Cleveland Indians Vs. Houston Astros: Lineups, preview, and prediction (May 18, 2018)

Two division leaders clash in what could be a playoffs preview. Who will take game one?


(Photo credit: Erik Drost)

The Indians head to Houston at 21-21 after a 6-0 win in Detroit. Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer was in fine form Wednesday night as he threw eight scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts. He allowed just four hits and no walks as he dominated the Tigers lineup while the Indians hitters beat up on Ryan Carpenter. Michael Brantley hit a home run and had three hits in total as he powered the lineup, while Erik Gonzalez joined him in a multi-hit day.

The Astros come into this series at 28-17. Their last game was a brilliant 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels with Justin Verlander pitching a five-hit shutout. The former Cy Young and MVP was in fantastic form as he fanned seven and shut down a good lineup. Evan Gattis provided all the run support needed with a two-run shot in the second inning.

Mike Clevinger (RHP) Vs. Charlie Morton (RHP)

Clevinger has been pitching well in 2018. His 2.70 ERA and 1.07 WHIP are career-best marks, and while his strikeout rate is down, it has come with a big dip in his walk rate as well, balancing out the lack of K’s.

He is yet to have a serious blow up this season, and his performance in May has been strong, with three starts averaging 7.1 innings each and with 22 strikeouts and a 2.91 ERA. He has been a bright spot in Cleveland’s shaky start to the 2018 season.

If Clevinger’s start has been good, then Morton’s has been outstanding. Like his opponent he is posting a lot of career-best numbers so far. ERA (2.03), WHIP (0.97), K/9 (11.5), and H/9 (5.5) are all career bests, as seems to be the way with the entire Astros rotation right now. 

Morton’s last start was a seven-inning, one-run, 14 K, domination of the Texas Rangers. It was his third double-digit strikeout performance of the season, and his fifth start with one or fewer runs allowed. The only reason Morton is not getting more press is because his rotation mates are making even more remarkable starts to the year.

Projected lineups

Indians LineupHome RunsBatting AverageOn-Base Percentage
Lindor, SS12.314.389
Brantley, LF6.338.376
Ramirez, 3B13.296.387
Encarnacion, DH9.205.280
Alonso, 1B9.220.284
Kipnis, 2B1.174.260
Gomes, C5.255.333
Allen, CF0.192.192
Guyer, RF3.156.244
Astros LineupHome RunsBatting AverageOn-Base Percentage
Springer, CF8.287.351
Bregman, 3B3.259.378
Altuve, 2B2.309.364
Correa, SS7.281.372
McCann, C3.261.367
Gurriel, 1B1.263.297
Gattis, DH4.212.276
Reddick, RF6.228.336
Fisher, LF4.181.218

Who’s hot, and who’s not

Francisco Lindor has been a monster over the last two weeks. The shortstop has mashed 7 homers and hit .426 with 15 runs scored and 15 RBI. He isn’t the only bully at the plate though. Jose Ramirez has been mashing too. The third baseman has a .353 average over the last two weeks with six homers, 14 RBI, and four steals too. On the flip side, Jason Kipnis is hitting just .111, and both Brandon Guyer and Greg Allen are hitting .200 or below.

george Springer has been Houston’s best hitter of late. He has an average of .370 in the last two weeks and has two homers as well. Carlos Correa has been the power of the Houston lineup in the span, with three homers, but the shortstop has only hit .209, while Jose Altuve has been less than stellar as well.

Prediction

It’s a hot lineup against a hot pitcher. Morton has been mowing down hitters of late, but the way both Lindor and Ramirez are playing it will be very tough for him to get through the meat of the lineup three times. Clevinger has been strong enough that a some-what struggling Astros lineup could have trouble providing much run support. I’ll go with the Indians today in a semi-shocker, 6-3.



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Toby Durant

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Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.

 

I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.

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