The Houston Astros look to make it four straight against the Cleveland Indians when the two teams play the second of a three-game series at Progressive Field Wednesday night. Houston won the opener of the series on Tuesday after taking the final two games of a four-game series against the Indians in April.
The Astros won their third straight overall with their opening win, staying eight games ahead of second-place Oakland in the American League West. Cleveland dropped its second straight in the opener, falling three games behind first-place Minnesota in the American League Central and dropping their lead for the top Wild Card spot to two games over Oakland and 2.5 over Tampa Bay.
The moneyline for this contest has the Houston Astros -138 and the Cleveland Indians +128. The over/under has been set at 10.
Starting To Roll Again
Houston has been out in front of the AL West for most of the season despite multiple injuries, but the Astros are starting to get healthy and are looking like they’re ready to go on a major roll, winning 10 of their last 12. Jose Urquidy gets the start for this game, coming in with a 1-0 record and a 4.26 ERA in four starts this season. The 24-year-old had a solid outing in his last start, allowing just four hits and one run over six innings against the St. Louis Cardinals, though he didn’t end up factoring in the decision.
Jose Altuve has been red-hot at the plate, recording three hits for the second straight game on Tuesday night. On the season, Altuve is up to .300 after batting .389 in July. He’s really been rounding into form after missing 35 games in May and June. Another hot hitter for the Astros is Yuli Gurriel, who has a 17-game hitting streak going into this game. Gurriel is batting .299 on the season with 20 home runs and 65 RBI, one of three Astros (along with Alex Bregman and George Springer) with at least 20 homers and 60 RBI this season.
Shaking Things Up
Cleveland has been playing well of late, but they decided to go big the day before the trading deadline, making a three-team deal that will bring in outfielders Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes, pitchers Logan Allen and Scott Moss, and infielder/outfielder Victor Nova. None of those players will be available for this game, though the impact of such a big deal could potentially invigorate the rest of the team.
Rookie Zach Plesac will be on the mound for Wednesday’s game, going for his third straight win. On the season, the 24-year-old is 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA, winning four of his last five decisions. He’s coming off a seven-inning outing against Kansas City in which he allowed just six hits and one unearned run. His last six starts have come against non-playoff contenders Kansas City, Detroit, and Baltimore, so the Houston lineup will definitely be a step up in competition.
Houston Keeps Rolling
The Astros are really starting to put it together now that they’re getting healthy, leading the American League in wins and sitting just a half-game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in baseball. Urquidy has pitched well and should be able to keep the Indians’ lineup quiet. I’m taking Houston -138 to win this one.