is huge for the Astros. Houston will also be looking to get production out of George Springer, Carlos Correa, Tyler White, Yuli Gurriel and Marwin Gonzalez in the postseason.
Astros Take Game One At Home
Anytime you have two aces on the mound it is tough to choose a winner. It is conceivable that either one of these pitchers could take over and dominate a game. For this one, though, I am going with the experience. Last year showed that the stage wasn’t too big for any of these players and with last year’s team still mostly intact, I think they will come out strong in their game 1 matchup. Take the Astros at -145 in this one.