ALDS Game 1 between the Cleveland Indians and the Houston Astros will kick off this afternoon. Minute Maid Park in Houston will host the action. If history between these clubs holds true this will be a great series from start to finish. The Game 1 pitching matchup is going to be a great one.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Corey Kluber (20-7, 2.89 ERA) vs. Astros RH Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.52)
ODDS: The Astros are -155-moneyline favorites. The game’s total is 6.5 Over -125.
Two former Cy Young Award winners go at it this afternoon. Both pitchers finished the regular season strong and are prepared to face dangerous lineups today.
Cleveland’s Corey Kluber was unbeaten in his last six starts. He went 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA against Houston this year. Justin Verlander gave up four runs across 33 innings in September for the Astros.
The Indians eased to their third straight AL Central title. They have strung three 90 plus-win seasons together (91 in 2018) for the first time since 1999-2001. The defending World Series champion Houston set a franchise record with 103 victories.
Kluber Looks to Pitch Well in ALDS Game 1
Kluber did not pitch well in the playoffs last season. He gave up nine runs over 6 1/3 innings. BUT he was outstanding in 2016 during the Indians’ run to the World Series (4-1, 1.83 ERA).
The 32-year-old won his final four decisions in the regular season. He recorded a 2.80 ERA during that six-game stretch to reach 20 victories for the first time. Kluber struck out at 200 for the fifth straight year (222, 2018).
Marwin Gonzalez is 9-for-20 with a pair of homers versus Kluber. The Indians ace is 6-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 10 career appearances (nine starts) against Houston.
Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor launched 38 homers in the regular season. He only went 3-for-31 against the Astros. Cleveland slugger Edwin Encarnacion was 9-for-26 versus Houston with two of his 32 blasts.
Jose Ramirez is 11-for-27 with three doubles and two homers against Verlander. Michael Brantley ended the regular season with a nine-game hitting streak and batted .341 in September to finish at .309 overall.
Astros Expect to Pitch and Hit Well in ALDS
Verlander went 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in five September starts. This was after struggling a bit in August while registering a 5.29 ERA in six outings. The 35-year-old struck out a career high 290 batters this season without facing the Indians.
He went 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA during Houston’s run to the World title in 2017. Verlander is 11-6 with a 3.07 ERA lifetime in the postseason.
Verlander is 4-7 with a 2.84 ERA at home this season while giving up 19 of his 28 homers at Minute Maid Park.
Marwin Gonzalez is 9-for-20 with a pair of homers versus Kluber.
Jose Altuve hit .300 for the fifth straight year (.315, 2018). He was an outstanding 15-for-32 against the Indians during the regular season. Alex Bregman went 8-for-31 with two of his career-best 31 homers.
Yuli Gurriel hit .291 this season overall. He was 23-for-56 with 15 RBIs while hitting safely in 13 of his last 14 contests.
PREDICTION: Indians 4, Astros 3
ALDS Game 1 Betting Odds Trends
|Cleveland is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games|
|Clev is 6-3 SU in its last 9 games|
|Clev is 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games on the road|
|Cleveland is 8-4 SU in its last 12 games when playing Houston|
|The total has gone OVER in 5 of Cleveland’s last 6 games when playing Houston|
|Cleveland is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Houston|
|Cleveland is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Houston|
|The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Cleveland’s last 16 games when playing on the road against Houston|
|Hou is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games|
|Houston is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Houston’s last 5 games|
|Houston is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home|
|Hou is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home|
|Houston is 4-8 SU in its last 12 games when playing Cleveland|
|The total has gone OVER in 5 of Houston’s last 6 games when playing Cleveland|
|Houston is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against Cleveland|
|Houston is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Cleveland|
|The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Houston’s last 16 games when playing at home against Cleveland|
Cleveland at Houston Saturday, October 6
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