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Houston Astros (51-101) at Cleveland Indians (82-70), 6:05 pm (CT)

Dallas Keuchel and the Astros hope to play spoiler for the Indians in the tight Wild Card race.

Bob Levey

Houston At Cleveland, 6:10 p.m. (CT)

TV: CSN Houston, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Indians SBNation Blog: Let's Go Tribe

Pitching Match

LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-9/ 5.17 ERA / 1.55 WHIP) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9 / 3.49 ERA / 1.37 WHIP)


Depending on your non-Astro affiliations (if you have any), either the Astros helped the Reds keep a firm grasp on their Wild Slot or the Astros failed in helping the Nationals claw their way back into the race. In reality the Astros are attempting to finish the season strong with a few wins under their belt.

The boys from Buffalo Bayou (I've said Astros or Houston probably a thousand times this season, let try something different for a change) head to Cleveland to face the playoff-minded Indians. Lets take a look at the current standings

American League Wild Card Standings

Tampa Bay 83 68 .549 0 Won 1
Texas 82 69 .543 1 Lost 1
Cleveland 82 70 .539 1.5 Lost 1
Baltimore 81 70 .536 2 Won 3
Kansas City 80 72 .526 3.5 Won 1
New York 80 72 .526 3.5 Won 1
Los Angeles 74 78 .486 9.5 Won 1
Toronto 69 82 .456 14 Lost 1
Seattle 67 86 .437 17 Lost 1
Minnesota 65 86 .430 18 Won 1
Chicago 60 92 .394 23.5 Lost 1

(updated 9.19.2013 at 4:07 PM CDT)

As you can see, one series can make all the difference with so many teams bunched together. As much as I would enjoy seeing the Rangers choke their way out of the playoffs, I do not want come as a result of the Astros finding a lower level of self-destruction in Cleveland.

Indians' offense will oblige the Astros in their quest for a third straight with the number overall pick. They are led by Nick Swisher. The Ohio State product is batting .297 (11-27) in his last ten starts with three home runs and six runs batted in. Carlos Santana has been hot, he failed to extend his hitting streak to 13 games last night in Kansas City. Santana is batting .361 (13-35) over his last 10 games. Former-Astro Michael Bourn currently has his lowest batting average since 2007 in Houston, .262 (130-497). He is batting .333 (8-24) with three extra-base hits and four runs batted over his last six games.

Ubaldo Jimenez has been exactly what the doctor ordered for Cleveland in September, recording three quality starts and three wins. He has given up only one earned run over his last 21.1 innings, and has tacked on 22 strikeouts over those innings. Way back in April, Jimenez started against Houston on April 21, he gave up four runs over five innings. Jose Altuve collected a triple in that game. Marwin Gonzalez and Matt Pagnozzi are each 1-for-2 in their careers against Jimenez.

Dallas Keuchel has had rough September thus far, his ERA in the month is 11.00. He has given up 20 hits and 11 runs over his last two starts. In the lone shinning moment from his last start, he struck out nine Angels over 5.2 innings. Keuchel had not joined the rotation yet in April when the Astros first faced the Indians. He made one appearance in the series, the Indians scored seven runs over 2.2 innings when Keuchel was on the mound. Only three of the seven runs were earned, but the damage was done as the Indians won 19-6 that game.

Jason Kubel is 2-for-3 in his career against Keucel with two home runs. Carlos Santana's one hit off the Astros left-hander in five at-bats is a home run. Nick Swisher is 2-for-2 with a double, and Jason Kipnis is 3-for-7 in their careers against Keuchel.