Cleveland Indians vs. Houston Astros Pick
Cleveland Indians (14-10 SU, 12-12 RL) at Houston Astros (15-10 SU, 10-15 RL)
Date: Friday, April 26, 2019
Time: 8:10 pm ET
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston
Listed Pitchers: Cleveland: Corey Kluber (2-2, 5.88 ERA, 1.62 WHIP) vs. Houston: Gerrit Collin McHugh (3-2, 4.78 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
TV: ATT SportsNet-SW, Sports Time Ohio
Moneyline: Indians +106/Astros -115
As expected, the Indians and Astros played a low-scoring contest on Thursday. The surprise was that the Indians were the ones who came out on top, something they couldn’t do a year ago in the ALDS. With another one of their top pitchers going to the mound on Friday, can the Tribe take another one off the 2017 World Series champions, or will the Astros get back to their winning ways and even this series?
MLB Betting Odds
The Astros started as a strong favorite at -149, but the line has come down substantially since then, and they’re now going off at a much more reasonable -115. The over/under has also increased, despite the fact that the teams combined for just three runs Thursday.
More MLB: Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets Pick
Indians vs. Astros Set-Up
The Indians faced their first real test of 2019, and they passed it be getting a great outing from Trevor Bauer. Corey Kluber has traditionally been the Tribe’s other pocket ace, and taking two out of four from Houston would make for a fantastic weekend for the Indians, allowing Cleveland to play with house money for the final two games of the series if it can win Friday. Houston, on the other hand, has lost four of six, but offense usually isn’t the problem. The Astros had scored 37 runs in their past five games before Bauer shut them down.
Friday’s Starting Arms
Kluber has been fantastic in past years, but there is no debating that this year has been a struggle. He’s 2-2, but against Kansas City, Atlanta and the White Sox, he’s been fairly hittable. He’s given up no fewer than four hits in a game, been touched for four or more runs three times in five starts and has failed to get out of the fourth inning twice. McHugh was doing quite well for Houston until his most recent start, when he got shelled at Texas for nine earned runs. Before that, he hadn’t given up more than two runs in a start, despite facing the Yankees, Tampa Bay and Oakland twice.
Friday’s Batting Splits
Neither team was able to get anything going on Thursday night, as all of the offense came from three baseballs reaching the seats. Neither side manufactured a single run, and the teams combined for just eight hits in the contest, meaning that a mere five balls landed safely in the field of play. That’s a testament to just how good the pitching was, especially from Cleveland. The Indians have struggled mightily at the plate, but the Astros haven’t had that problem. Houston is the top hitting team in the majors by batting average, and Bauer was masterful.
The bullpens both game into this series at the top of their games, and nothing happened on Thursday to change those thoughts. The Tribe held their lead when they got it, and the Astros never got a chance to protect a lead with the bullpen. If one of these squads gets a lead in the seventh, the game is probably over.
- The over is 4-1 in Houston’s past five home games against a team with a winning road record.
- The under is 5-1 in the Indians’ past six road games against a team above .500
- The over is 7-1 in Kluber’s past eight Friday starts
- The under is 4-0 in McHugh’s past four starts against the AL Central.
Free MLB Pick
I hate the idea of picking against Kluber here, but he’s not the same pitcher he’s been in the recent past right now. McHugh appears to be the safer bet of the two pitchers at the moment, as he’s looked good other than one poor showing. Kluber has been too inconsistent, and that’s not really a word that you hear often with Kluber. The fact that we are hearing it and he’s up against an Astros team that has hit the ball well recently says that this could be a tough outing for him. Throw in that the Astros are at a much more reasonable price than they were going at on Thursday, and I feel much more confident in this pick. I’m taking Houston, at low vig at 5dimes, to bounce back from Thursday’s setback.