Tonight will be your night to join in on a live blog for the Houston Astros opening night against the Cleveland Indians. The same rules as always apply: Post as much as you want, argue as much as you want, but please do so in a polite way. This blog is a family post and after a weekend full of family. The hope is that you treat the members here better than you do your own family….
Preview: Opening Night
The 2014 AL Cy Young winner was not King Felix Hernandez of the M’s (though there are good arguments for it being him). It was not new Washington National gazillionaire Max Scherzer, late of the Tigers, or Yankee Phillip Hughes or Red Sox/A’s Jon Lester or Rays/Tiger David Price.
So big kudos to you if you said it was the Astros’ opening night opponent Indian Corey Kluber (18-9 with a 2.44 ERA in 2014) who sounds like he should be the next boy band Justin Bieber wannabe… but with talent.
The pitching matchup between Kluber and Dallas Keuchel, who sounds like a North Texas deli sandwich is one of the best matchups on paper tonight when you consider Keuchel (12-9 with a 2.93 ERA) was also an AL top 10 starter last season. In 2014 Keuchel did not face Cleveland, but Kluber had a late season win (7 IP, 1 run) against the Astros.
On the offensive side, the Indians were right around league average in runs scored (4.13/game), BA (.253), OBP (.317) and OPS (.706) in 2014. They are hoping the pickup of All-Star Brandon Moss from the A’s (25 HR/81 RBI/.772 OPS) will give them a more solid middle of the lineup – teaming up with 1B rock superstar Carlos Santana (27/85/.792) and LF Michael Brantley (20/97/.890). They are also hoping that they get bounce back years from ex-Astro Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis, who populate the top of the lineup more often than their .314 and .310 OBP would suggest they should.
We’ve talked the Astros to death. Offensively they are hoping that Luis Valbuena + Evan Gattis + Colby Rasmus + Jed Lowrie makes up for losing Dexter Fowler and a whole lot more. They want their 3.88 runs/game to get above league average. However, Kluber may not be the right guy to help them with that quest.
So join in tonight and hopefully you can make this a memorable opening night for the Astros and for this blog.