The Houston Astros will start their postseason quest to repeat as World Series champions against the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.
All five of the series’ potential games have dates, but only Game 1 and Game 2 have times, according to Click2Houston.com.
- Game 1: Friday, October 5, 2:05 p.m. ET
- Game 2: Saturday, October 6, 3:37 p.m. ET
- Game 3: Monday, October 8, time TBD
- *Game 4: Tuesday, October 9, time TBD
- *Game 5: Thursday, Oct. 11, time TBD
The pitching matchups for the first three contests have already been set.
- Game 1: Astros’ Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.52 ERA) vs. Indians’ Corey Kluber (20-7, 2.89 ERA)
- Game 2: Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.88 ERA) vs. Carlos Carrasco (17-10, 3.38 ERA)
- Game 3: Dallas Keuchel (12-11, 3.74 ERA) vs. Mike Clevinger (13.8, 3.02 ERA)
According to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Indians manager Terry Francona said that Trevor Bauer (12-6, 2.21 ERA), who was in the running for the American League Cy Young before going down with a stress fracture in his right leg in mid-August, will be available out of the bullpen early in the series. Depending on how Francona chooses to deploy his relievers, either Bauer or rookie Shane Bieber (11-5, 4.55 ERA) will start Game 4.
How the Astros Got Here
While the 103-59 Astros scored the fifth-most runs in the American League in 2018, they repeated as AL West champions on the strength of their pitching. Houston surrendered the fewest hits, runs, earned runs, and home runs in the league, with the lowest ERA (3.11) and the most strikeouts (1,687).
Offensively, Houston is led by third baseman Alex Bregman, whose 31 home runs, 51 doubles, 103 RBI, 105 runs, and 96 walks were all tops on the team. They’ve also gotten surprising production from June call-up Tyler White. Since July 29, when the first baseman began playing almost every day, he’s hit .287/.350/.551 with 10 home runs and 39 RBI in 51 games.
How the Indians Got Here
The 91-71 AL Central champs scored more runs in 2018 than any team in baseball not named the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox. They saw three players top 30 home runs this year: third baseman Jose Ramirez (39), shortstop Francisco Lindor (38), and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (32). Astros catchers Max Stassi and Brian McCann had better prepare for an active series behind the plate, because Cleveland led the majors with 135 steals; they were caught just 36 times.
While not quite at Houston’s level, the Indians’ pitching staff posted a 3.77 ERA in 2018, good for fourth in the AL. If Bauer can return to his form from earlier in the season, they have four star-quality starters to turn to.
As good as this series’ crop of pitchers is, don’t expect them to rack up strikeouts: Indians and Astros hitters finished with the fewest and second-fewest strikeouts in all of baseball.
Source: Heavy Sports