The Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians will kick off their American League Division Series on Friday afternoon. The Astros will have home field advantage in this series due to their better record during the 2018 regular season. Both of these teams were playoff teams a season ago in the American League.
The Astros battled through a slew of injuries this season to win the American League West Division. Houston is the defending World Series Champion. The Cleveland Indians cruised to another American League Central Division title, and are trying to return to the World Series for the second time in three seasons. Houston comes into this game at -139 over the Cleveland Indians.
Indians Offense Looks To Stay Hot
The Cleveland Indians had a high powered offense this season and finished with their third most runs in the Major Leagues. Infielder Jose Ramirez had a career season for the Astros, finishing with 39 home runs and an on base percentage of .388. The Indians added former AL MVP Josh Donaldson in late August, and he has been a huge boost to their team. Cleveland will try to solve a tough Astros pitching staff in this game.
2017 American League Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber, is set to pitch for the Indians in game one of the series. Kluber finished the regular season with a 20-7 record and a 2.89 earned run average. The hard-throwing right-hander made two starts against the Astros this season. He went 1-0 and allowed just two earned runs in 13 ⅓ innings pitched.
Verlander Takes the Mound For ‘Stros
Veteran right-hander Justin Verlander has been chosen to start in game one for the Houston Astros. Verlander made 34 starts for Houston during the regular season and went 16-9 with a 2.52 earned run average in those starts. The 2011 Cy Young and MVP of the American League did not face the Cleveland Indians during the 2018 regular season.
Astros third baseman Alex Bregman took a huge step this season and is now the most feared hitter on the team. Bregman clubbed 31 home runs and drove in 103 runs this season to keep the team in the race when they were struggling through injury. Last year’s postseason hero, George Springer, hit 22 home runs and drove in 71 runs during the regular season. The Astros have a strong lineup but are facing a tough pitcher.
Astros Win Game 1
This should be a highly competitive series featuring two very experienced teams. Both teams will have their ace on the mound for game one, and runs could be at a premium. The Indians put up a ton of runs during the regular season, but they took advantage of some week teams in their division.
The Astros finished the 2018 season on a high note, and are looking to repeat as World Series Champs. Look for Verlander to be strong in this game, while the Astros will find just enough offense. Bet the Houston Astros -139 over the Indians in game one.