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Game No. 87 Preview: Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians

Astros look to rebound and take the third game of a four game series in Cleveland

Preston Tucker and Carlos Correa will play pivotal roles in tonight's game
Preston Tucker and Carlos Correa will play pivotal roles in tonight's game
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (49-37) at Cleveland Indians (39-44), Jul 8, 2015 6:10 PM CDT

TV: Roots Sports SW, MLB.TV

Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Indians SB Nation Blog: Let's Go Tribe

Pitching Matchup

RHP Dan Straily (0-0, 7.71 ERA, 1.93 WHIP) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (7-5, 3.88 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)

Preview

The Astros look to rebound from a difficult loss to Cory Kluber, and will have to go through their third straight fireballing Cleveland right hander to do it.  Trevor Bauer certainly brought his best stuff to the mound on April 9th in Houston the last time he faced the Astros, when he threw six no-innings and struck out a whopping eleven hitters.  In fact, the only Houston hit in that game was a solo home run in the ninth inning from Jed Lowrie, who has been injured and recovering on the DL for 12 weeks after a thumb injury and corrective surgery.

The Astros will clearly have plenty of motivation for revenge.

Certainly it is important to note that several hitters on the Astros 25 man roster tonight were not with the big league club at the start of the season for Bauer's last start versus the Astros, including Carlos Correa, Preston Tucker, Alex Presley, and Jon Singleton.  That bodes well for an improved offensive performance tonight.  Of course, only one Astros hitter tonight has EVER had a hit off of Trevor Bauer in 22 total at bats - and that would be Jose Altuve, who's collected one hit in five at bats against Bauer.  On the other side of the ball, David Murphy has seen limited success against Straily in 12 at bats, hitting .250 with one home run and two RBI.  Michael Brantley is 2-2 in his career against Straily, also.  Jason Kipnis, Michael Bourn, and Carlos Santana have combined to go 0-8 versus Straily so far in their careers, and no one else on the Cleveland roster has ever faced him.

Dan Straily met mixed reviews in his 2015 major league debut in Boston and will look to show his team, his coaches, the front office, and the fans that he belongs in the 5th spot in the starting rotation.  Bauer, meanwhile, started the season very strong but has since slowed some, going 3-4 in his last 7 games with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.

The key to tonight's game for the Astros will be patience.  They should look to see 4 or 5+ pitches per at bat if possible, and at the very least, hit the fastball hard when it shows in the zone.  Elevating Trevor Bauer's pitch count by posting consistently solid at bats throughout the game will allow the Houston hitters to break into the Cleveland bullpen sooner.  If Preston Tucker and Evan Gattis can continue their recent hot streak, and Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve can each rebound from 0-4 nights versus Cory Kluber, then it should be a fun game for Astros fans to watch.

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