The Houston Astros made easy work of the San Francisco Giants the last two days, beating them by a margin of 15-3 over the course of their two-game series. Justin Verlander was dealing again last night, as he cashed us a nice ticket at -1.5 on the Astros. The Astros have won six of their last seven games. Two of those wins came against the Indians.
The Astros and Indians met in Houston for a three-game series, and are meeting again, this time in Cleveland. Houston have been looking good, especially that pitching staff that have been playing well as a cohesive unit. It hasn’t been just one or two pitchers, there’s been a team effort from the starters and bullpen. The Indians hope to cool Charlie Morton and the pen off on Thursday.
The Tribe are coming off an interleague series of their own after a stop in Chicago at Wrigley. They blasted the Cubs by a score of 10-1 on Wednesday to move to 23-23 on the season. It was only their fifth win in the last ten games, though. Wednesday night is currently pending. The Indians are up at the moment by a score of 1-0. As they hover around the .500 mark, the Indians are 1st in the AL Central. The Twins trail them in 2nd at 21-24, so it’s good enough for a 1.5-game lead.
There’s always one division who gets a gimme into the postseason, and it looks like it may be the AL Central this year. I would be surprised if it’s the same near the end of the year, though. Someone is going to go on a run. Other than the Indians and Twins, there isn’t any other competition. Between the Tigers, Royals, and White Sox, they are not good enough to put something together to make a run at the postseason. Head below for our free Astros vs. Indians pick.
Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Indians Pick
Charlie Morton (6-0, 1.94 ERA) vs. Mike Clevinger (3-1, 2.87 ERA)
It may not be Justin Verlander numbers, but Charlie Morton is mowing down the competition. Note that the ‘Stros are 1st overall in pitching, with a team ERA of 2.42. It isn’t really close, the next nearest team is the Diamondbacks who hold an ERA of 3.31. The starters on the Astros have a combined 2.26 ERA. They certainly have the formula that could stand up to the Yankees vaunted lineup. Morton is ahead of the team average, as his ERA stands at 1.94 entering tonight. He has yet to suffer a loss, with a perfect record of 6-0 in 2018. He’s allowed less than 2 runs in three of his last four starts. Indians’ batters are hitting just .202 against Morton in his career, which includes 84 at-bats.
The Astros are going to have a tougher pitching matchup that they had against the Giants. Mike Clevinger will step in for the Indians, as he looks to build on a productive campaign in 2018. Clevinger has been a beautiful compliment to Kluber and Bauer in the rotation. He enters Thursday with an ERA of 2.87 and 1.16 WHIP. Clevinger recently had a decent start against the ‘Stros, allowing 3 runs across 6.1 innings. It wasn’t enough, though, as the star-studded Houston pitching staff bested him and the Indians into a 4-1 loss. The Astros are hitting .267 against Clevinger and just 1 deep ball in 45 at-bats. I expect a low-scoring dual in this one between Morton and Clevinger.