Astros-Indians Preview

Sitting just outside the AL wild-card picture, the Cleveland

Indians are hoping to continue taking advantage of their favorable

remaining schedule.

The Indians go for a fourth straight win over the major

league-worst Houston Astros on Friday night.

Matt Carson delivered an RBI single with two outs in the 11th

inning of Thursday’s 2-1 win, Cleveland’s 10th walkoff victory. The

Indians (83-70) are one-half game behind Tampa Bay and Texas, who

are tied atop the wild-card standings, and six behind AL

Central-leading Detroit.

“We’ll take any win any way we can get it,” manager Terry

Francona said.

Cleveland has three more games against Houston (51-102) before

hosting the last-place Chicago White Sox for two and concluding the

season with four at fourth-place Minnesota.

The Astros have been outscored 32-10 while hitting .130 with

runners in scoring position during a six-game losing streak. They

went 1 for 8 in such situations Thursday.

“It’s one thing to get beat, but it’s another thing to beat

yourself,” said manager Bo Porter, whose team left a season-high 16

runners on base the previous night in a 6-5, 13-inning loss to


“We just squandered opportunity after opportunity with poor

at-bats and bad baserunning. It’s extremely frustrating because

this is basic baseball. We should have won these last two


Brett Wallace is mired in a 4-for-29 slump, and Jonathan Villar

is 1 for his last 14.

Houston, which has dropped three straight in the series by a

26-11 margin, will try to bounce back against Zach McAllister (8-9,

3.96 ERA). The right-hander had gone 0-2 with an 8.78 ERA in his

previous three starts before allowing one run in 6 2-3 innings in

Sunday’s 7-1 road win over the White Sox.

“I thought Zach’s stuff today was probably as good as we’ve

seen,” Francona said. “He had velocity with his fastball and some

power to it and he commanded it in and out very well.”

McAllister has never faced the Astros, who counter with rookie

Brett Oberholtzer (4-3, 2.98).

After allowing one run in 15 innings during his first two starts

this month, Oberholtzer gave up four in six innings Saturday in a

6-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.

“It didn’t look like he had that pinpoint command, that late

life that we had seen in a lot of his previous starts,” Porter

said. “His breaking ball didn’t have the kind of depth that we were

accustomed to, which is a credit to him to not have his good stuff

and still battle and be able to get through six innings.”

The left-hander surrendered home runs to Cleveland’s Carlos

Santana and Drew Stubbs in two innings of relief in his big league

debut April 21.

Oberholtzer also needs to be wary of Nick Swisher, who is 19 for

50 (.380) with five homers and 12 RBIs in his last 13 games.

Michael Bourn had hit safely in eight straight before going 0

for 5 on Thursday. The speedy outfielder, who spent three-plus

seasons with Houston from 2008-11, is 2 for 30 against his former

team since the start of last year.