The ALDS gets underway today with a matchup featuring the previous two AL world series representatives.
The Astros come into the 2018 postseason looking to repeat as World Series champions, while the Indians are looking to recapture the magic that had them leading 3-1 in the 2016 World Series.
The Astros will send their ace Justin Verlander to the mound. Verlander was acquired at the trade deadline last year and has done nothing but win ever since. The former Cy young winner finished this season 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. Couple that with the 290 K's he added and you can see just how dominant Verlander has been.
He has struggled against the Indians in the past however. In two separate starts last year, Verlander gave up seven or more runs and never made it to the fifth inning. In a roster that has the same core pieces as last season, thoses numbers don't bode well for the Astros.
The Indians will counter with 2017 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. Kluber, whose numbers dropped off ever so slightly, still put up a dominant season, tallying a 20-7 record with a 2.89 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP, and 222 K's. He has performed very well against the Astros this season giving up only two runs over the course of two starts, while striking out 17 in 13.1 innings.
Both lineups have tremendous depth featuring both past and potential award winners. The Astros may have the deeper lineup given that they have MVP candidate Alex Bregman to go along with names like Carlos Correa, 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve, and 2017 World Series MVP George Springer.
The Indians bring a lineup that's nothing to shake a stick at as well. The offence, centered around MVP candidate Jose Ramirez, features the big bats of Francisco Lindor, Edwin Encarnacion, and 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson.
The series could go either way given that both teams have huge lineups, to go along with a deep and talented pitching staff. You never know what you're gonna get out of this series and no outcome would surprise me.
The game begins at 2:05 EST at Minute Maid Park in Houston.