Mike Clevinger had a career day
(c) Associated Press
Astros fans became painfully aware of two things Saturday afternoon. One: A team that seems to be unstoppable offensively will indeed have bad days. Two: The defending A.L. champion Cleveland Indians are still a good baseball team.
Cleveland's Mike Clevinger shut down the high octane Houston offense, holding the Astros hitless into the seventh inning en route to a 3-0 win for the Tribe at Minute Maid Park. The Indians have proven to be kryptonite for the first-place Astros in the early going, winning four of five meetings between the two teams. The good news is, Sunday afternoon's contest will be the last time the Astros see the Tribe in the 2017 regular season.
Clevinger, making his third start of the season since filling the rotation spot of the injured Corey Kluber, turned in the best performance of his career. The second-year hurler pitched a career high seven innings, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out eight. Solid relief help from Andrew Miller and Cody Allen helped Clevinger earn his second win of the season.
Houston starter Mike Fiers, who has struggled to keep the ball in the yard this season, had an encouraging outing in the loss. Entering the game with a 5.75 ERA and having allowed a league-high 16 homers, Fiers allowed only two runs in six innings of work. One of those runs came on a long home run by Lonnie Chisenhall, but the other was aided by a passed ball and scored unearned.
With only three hits on the afternoon, the Astros have now managed only eight safeties in the last two games. The club experienced similar struggles at home in early April before going on an offensive tear that has lasted most of the year.
The 'Stros try to get back on track Sunday afternoon against Danny Salazar. The Cleveland right-hander has struggled so far this season but has a 1.47 ERA and has averaged over 13 strikeouts per nine innings in three career starts against the Astros. Joe Musgrove gets the start for Houston in a 1:10 CDT affair.
In other news, the Astros placed ace left-hander Dallas Keuchel on the 10-day disabled list prior to the game. Keuchel, dealing with a painful pinched nerve in his neck, hopes to miss only one start and be back on the mound at Minute Maid Park next weekend. Meanwhile, Brad Peacock will move from the bullpen into the starting rotation and lefty Ashur Tolliver has been called up from AAA Fresno to fill the open roster spot.
- Greg Thurston