Astros-Indians preview

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Sometimes you've just got to make it up as you go along, and that's exactly what the Houston Astros are doing.

"Day-to-day is a good description for us right now in September," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We've got guys here who didn't expect to be starting or even in the big leagues right now, so we're just trying to get through this series."

An injury to ace Dallas Keuchel has caused a shakeup in the Astros' starting rotation. Tuesday they recalled Brad Peacock from Triple-A Fresno so he could start Tuesday's game against the Indians. That start was supposed to go to Keuchel, but he was scratched and is out indefinitely with left shoulder inflammation.

Joe Musgrove was supposed to start Thursday's series finale in Cleveland, but David Paulino was also recalled from Fresno on Tuesday and he will make his major league debut Thursday. Musgrove's start has been pushed back to Friday.

Despite all the maneuvering, the Astros have pitched well in the first two games of the series, winning them both and outscoring Cleveland 10-5.

The Astros have won three in a row overall and will try to make it four in a row Wednesday when they send Doug Fister (12-10, 3.91) to the mound against Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco (10-7, 3.06).

Fister has struggled of late. In his last five starts he is 2-3 with a 6.23 ERA. In one start against the Indians this year he pitched seven innings and gave up two runs and six hits. In 15 career starts versus Cleveland he is 5-3 with a 2.72 ERA.

Carrasco has been pitching well lately. In his last three starts he is 2-1 with a 1.40 ERA, with 28 strikeouts and two walks in 19 innings. He has not faced the Astros this year. In five career appearances -- four starts -- against Houston he is 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA.

The Indians need a good start from Carrasco because their offense has been spinning its wheels in the first two games against the Astros. In the first inning Tuesday night the Indians had runners at second and third and no outs, with the middle of the order coming up, but failed to score.

"That was a big turn of events. We have runners at second and third and no outs and don't score, and then they come back with three (in the top of the second)," manager Terry Francona said.

Indians cleanup hitter Mike Napoli was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the game. Napoli leads the Indians in home runs with 30, but he has hit only one since Aug. 11. The Indians could use some more production from their cleanup hitter.

Francona, however, is familiar with Napoli's player profile and the manager is willing to wait for the big bang he knows is coming.

"He's getting his hits. He just isn't hitting them out of the park," Francona said. "His home runs tend to come in bunches. We know, with his swing, there are some strikeouts in there, but we're willing to wait for the good because we know it far outweighs the not so good."

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