I have had a very simple strategy in the last three weeks. Bet the Milwaukee Brewers and win money. I followed that strategy again last night as I fired on the Brewers as major +147 underdogs against the Colorado Rockies. I liked our side of the starting pitching matchup as Wade Miley had been lights out for the Brewers and German Marquez, while striking out a lot of guys for Colorado, hasn’t really been all that good this season. So, I backed the Brewers and expected them to finish off the sweep.
The game itself went very according to plan as Miley didn’t allow a run and Marquez gave up two and was charged with the loss. But the pitching wasn’t really the story of this game. It was the Milwaukee bats that finally started to show some power. Milwaukee had dominated the first two games of the series as far as runners on base was concerned but just couldn’t seem to plate enough runs to keep the Rockies from being competitive.
In this one, the Brewers sent three balls over the fence and stretched this lead out to a place where the Rockies had no shot for a late inning comeback. This was now the eleventh straight win for Milwaukee, and I see no signs of them slowing down as they wait to see who they will play in the National League Championship Series, either the Dodgers or the Braves. For the Rockies, it was a great run, but they were never going to win in the playoffs with their weak starting rotation, so the end was inevitable. For today’s pick, I will take a look at the game between the Houston Astros and the Cleveland Indians.
The Cleveland Indians host the Houston Astros Monday hoping to extend the ALDS to a game four. The Astros took care of business in Houston as they won both of the first two games of the series and will look to complete the sweep tonight. Cleveland is hoping that now that they are at home, they can force this series back to Houston for a deciding game five with a couple of big wins.
Starting today for the Astros is Dallas Kuechel (12-11 3.74 ERA), and for the Indians, it is Mike Clevinger (13-8 3.02 ERA). The Indians are -129 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 10:30 AM PST from Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Dallas Kuechel struggled through what was one of his worst seasons ever as a starter for the Houston Astros this year. Even though Kuechel started a career-high 34 games, he managed to win just twelve games, and his 3.74 ERA is nearly a full run higher than his 2.90-mark last season. Kuechel really struggled to start out the season as was 3-8 with an ERA of over four runs through June.
He straightened things out somewhat in July as he went 4-1 with a 1.65 ERA in the month and it looked like the Astros would have Keuchel back in CY Young Award form for the playoffs. But that hasn’t been the case as Dallas has once again slumped and in September he went 2-1 with a 4.65 ERA, and the Astros have lost three out of his last five starts. Houston has a wealth of talent on the mound, but if Kuechel can’t get his act together, they may not be able to ride the rotation to the World Series like they did last season. The Astros have Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton pitching out of the pen ready to jump into action if Keuchel can’t get the job done.
Mike Clevinger is likely the best pitcher in the American League that you know nothing about. This guy gets overshadowed in his own rotation by guys like Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer but make no mistake he was one of the best pitchers in the league this year. Clevinger’s 3.02 ERA was good for 6th in the AL as were his 5.2 wins above replacement (WAR). Clevinger also struck out over 200 batters, which put him in the top ten in the AL.
And he has really turned it on down the stretch as he is 6-1 with an ERA of just 2.10 in the months of August and September. The Indians have won eight out of his last ten starts. The Indians will need the performance of his life if they want to keep their World Series dreams alive this year.
The Houston Astros are the better team in this matchup. But not by nearly as much as most in the media will lead you to believe. Many talking heads are treating the Indians just like a small bump in the road to eventually match up with the winner of the Yankees Red Sox series for Houston. And that couldn’t be further from the truth. This Indians team can absolutely still win this series.
And that starts with this game today. I think Keuchel struggles and Clevinger is solid and the Indians find a way to win at home today. They led for most of the game in game two in Houston before seeing the bullpen get touched up and letting the Astros steal the game. How would this game be looking right now if this series were tied at one game apiece? Because it very easily could have been. Give me the Cleveland Indians as small home favorites tonight to win the game and make a series of things.