MLB Game Preview - Houston at Cleveland
Thu Aug 1, 2019 7:10 PM EDT

MIN
4
MIA
5
F(12)
SF
2
PHI
10
F
NYM
4
CHW
0
F
MIL
3
OAK
5
F
TOR
11
BAL
2
F
TB
9
BOS
4
F
HOU
7
CLE
1
F
CHC
0
STL
8
F
CIN
1
ATL
4
F
SD
2
LAD
8
F
Indians pumped for new lineup against Astros
Thu Aug 1, 2019 1:17 PM

The Cleveland Indians are expected to feature a few new wrinkles in their lineup on Thursday as they host the rubber match of their three-game series against the Houston Astros.

Trade deadline acquisitions Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes likely will be in the lineup for the Indians, who answered a two-hit showing in the series opener with four homers -- including two by Roberto Perez -- in Wednesday's 10-4 victory.

"In Franmil Reyes and Yasiel Puig, we've acquired a pair of right-handed-hitting power bats we expect to impact our lineup immediately," Cleveland president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said.

The pair has combined to belt 49 homers this season, with Reyes' total of 27 from his time in San Diego eclipsing Carlos Santana's team-leading 23 with Cleveland.

Puig, who had 22 homers and 61 RBIs in 100 games with Cincinnati this season, is batting a robust .318 with 11 homers and 28 RBIs in his last 41 games.

Puig is expected to slot in the cleanup spot in place of Jason Kipnis, who joined Santana and Perez in launching a three-run homer in Wednesday's victory.

"It's going to be fun," Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said of the new acquisitions. "It's two power guys and two good hitters. I'm looking forward to the whole thing."

Keeping Cleveland's new-look lineup in check will be the responsibility of Houston right-hander Gerrit Cole (12-5, 2.94 ERA), who will take the mound on Thursday.

Cole won his third straight start and improved to 8-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last 12 contests on Saturday after allowing one run on four hits in seven innings of an 8-2 romp at St. Louis.

The 28-year-old fell to 1-1 in three career starts versus the Indians on April 25 despite permitting two runs on three hits while striking out 10 in seven innings of a 2-1 setback.

Cleveland right-hander Danny Salazar will make his season debut and first regular-season start since Sept. 27, 2017 when he takes the mound on Thursday.

Salazar, who will assume the departed Trevor Bauer's spot in the rotation, has posted a 2.60 ERA with 28 strikeouts against five walks in six rehab appearances. The 29-year-old is working his way back from arm trouble and shoulder surgery.

Jose Altuve is 3-for-11 with a homer and three RBIs against the 29-year-old Salazar, who sports a 1-0 mark with a 2.25 ERA in four career starts against the Astros.

Altuve is batting a 19-for-38 with four homers, eight RBIs and seven runs scored in his last 10 games.

Yuli Gurriel carries a career-best 18-game hitting streak into the series finale after ripping a three-run double on Wednesday.

Gurriel's blast down the third-base line gave Houston a 4-3 lead, but the club was unable to follow up its trade deadline acquisition of former Cy Young Award recipient Zack Greinke -- among other moves -- with a win against Cleveland.

"It was still a big day for us, just not on the field. We couldn't find a (way to) win," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

--Field Level Media

Team Record Comparison

Team Standings GB W-L Aw/Hm Stk L10
Houston            
Cleveland            

Scheduled Starting Pitchers

Gerrit Cole - (N/A)
Matchup
Season
vs. Opp Has not pitched vs. Cleveland
Danny Salazar - (N/A)
Matchup
Season
vs. Opp Has not pitched vs. Houston

Hot Batters (Last 10 team games)

Injury Report