The Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians will do battle at Progressive Field for three days beginning Tuesday night. The Astros are fresh off two wins in St. Louis after beating the Cardinals in two of three games. They dropped the opener by a score of 5-3 and were able to bounce back with two straight wins. Houston are in the driver’s seat of the AL West, as they are ahead by a comfortable margin of 8 games.
The ‘Stros head into Cleveland with a solid record of 68-39 on the season. They are neck-and-neck with the Dodgers for 1st overall in major league baseball. It’s important because the Astros would have homefield advantage throughout the postseason.
Thankfully they do not use the All-Star Game to decide who gets it any longer. The Astros also have to fend off others in the American League to get homefield in the AL. They’re currently in the lead, but the Yankees are only a game back. After the trade deadline, we might get a better idea of who the favorite is here.
I wouldn’t expect some kind of blockbuster trade happening for the Astros tomorrow, though. Zack Wheeler might be on his way to Houston, but that’s not a blockbuster and is more of a move for depth. No one saw Marcus Stroman going to the Mets, so you never know what could happen, however.
Stroman was one trade target for Houston, which of course didn’t come to fruition. Trevor Bauer might be another option. Even if they stay pat and don’t do anything drastic, the Astros are still going to be a tough out in the postseason. Their rotation is already impressive and built to go far. The leader of that orchestra, Justin Verlander, is scheduled to take on All-Star Game MVP, Shane Bieber, in this contest. Get our free Astros vs. Indians pick below.
Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Indians Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Shane Bieber has exploded onto the scene this season for the Indians. He was used in just 19 starts a season ago and posted a 4.55 ERA. Not bad for a guy getting his first taste of major league action, but not many people in baseball knew him. In an expanded role in 2019, Bieber has made the most of it in Cleveland. Along with getting rewarded with MVP in the All-Star Game, he’s helped get his team back on track and thinking of the AL Central crown.
After getting behind by around ten games, the Indians have stormed back and are just 2 games back. Part of that is due to guys like Bieber picking it up in the absence of Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Kluber is nearing a sim game soon after having some successful bullpen sessions. That should help give them a boost as well.
Bieber enters Tuesday with an ERA of 3.44 and a stellar 10-3 record. He’s coming off a tremendous performance in Toronto, as he surrendered just 1 hit and no runs in a 4-0 win against the Jays. The Astros haven’t been able to do anything against Bieber in the past, as he’s held them to a .167 batting average and 1 home run in 24 at-bats.
The Indians have a lot more history against Verlander. In 235 at-bats, the Indians have scored 32 runs with 12 home runs against JV. Verlander may be a future HOF, but Carlos Santana hasn’t been scared away by him at all. Santana has connected for 8 long balls in 75 at-bats against Verlander.
He missed a couple of games recently, but was able to return on Sunday. Note that the Tribe have gone 7-1 in their last eight home games. Verlander owns a record of 9-16 and 5.56 ERA in 28 starts at Progressive Field in his career. The value appears to be on the Indians in this spot Tuesday night.