Major League Baseball
Preview
Houston at Cleveland
When: 7:05 PM ET, Friday, August 22, 2014
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio

The Cleveland Indians look to rebound from a rare loss by ace Corey Kluber when they open a three-game series against the visiting Houston Astros on Friday. The Indians had won seven of nine before dropping Thursday's series finale in Minnesota to remain 4 1/2 games behind division rival Detroit for the second wild card in the American League. Zach Walters has been a nice addition for Cleveland, hitting four homers in nine games since he was acquired from Washington.

Like Cleveland, the Astros also were unable to complete a three-game sweep when they were blanked by the New York Yankees on Thursday to dip to 4-3 on their 10-game road trip. Houston had amassed 32 runs in its previous five games and has already won three more contests than last year's dismal 51-111 total. Chris Carter has swatted a major league-best 17 homers since the beginning of July but is in a rut with two hits and nine strikeouts in his last 18 at-bats.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, STO (Cleveland), CSN Houston

PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Brad Peacock (3-8, 5.47 ERA) vs. Indians RH Carlos Carrasco (5-4, 3.27)

Peacock has done little to justify his spot in the starting rotation over his past five outings, going 0-3 and failing to go more than five innings in that span. He is coming off a rocky performance at Boston, when he was roughed up for six runs (five earned) and a pair of homers in 4 1/3 innings. Peacock has struggled miserably away from home with a 1-5 record, 6.69 ERA and 11 homers surrendered in only 39 innings.

Carrasco has made the most of his opportunity since returning to the starting rotation, registering back-to-back victories and not allowing a run over 12 innings. He limited Baltimore to three hits over seven innings in his last turn after permitting only two hits over five innings in a win at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 10. Carrasco, who has made only one relief appearance against Houston, also did not walk a batter in his last two starts.

WALK-OFFS

1. Indians LF Michael Brantley is mired in a 2-for-22 slump over his past six games.

2. Astros CF Dexter Fowler is 10-for-25 during a six-game hitting streak.

3. Cleveland swept a four-game home series from the Astros last September, holding them to five runs.

PREDICTION: Indians 6, Astros 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Houston 54-74 L1 29-36 25-38 16-18 12-13 22-30 4-13
Cleveland 64-62 L1 37-24 27-38 17-13 25-26 12-13 10-10
Last Meeting
Houston Cleveland
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/22/13 HOU 2 CLE 9 .273 1 .739 .371 1 .996
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston N/A
Cleveland N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston M. Albers 0 0 0
Cleveland C. Allen 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 0.00 .000 0
Cleveland 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Houston J. Altuve .336 175 .814
Cleveland M. Brantley .314 149 .876
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Houston C. Carter 30 56 72
Cleveland C. Santana 21 54 59
Pitching ERA Avg K
Houston 4.38 .242 901
Cleveland 3.72 .254 1094