Indians at Astros
Jason Kipnis started the season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and is just starting to find some rhythm at the plate as his Cleveland Indians visit the Houston Astros on Saturday for the second of a three-game set. Kipnis belted his third homer and knocked in his seventh run during a five-game hitting streak as the Indians defeated the Astros 5-3 on Friday in the series opener.
Kipnis has improved his batting average from .155 to .215 during his streak (9-for-22) and Cleveland got another positive sign Friday as struggling slugger Edwin Encarnacion launched his seventh homer of the season and second in three games. Mike Clevinger makes his third start in place of injured Corey Kluber for the Indians on Saturday and Houston will counter with fellow right-hander Mike Fiers, who is 2-0 in three career outings against Cleveland. The major league-best Astros (29-13) coughed up an early two-run lead Friday to see their four-game winning streak come to an end and lose for just the second time in the last 11 contests. Houston shortstop Carlos Correa continued his torrid month with a solo homer Friday, improving to 23-for-60 with 11 walks, four blasts and 16 RBIs in May.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland), ROOT (Houston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Mike Clevinger (1-1, 2.61 ERA) vs. Astros RH Mike Fiers (1-1, 5.75)
Clevinger struggled in his last start on May 13 after making a strong debut with 5 2/3 innings of one-hit ball against Kansas City in a victory six days earlier. The 26-year-old Citadel product, who retired one batter in relief Tuesday, gave up three runs on three hits and five walks over 4 1/3 innings to suffer the loss in his second start against Minnesota last Saturday. Yuli Gurriel and Jose Altuve each doubled in their lone at-bat against Clevinger, who allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings of a loss to Houston in 2016.
Fiers is unbeaten in the last six starts, but he has managed just one victory and completed six innings once during that stretch. The 31-year-old Floridian, who lost his only quality start in the season debut, permitted four runs on four hits - two of them homers to push his major league-leading total through Thursday to 16 allowed in seven outings. Jose Ramirez is 4-for-8 in his career against Fiers, who gave up two runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision versus the Indians on April 27.
1. Houston’s Brian McCann boasts 238 career homers as a catcher, one behind Roy Campanella for 10th on the major league’s all-time list at the position.
2. Cleveland OF Austin Jackson (toe) went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer in his first rehab game with Triple-A Columbus on Friday.
3. The Astros have won two more games than they ever have through the first 42 of the season, but they are just 1-3 against the Indians.