8:10 p.m. ET – Indians at Astros (-235 ML) O/U: 8.5
The 47-45 Indians close out a three-game set against the 58-38 Astros on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. Cleveland picked up a huge series win in Oakland over the past weekend, even after giving up a walk-off home run in the opening game. Houston started its second half on the South Side of Chicago, where the Astros lost two of three to the American League Central leading White Sox. The first two games of this season have gone to the Astros, including a 9-3 win in Game Two, led by a 3-for-3 performance at the plate from Michael Brantley, who also added two-RBI to his stat line.
About the Indians
Cleveland currently resides in second place in the American League Central, 9.5 games behind the first-place White Sox. The Indians are one of three teams in Major League Baseball that have an on-base percentage under .300. Third baseman Jose Ramirez leads the team with 19 home runs and is hitting .254 this season.
Filling in nicely as the team’s No.1 batter in the absence of Francisco Lindor, who was traded to the Mets after last season. Right fielder Franmil Reyes has been a pleasant surprise this season and he is on fire right now, batting .298 with six home runs and 16 RBI in his last 15 games. Shortstop Amed Rosario, who is only 25 years old, came over in the Lindor trade this offseason from the Mets, and so far he has produced at a higher level than Lindor, batting .269 in 2021.
The pitching staff was keeping the team afloat for much of the first half of the season, but 2020 American League Cy Young winner Shane Bieber has been out for roughly a month with a shoulder injury, joining fellow starter Adam Civale on the injured list. The front office is unlikely to be a buyer at the trade deadline, as the team has the lowest payroll in all of Major League Baseball. If Cleveland wants to play meaningful baseball in September, it will need some unlikely candidates to step up in both the batting order and starting rotation.
About the Astros
Houston currently sits atop the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of the second-place Athletics. The Astros are the highest-scoring offense in Major League Baseball, scoring 5.4 runs per game in 2021. Houston left fielder Michael Brantley leads the team with a .336 batting average and has started the second half right where he left off, batting .435 since.
Former MVP Jose Altuve is having a monster year, hitting .275 with 22 home runs and 57 RBI. Altuve has gone from one of the most beloved players in the league to one of the most hated due to the cheating scandal that placed an asterisk next to Houston’s 2017 World Series championship for many. He has silenced the doubters this season and proved that he does not need any assistance to play at an All-Star level. Designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, who is only 24, has emerged as a superstar talent in 2021, hitting .286 with 17 long balls and 60 RBI.
The Astros undoubtedly possess one of the deepest lineups in all of baseball, but the pitching staff has been overlooked by many this season. Houston has a team ERA of 3.64, the ninth- lowest in the big leagues, which is a credit in large part to a starting rotation that has not skipped a beat even after losing Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in a two-year stretch. The American League West race is far from over with Oakland breathing down Houston’s neck, but the Astros have established themselves as a team that will be in the thick of things come October.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Cleveland Indians||+1½ (+105)||+190||O 8½ (-115)|
|Houston Astros||-1½ (-125)||-235||U 8½ (-105)|
The Pitching Matchup
Right-hander Eli Morgan is toeing the rubber for the Indians on Wednesday night. Morgan is 1-3 with a 7.86 ERA in 26.1 innings across six starts this season. He allowed three runs in five innings of his last start against the Athletics.
Houston is turning to Lance McCullers Jr. for the series finale to try and complete the sweep. McCullers is 7-2 with a 2.80 ERA in 86.2 innings of work across 15 starts in 2021. He allowed just one run in seven innings in his last outing against the White Sox.
Meanwhile, McCullers Jr. looks better on paper than he has been in reality this season, as he has allowed a decent amount of hard contact this season.