Pregame Notes: Cleveland Indians look for first win of 2015 season at Houston Astros


After signing long-term extension, Carlos Carrasco makes his first start of season for the Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians squandered a masterful performance by reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber on Opening Day, as they played baseball’s lowest-scoring contest on Monday. 

And it doesn’t get any easier.

Offense could be absent again tonight as Cleveland trots Carlos Carrasco to the bump against Houston’s Scott Feldman. Carrasco, whose long-term extension was formally announced by the Indians on Tuesday, looks to build on the 1.72 ERA he posted after the All Star break in 2014. Feldman, too, finished last season on a tear, throwing 28.1 innings across four starts in September and posting a 1.91 ERA. While both pitchers own career ERAs of 4.30 or higher, they seemed to hit their stride at the end of last season and appear primed for a more consistent campaign this season.

The Indians need a win tonight in order to put themselves in position to take the first series of the season on Thursday before heading home to take on the Tigers beginning Friday.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

David Murphy makes his season debut with the right-handed pitcher on the mound. Only change from Monday night’s lineup is a swap in order between Yan Gomes and Brandon Moss.

No changes by manager A.J. Hinch for game two of the series.

—Update: 7:15 p.m. ET —

Michael Brantley has been scratched from the Tribe’s lineup with lower back stiffness.

Mike Aviles will take over for Brantley in left field for tonight’s game.

News & Notes: 

-The Indians will have their first opportunity to take on a right-handed pitcher after a 3-for-26 effort against lefties Dallas Keuchel and Tony Sipp on Monday. Cleveland ranked 10th in hitting against right-handers a year ago compared to an 18th-ranked offense against southpaws.

-Carrasco makes his first start of the season, just one day after the Tribe officially announced a four-year extension worth $22 million. Carrasco started last season in the rotation but was sent to the bullpen after posting a 6.95 ERA and going winless in his first four starts. Carrasco is 1-0 in two career stars vs. Houston with a 0.95 ERA. He threw a complete game, two-hit shutout against the Astros in September.

Thomas O’Banion at Climbing Tal’s Hill expects the Indians to be aggressive on the base paths tonight, as Feldman led all of baseball last season by allowing 35 stolen bases (nearly one per start). The Tribe had 104 steals last season, good for sixth in the AL, and had five players record 10 or more steals — Michael Brantley (23), Jason Kipnis (22), Mike Aviles (14), Michael Bourn (10) and Jose Ramirez (10).

Next: Indians vs. Astros series preview