Series Preview: Astros at Indians

A series win against Kansas City would have placed the Indians in one of the two Wild Card spots, but the feisty Royals have stuck around for a little while longer. The Indians will come back home now, where they will face an easier and less familiar foe.

Finally, the Houston Astros have come back to Cleveland. It may be a common occurrence in the future with the Astros now in the American League West, but this will be the first series in Cleveland between the two teams since 2000 and just the second ever. In the last game the two teams played in Ohio, Dave Burba beat Shane Reynolds. They have played six games Texas in the past two seasons, giving the current rosters at least some experience against each other.

Game 1: Thursday, September 19th 7:05 PM EDT
Dallas Keuchel, LHP, 6-9, 5.17 ERA vs Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, 12-9, 3.49 ERA

Game 2: Friday,  September 20th 7:05 PM EDT
Brett Oberholtzer, LHP, 4-3, 2.98 ERA vs Zach McAllister, RHP, 8-9, 3.96 ERA

Game 3: Saturday,  September 21st 6:05 PM EDT
Paul Clemens, RHP, 4-5, 5.54 ERA vs Scott Kazmir, LHP, 8-9, 4.34 ERA

Game 4: Sunday,  September 22nd 1:05 PM EDT
Erik Bedard, LHP, 4-11, 4.60 ERA vs Corey Kluber, RHP, 9-5, 3.62 ERA

Series Goals:

  • This series sets up well for a sweep, that could be enough to cement the Indians place in the Wild Card lead with just six games afterward. The Indians would actually be fine with a split if things go completely the other way.
  • The reason this series sets up so well is that the Astros are the worst team in the Majors (51-100) and will be throwing three left handers in the four game series. So far, the Indians are 29-20 against LHP while just 53-50 against RHP. This series will allow the Indians to inflate that number even more as they won't even be facing good left handers. The Indians just man-handled the best left hander in the league in Chris Sale and shouldn't have too much of a problem against a couple rookies and an aging veteran.
  • In addition, the Indians are coming home after a successful road trip that saw the Tribe go 5-2 against the White Sox and Royals. The Indians have been vastly superior at home, winning 60% of home games compared to a below .500 record on the road.
  • During the series, the rest of the Wild Card contenders will continue to beat up on each other. The Rays and Rangers will finish their current series then go on to play the Royals and Orioles respectively. Most likely the race will be down to three teams (or four if the Yankees can sweep the Giants) by the end of this series.
  • This is a great time for the Indians offense to get back on track before the play-offs. While they could win the games with great pitching as they have done all year, a few blow outs would help save the important relievers and bring some confidence back to the offense. The Astros have allowed 83 more runs than the next worst team in the league, averaging 5.25 runs allowed per game.
  • The unique circumstances that make this series look easy, make it the best opportunity for the Indians to set up their rotation for the rest of the year. If they would like to keep Danny Salazar from two more starts in the regular season to save him for the post season, they could use Josh Tomlin, Carlos Carrasco or anyone else to throw the final start against Bedard. Of course, they shouldn't do this unless they have already won at least two of the first three games.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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