THE ALDS. The last two AL champions will be facing each other in the first round of the postseason this year, in a series that will be very thrilling. As good as the Indians were this year, they flew under the radar thanks to how dominant the Red Sox were.
The Astros on the other hand, are looking to repeat as World Series champions, and the road starts with the Indians and 2X CY Young winner Corey Kluber.
The impressive offense, led by Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Ramirez, and Francisco Lindor outscored opponents by 170 runs and looked dynamic all season long. Lindor and Ramirez combined for 77 home runs, 198 RBI’s, and 59 stolen bases, and were threats in all facets of the game. With all of the weapons they have on their roster, they are well-equipped to win this series. How they might fare against Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, that’s another story. But they have the starting pitching and the bullpen needed to compete, and bats all up and down the order.
They will send Corey Kluber to the mound today. He posted a career-high 20 wins this year, matched with just seven losses and a 2.89 ERA. He struck out 220 batters and walked 34 in 215 innings of work. He has pitched pretty well for the Indians in the past few postseasons, and will be looking to do just the same thing again this year.
Just like last season, they got big RBI numbers from a plethora of different players. Led by Alex Bregman and his 31 HR’s and 103 RBI’s, they outscored opponents by 263 runs, and allowed less than four runs per game as a team. George Springer, Jose Altuve, Yuri Gurriel, and Evan Gattis all continued to produce this season, while their starting pitching got even better than it had been prior. They have plenty of big-time arms to get them through to the World Series again, but first, they have a lot to worry about with this Indians team.
They will send Justin Verlander to the mound. In five September starts, he allowed just four runs in 33 innings of work, and struck out 10+ batters in four of them. He has absolutely been in the zone, as he was for them a season ago. He struck out 290 batters while walking only 37 (he’s turning 36 in February). He posted a 2.52 ERA for the season, and went 16-9. He looked unhittable at times this season, en route to his magnificent campaign.
Indians, Kluber take game one
Yep. We’re taking the Indians to upset the Astros on the road in the series opener this afternoon. In a pitcher’s duel, it is Kluber who will prevail. A timely hit late in the game from Michael Brantley will make all the difference.
It will be a rare loss for Verlander as an Astro, but victory to Kluber and co.!
Free Pick: Indians beat the Astros 3-2. Bet the Indians +145 over the Astros.
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