They can hit Verlander
Historically, the Indians can do damage against Houston ace Justin Verlander.
In recent vintage, Verlander was 1-3 with 8.23 against the Indians during the 2017 season with most of Verlander’s starts coming when he as still a member of the Detroit Tigers.
His uniform change has helped him find the fountain of youth, as he’s a CY Young contender after going 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA with 290 strikeouts at the age of 35. He did not face the Indians this year.
With that said, the Indians still have some punch in their lineup, in the form of their two best offensive players, Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor.
The Indians didn’t face Verlander this season, but Ramirez hit Verlander particularly well in 2017, to a tune of a five hits in eight at bats. He was 2 for 7 against Verlander in 2016. It’s a .412 average in what’s a minuscule sample size as far as baseball’s concerned, but Ramirez has come a long way since then.
All-Star Francisco Lindor also had had his number, hits him particularly well. Franke is 8-of-22 (.364) against Verlander between 2016-2017, but was 5-of-10 against the Cy Young Award winner during his rookie campaign of 2016.
Michael Brantley‘s been solid against, him, and is 4-of-14 (.286) between 2016-2017.
With that said, the Indians do have some unknown cards to play against Houston’s ace, as Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson just didn’t see Verlander enough when they were with the Blue Jays and he was with the Tigers.
This could also be an opportune time for Yonder Alonso to bust out that launch angle logic from the left side of the plate.
Verlander is Houston’s ace. He’s scary, he’s good, but he’s no stranger to the Indians. They’re also going to throw some guy named Corey Kluber, so in a low scoring affair, it might only take a run or two to steal Game 1.