The Cleveland Indians (47-45, 23-25 away) and the Houston Astros (57-38, 30-19 home) wrap up a three-game series with a mid-week showdown Wednesday night in Texas. Houston has owned the head-to-head series so far this season, possessing a 6-0 record against the Indians.
The first pitch of the series finale is at 8:10 p.m. EST inside Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX. According to oddsmakers, Houston is a heavy betting favorite (-245), and the run total is at 9.
What to Know – Cleveland Indians
Cleveland opened up the second half of the season, taking two of three from the Oakland Athletics on the road before heading to Houston. The Indians haven’t cracked the code on how to take down the Astros, and Wednesday night is their final chance to do so during the regular season. Cleveland sits in second place in the American League Central, 9.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox.
The Indians hand the ball to 25-year old Eli Morgan (1-3, 7.86 ERA, 1.52 WHIP) to try and tame the Houston offense. Morgan faced the Astros at the beginning of the month, surrendering three earned runs over five innings. The rookie right-hander has thrown 26.1 innings this season, allowing 23 earned runs on 35 hits.
Cleveland’s offense ranks 26th in the majors and 13th in the AL with a .230 team batting average. All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez leads the Indians’ offense with 19 home runs and 52 runs driven in. Outfielder Franmil Reyes has connected on five home runs in 12 games this month since returning from the IL.
What to Know – Houston Astros
The Astros have one of the best records in the AL and are 3-2 in the second half of play since returning to action. Houston has a 3.5 game lead over the Oakland Athletics for first place in the AL West standings.
Penciled in to start on the mound for Houston is right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. (7-2, 2.80 ERA, 1.18 WHIP). McCullers has been brilliant on the bump this season, allowing 27 earned runs over 86.2 innings of work. The 27-year old hurler held the Indians in check the last time he faced them, firing 5.1 innings and allowing two earned runs in the victory.
Houston’s offense is one of the top lineups in the majors, leading the league with a .267 batting average. Outfielder Michael Brantley leads the majors with a .336 batting average, and second baseman Jose Altuve has blasted a team-high 22 home runs. Designated hitter Yordan Alvarez has driven in a team-best 60 runs.
The Pick is In
Houston has the Indians’ number, and it doesn’t get any easier for Cleveland going against McCullers. Morgan will have to bring his best stuff to the mound if the Indians have any chance to defeat the Astros. We just do not see that happening.
Both offenses have seen these pitchers recently, and in that game, nine runs were scored between the two. Expect another offensive slugfest with double-digit runs crossing home plate.
The Pick: Astros/Indians OVER 9