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Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Indians, May 9-11, 2016

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Houston welcomes the Indians for three games.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros have been moving in the right direction. Slowly in the right direction, but still in the right direction. The Astros have won four of their last seven games, a positive record for the week -- for the first time this season.

The Astros now face the Cleveland indians, a darkhorse selection for the AL Central crown before the season. It is easy to see when you take into account the Indians starting pitching that included Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Carlos Carrasco. The Indians are still in the thick of things, five games behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central -- the Indians and the White Sox are the only two teams over .500 in the division at the moment.

The Astros will get the full force of the Indians rotation in this three game series with Kluber starting in game one and Salazar in game three. While throws out Mike Fiers, Chris Devenski, and Doug Fister. It should be interesting to say the least.

Starting pitching

Monday: RHP Mike Fiers (2-1, 5.35 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (2-3, 3.35 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)
Tuesday: RHP Chris Devenski (0-1, 1.46 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (2-0, 5.14 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)
Wednesday: RHP Doug Fister (3-3, 4.54 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) vs. RHP Danny Salazar (3-2, 1.91 ERA, 0.90 WHIP)

As previously mentioned the Astros will have their hands full with the Indians starters this series, including Trevor Bauer who shouldn't be overlooked.

Mike Fiers hasn't found his groove this season. Heading into his last start, Fiers had allowed four runs over his last 12 1/3 innings. Fiers then gave up four runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins. The long ball has been Fiers downfall thus far this season, he has given up eight over six starts this season.

Current Indians are batting .222 (4x18) against FIers with a .333 BABIP, 1.06 FIP, 31.6 K%, and 5.3 BB%.

Fiers faces 2014 Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber. Kluber had a slow start to the season, posting a 1-3 record with a 4.24 ERA in April. He rebounded in his first start of May, posting nine shutout innings against the Tigers on May 4.  Kluber is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA, 23 strikeouts, and two walks in his last 24 innings.

Current Astros are batting .196 (9x46) against Kluber with a .265 BABIP, 1.46 FIP, 25.5 K%, and a 2.1 BB%.

Chris Devenski has been exactly what the Astros needed in his two start thus far as a starter. He has allowed three runs over 11 innings pitched, he has kept the Astros in games.Trevor Bauer has replaced the injured Carlos Carrasco in the rotation, he has given up six runs on eight hits over 9 2/3 innings.

Doug Fister has been the Astros most consistent pitcher and allow just seven runs over his last 19 innings. Danny Salazar has been unworldly on the mound in May. He has allowed just two runs over 14 2/3 innings while striking out 17 and walking three.

Relief pitching

Indians closer Cody Allen is eight-for-eight in save chances this season. He has allowed eight runs over 12 1/3 innings -- all eight have come in non-save chances.

Luke Gregerson has also been sharp for the Astros minus a three-run home run to Robinson Cano in a tied game in the nineth on May 5. Gregerson has pitched 3 2/3 clean innings minus the home run in the month of May.

Lineup

Francisco Lindor has swung a hot bat to start May. He is batting .423 (11x26) with a seven runs scored, one home run, three RBIs, and two walks. He faces off with Carlos Correa for the first time since the Astros shortstop beat Lindor for the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year Award.

First baseman Mike Napoli is batting .333 (7x21) with two doubles and two home runs in the team's last six games. Michael Brantley is batting .389 (7x18) with a double and six RBIs.

Jose Altuve is making his case for another award this season to join his gold glove and silver slugger: MVP. Altuve is batting .400 (10x25) in his last seven games with three doubles, two home runs, and five RBIs. Carlos Correa is batting .360 (9x25) with two home runs and seven RBIs.

Prediction

I think the Astros only pull out one game against the strong pitching of the Indians.