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Cleveland Indians vs. Houston Astros: The rubber game

Can Trevor Bauer follow up the fine pitching performances of Kluber and Carrasco? And will the bats show up against an unheralded MLB debutant Astros' pitcher?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Indians @ Houston Astros

Thursday, April 6, 2015, 2:10 ET, Minute Maid Park


Radio: WTAM


After last night's Carlos, Carlos & Mike(?) show, we are all set for the rubber game between the Indians and Astros today.

Trevor Bauer is on the mound for the Tribe, facing an Astros line-up that (in typical fashion, given that they lead the AL in Ks in 2014) has struck out 20 times in the two games. Bauer is certainly capable of racking up a bunch of strikeouts of his own today, but there is also plenty of power on that Astros team. He will need to be right on his game to keep the ball in the park, which was his one notable weakness in spring training.

Bauer is paired against the Astros' very own version of Scrabble: RHP Asher Wojciechowski, a 26yo MLB debutant who was drafted in the 1st round by the Blue Jays in 2010, but was ranked as the Astros' No.28(!) prospect in the 2015 Baseball America Prospect Handbook. In other words, Wojciechowski is exactly the kind of unheralded pitcher against whom the Tribe frequently stuggles. But hey, at least he's right-handed!

Today's Lineups

Michael Bourn - CF Jose Altuve - 2B
Jose Ramirez - SS George Springer - RF
Jason Kipnis - 2B Luis Valbuena - 3B
Carlos Santana - 1B Evan Gattis - DH
Brandon Moss - RF Chris Carter - 1B
Yan Gomes - DH Jed Lowrie - SS
David Murphy - LF Colby Rasmus - CF
Lonnie Chisenhall - 3B Hank Conger - C
Roberto Perez - C Robbie Grossman - LF
Trevor Bauer - RHP Asher Wojciechowski - RHP

Just the one batting order change from yesterday's game (Perez is in for Aviles), albeit with some juggling around of fielding positions. As would be expected for a day game immediately following a night game, Roberto Perez is in for Yan Gomes as catcher, with the latter moving to the DH spot. Meanwhile, Aviles is replaced by Murphy in LF, which Murphy is arguably better suited to than his usual 2014 position of RF.

Incidentally, the Astros have closed the roof for this afternoon's game because of showers and wind gusts.

Also, the MILB season kicks off tonight with the following games:

Columbus at Indianapolis 7:05 (Bruce Chen is on the mound for the Clippers)
Binghamton at Akron 6:35 (with Will Roberts as SP)
Lynchburg at Potomac 7:05 (Dylan Baker gets the start for the Hillcats, who used to be the Carolina Mudcats, of course)

(Lake County begins its season tomorrow, with Dace Kime starting the opener.)

Enjoy the game...