Posted April 19, 2013 on AP on Fox
The Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians have both gotten off to lackluster starts. So have the starters for Friday night's series opener. Lucas Harrell and former Astro Brett Myers each seek their first win of the season while helping their respective clubs snap lengthy losing streaks. After losing 213 games the past two seasons, Houston (4-11) was hardly expected to be competitive in its first AL season, and the Astros have already produced their second skid of five games or more after getting swept in Oakland this week. In Wednesday's finale, Houston's rally from a six-run deficit fell short in a 7-5 loss. "We have a resilient group and we will continue to battle to the end," manager Bo Porter said. "I don't believe in moral victories; you either win or lose. But at the same time I liked that we kept fighting." The Astros return home trying to avoid a sixth straight loss at Minute Maid Park. Harrell (0-2, 5.63 ERA) will hope to help snap that skid after bouncing back from a disastrous home outing against Oakland by holding the Angels to a run over 5 2-3 innings Saturday. Houston's bullpen, though, failed to hold a three-run lead in a 5-4 defeat. The Astros will also try to hand Myers (0-2, 8.82) another loss in his return to Houston. The right-hander started 66 games in 2010-11 before working as a reliever in 2012 and recording 19 saves in 21 tries. Myers was traded in July to the White Sox, who later declined to pick up his option. He signed a one-year, $7 million contract with Cleveland in January but hasn't fared well so far with his new team. Myers, though, had his best start of the season Sunday after getting tagged for seven runs in each of his first two games. He gave up two runs over six innings to the White Sox in a 3-1 defeat. "It's easy to tell somebody to have confidence," manager Terry Francona said. "But once you do it and you feel good about yourself, the idea then is to grow off of that and continue to do that. I'm sure it helped. It should. He threw the ball very well." Myers will try to build on that outing while helping the Indians (5-9) avoid a 10th loss in 13 games. Cleveland has been outscored 22-9 during its latest skid, which hit four with Thursday's 6-3 loss to Boston. The loss of leadoff hitter Michael Bourn has hardly helped. The former Astros outfielder, who was batting .333, was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a lacerated right finger suffered in Sunday's loss to the White Sox. Bourn's absence might help Harrell avenge a hard-luck 2-0 defeat to Cleveland on June 22. He had a career-high nine strikeouts while giving up one run and two hits over seven innings. The Astros bounced back to win the final two games in that series, the first meeting between the clubs in 11 years.
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