On Monday afternoon, the Houston Astros completed the sweep over the Cleveland Indians in a game that was, for the most part, much closer than the lopsided 11-3 score would suggest. Perhaps the final three innings of Game 3 (in which the Astros rallied for 9 runs) are more indicative of the tone of this ALDS series as a whole- while competitive at times, Houston was in the driver’s seat from start to finish.
Indians starter Mike Clevinger did his best to give his team a shot at staying alive for one more day, pitching 5 innings while allowing 1 earned run and striking out 9. But reliever Trevor Bauer, pitching for the third consecutive game, was unable to hold a slim 2-1 Indians lead.
Bauer imploded in the 7th inning, and when all was said and done, allowed 3 runs, 4 hits, and a walk in 1.1
The final four relievers didn’t fare much better- Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Brad Hand, and Adam Cimber combined to allow 4 walks and 6 hits in the final 2-plus frames as the game spiraled out of control for the AL Central winners.
Things went a little better for Houston in this game, to say the least. Starter Dallas Keuchel allowed 2 runs in 5 innings pitched, and the bullpen (anchored by a beautiful two innings from Colin McHugh) allowed only 1 garbage-time run in the final four frames. George Springer continued his monster postseason with a pair of home runs, and Marwin Gonzalez broke the game open in the 7th inning with a two-run go-ahead double off Bauer.
Overall, the Indians bats in this series went dead silent while their pitchers struggled to keep Houston’s bats in check for more than a few innings at a time. A few of the most telling stats from this three-game sweep:
- Houston had as many hits in Game 3 (13) as Cleveland did all series.
- George Springer had more home runs in this series (3) than Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, and Jose Ramirez had hits combined (2).
- The Indians as a team were held to a .189 batting average (17 for 90).
- Cleveland’s bullpen allowed 12 earned runs in three games. Houston’s bullpen allowed 1.
- Cleveland’s pitching staff finished the series with an ERA of 7.20 Houston’s staff registered a stingy 2.00 ERA.
Here’s another stat Cleveland fans probably don’t want to think about: Since Game 6 of the 1997 World Series, the Indians are 0-9 in playoff elimination games. Yikes.
Houston will now have some extra rest before the upcoming ALCS, where they will face the winner of a Boston-New York series that just feels destined for 5 games.
Whichever team does move on to face Houston is likely running into a buzzsaw- and a well-rested one at that. Houston has a corps of healthy starting pitchers and a bullpen that saw relatively minimal use against Cleveland. The defending champs have proven this week that they are the team to beat coming out of the AL, and a favorite to capture another World Series title.
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