Last Updated: 2018-10-04
The Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros do battle in the American League Divisional Series, where the Astros are -160 to win the series and the take back on the Tribe is +140.
Both teams will have their aces twice if needed, as Justin Verlander will start Game 1 and also be good to go in a Game 5 if needed. Gerrit Cole and Dallas Keuchel will start Games 2 and 3 respectively, while Charlie Morton or Lance McCullers would be the logical candidates for Game 4.
The Indians should counter with Carlos Carraso and Mike Clevinger in Games 2 and 3, while Trevor Bauer is most likely to go in Game 4.
Offensively, there isn’t a huge difference between the two teams. The Indians may have slightly better numbers, but the Astros were a bit short-handed for a bit due to injuries, making offense essentially a wash, with the Indians averaging 5.05 runs and the Astros 4.92.
If we take the offenses out of the question, it comes down to pitching and the Astros have a slight advantage, but probably not quite as big as some people may believe and part of that is Verlander pitching Games 1 and 5 at home, where his ERA is just a little bit higher than his road ERA, but a closer look shows that Verlander’s much better away from home. For the season, the Astros were just 8-11 in the games Verlander starter at home and allowed 4.21 runs per game. When Verlander started on the road, the Astros were 13-2 and allowed 1.92 runs per game.
Cleveland was 9-7 in Kluber’s road starts, which included a 5-4 win over Keuchel, while going the same 9-7 in Carrasco’s road starts. The Astros were 12-3 with Cole at home and 12-6 with Keuchel on the road, while the Tribe was 10-7 in Clevinger’s home starts, winning his last six starts in front of the home fans, while allowing 2.0 runs in that time span, compared to slightly more than 4 runs a game overall.
The teams have pretty much been 50-50 against one another over the past few seasons, so no real advantage in that regard.
Cleveland’s bullpen leaves a little to be desired, but they aren’t bad at the top end, even if Cody Allen throws in a dud now and then. The Indains converted more save opportunitities than the Astros and if the starters can pitch into the seventh, believe they can hold their own.
Going to take a stab on Cleveland +140 as a bit of a price play and hope Kluber can get the job done on the road.
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