The Cleveland Indians try to avoid a two-game losing streak when they face the host Houston Astros in the second of a three-game series on Tuesday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET at Minute Maid Park.
Cleveland had a two-game winning streak snapped with a loss in the series opener, 4-3. The Indians are 47-44 and in second place in the AL Central, trailing the first-place Chicago White Sox by 8½ games.
The Astros snapped a two-game losing streak, improving to 57-38. Houston is in first place in the AL West, leading the second-place Oakland Athletics by 3½ games.
MLB odds have the Astros with a moneyline of -175, while the Indians are listed at +155. The over/under for this contest has been set at nine runs.
Making An Impact
Though Cleveland lost Monday’s series opener, designated hitter Franmil Reyes showed the impact he can make for the Indians’ offense. Reyes went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs to keep Cleveland in the game.
Despite playing in just 51 games due to injuries, Reyes is second on the team with 16 home runs while ranking third with 42 RBIs. He’s batting .271 with 10 doubles, two triples, and 28 runs scored.
Third baseman Jose Ramirez has struggled since the All-Star break, going 2-for-15 with three strikeouts in the four games since. Ramirez leads the Indians with 19 home runs, 52 RBIs, and 62 runs scored, batting .254 and adding 18 doubles.
Right-hander Triston McKenzie will get the start on Tuesday night. The 23-year-old is 1-3 with a 5.47 ERA in his second major league season, striking out 68 and walking 40 over 49⅓ innings of work.
McKenzie is coming off a career-high seven-inning stint against Kansas City on July 9. In that game, McKenzie held the Royals to no runs on one hit, striking out nine and walking one but taking a no-decision in a 2-1 Cleveland victory.
Getting a Boost
The Astros’ lineup is full of capable hitters, but getting Yordan Alvarez going would make the team even more dangerous. Alvarez snapped an 0-for-22 slump with a big two-run homer on Monday night, powering Houston to the series-opening win.
“We needed it, and that was the difference in the game,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said after Monday’s win. “It’s nice to see him swing the bat. Hopefully, tonight we found something.”
The 24-year-old is batting .287 with 17 doubles, a triple, 17 home runs, a team-high 58 RBIs, and 54 runs scored in his third major league season. When he gets going, he can be as explosive as any player on the Astros.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel is batting .312 to rank 11th in the majors, hitting 10 home runs and driving in 57 runs this season. Outfielder Michael Brantley went 2-for-4 on Monday and ranks second in baseball with a .329 batting average, adding 24 doubles, two triples, six home runs, and 32 RBIs to the Houston attack.
Right-hander Luis Garcia will be on the mound for Tuesday’s contest. The 24-year-old is 6-5 with a 3.06 ERA this season, striking out 97 and walking 29 in 85⅓ innings of work.
Garcia is coming off a no-decision in his last start, going five innings against Oakland on July 7 and allowing just one run on two hits, including a home run, while striking out seven and walking two. He took a loss in his previous outing, allowing four runs on three hits to Baltimore on June 30.
Astros Win Again
McKenzie showed something in his last start, but that was against the Royals, a much less potent lineup than Houston. The Astros should be able to get some runs on the board against the young pitcher, winning for the second straight game.
When doing your MLB picks, take Houston to get the win at home.