stats-recaps1
Major League Baseball
Preview
Houston at Cleveland
When: 6:10 PM ET, Thursday, April 27, 2017
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio

The Houston Astros intend to reach the playoffs and contend for the American League pennant this season and can make an early statement with a series win over the defending AL champs when they visit the Cleveland Indians for the rubber match of a three-game series on Thursday. The Astros are tied for the lead in the AL with 14 wins, but missed out on a chance for a series sweep when they fell 7-6 to the Indians on Wednesday.

Cleveland plans on challenging for the pennant again as well and feels good about its chances thanks to the successful return of left fielder Michael Brantley, who is off to a hot start after sitting out all but 11 games last season due to shoulder troubles. Brantley doesn't appear limited at all in 2017 and extended his hitting streak to 10 games with two hits and three RBIs in Wednesday's win. The Astros are trying to navigate through injuries to two of their best hitters as George Springer (hamstring) and Jose Altuve (shoulder) are both day-to-day. Houston could use Springer and Altuve on Thursday against Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, who opposes Mike Fiers.

TV:
6:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, ROOT (Houston), SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Mike Fiers (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Indians RH Corey Kluber (2-1, 4.28)

Fiers is searching for his first win and allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk over five innings at Tampa Bay on Friday without factoring in the decision. The 31-year-old was bailed out by the offense in his previous start as well, coming away without a decision despite yielding five runs in four innings at Seattle on April 12. Fiers, who has not allowed a hit to Brantley in three career at-bats, is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts against Cleveland.

Kluber got off to a rough start with a 6.38 ERA after his first three turns but got back to his Cy Young form at the Chicago White Sox on Friday. The Stetson product scattered three hits over nine scoreless innings and struck out nine for his fourth career shutout. Kluber is 4-3 with a 3.15 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 40 career innings against Houston.

WALK-OFFS

1. Indians LHP Andrew Miller has yet to allow a run in nine appearances.

2. Houston placed OF Teoscar Hernandez (leg) on the 10-day DL and recalled OF Tony Kemp on Wednesday.

3. Cleveland 2B Jason Kipnis recorded his first multi-hit effort of the season by going 2-for-4 on Wednesday.

PREDICTION: Indians 6, Astros 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Houston 14-7 L1 7-4 7-3 2-1 2-3 10-3 0-0
Cleveland 11-9 W1 3-5 8-4 0-0 7-5 4-1 0-3
Last Meeting
Houston Cleveland
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/26/17 HOU 6 CLE 7 .222 2 .744 .333 0 .883
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston N. Aoki .500 4 1.125
Cleveland J. Ramirez .429 3 1.214
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston E. Gattis 1 3 2
Cleveland M. Brantley 1 2 4
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 4.76 .264 15
Cleveland 3.50 .262 21
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston Y. Gurriel .344 22 .832
Cleveland J. Ramirez .320 24 .970
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston G. Springer 7 12 13
Cleveland F. Lindor 5 16 12
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 3.43 .266 195
Cleveland 4.12 .253 199