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Series Preview: Angels @ Astros (No More Hill)

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The Angels continue their road trip and journey to the now hill-less Minute Maid Park

MLB: Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

How do the Angels recover from losing 5 games in a row? It’s a great question, but rolling into Houston - a team they lost against A LOT in 2016 - will make it a challenge. The Angels were 6-13 against the Astros last year, including a stretch were they dropped 11 in a row in May through July.

Since the Angels offense started slumping a bit last week, they dropped from the AL team with the best Batting Average and Runs scored to 3rd best average (now behind the Astros and Red Sox) and 7th most runs scored at 50 for the season. The Astros have the second most stolen bases in 2017 with 10 and the Angels who tore up spring training base paths have just 4.

The Astros have won their last 4 game and now hold a 2.5 game lead over the Angels in the AL West.

NOTE: For some reason, the Astros have so much faith in Charlie Morton that they have him listed to pitch all 4 games. I think the Angels can take him in games 2-4 at least since he’s bound to be tired.

Question: Will we see the effects of the missing Tal’s Hill in Center field which made the fence go from 436’ to a more homerun friendly 409’?

GAME 1

Jesse Chavez v. Charlie Morton
Monday, April 17th @ 5:10PM

Chavez needs to rebound from his Rangers beatdown.

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats:

Summary:

Jesse Chavez had a really rough time on the mound against the Rangers last week and gave up 5 runs in less than 5 innings. Chavez hasn’t faced the Astros since 2015 and in his last start against them allowed just one run through 7 innings.

Aside from being able to start 4 straight days, Charlie Morton has a 4.09 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in his 2 starts so far this year. Morton came over from the Phillies and he only threw 17 innings for them in 2016 due to a hamstring injury that took him out in April. Morton is 1-0 in two career starts vs. the Angels although those starts were in 2008 and 2013 with vastly different lineups.

Verdict: I think the Angels are due for some offense. Take that Morton.


GAME 2

Ricky Nolasco v. Charlie Morton
Tuesday, April 18th @ 5:10PM

Morton take 2!

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats:

Summary:

Ricky Nolasco has given up 5 homeruns, 19 hits, and 10 runs through 16.2 innings. Nolasco faced the Astros in Houston last September when he got the win and threw 7 shutout innings.

Aside from being able to start 4 straight days, Charlie Morton has a 4.09 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in his 2 starts so far this year. Morton came over from the Phillies and he only threw 17 innings for them in 2016 due to a hamstring injury that took him out in April. Morton is 1-0 in two career starts vs. the Angels although those starts were in 2008 and 2013 with vastly different lineups.

Verdict: Morton should be tired. I’m going with Nolasco on this one.


GAME 3

JC Ramirez v. Charlie Morton
Wednesday, April 19th @ 5:10PM

More Morton!

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats:

Summary:

JC Ramirez will be making his second big league start. He hasn’t seen much of this current Astros roster, but Evan Gattis has 3 hits and 2 homeruns off him in 4 AB.

Aside from being able to start 4 straight days, Charlie Morton has a 4.09 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in his 2 starts so far this year. Morton came over from the Phillies and he only threw 17 innings for them in 2016 due to a hamstring injury that took him out in April. Morton is 1-0 in two career starts vs. the Angels although those starts were in 2008 and 2013 with vastly different lineups.

Verdict: I call this a toss up game even though Morton will be on day 3 of pitching. Ramirez needs to prove he can be valid starter this year.


GAME 4

Matt Shoemaker v. Charlie Morton
Thursday, April 20th @ 11:10AM

Super sized Morton x4

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats:

Summary:

Matt Shoemaker had his first good start of the year last time out. Shoemaker was 1-2 in 4 starts against the Astros in 2016. Those two losses came in games where we gave up only 2 and 3 runs and Shoemaker also had a no decision in a game last June when he pitched 6 shutout innings. In 28.1 innings last year, Shoemaker had just a 2.22 ERA against the Astros.

Aside from being able to start 4 straight days, Charlie Morton has a 4.09 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in his 2 starts so far this year. Morton came over from the Phillies and he only threw 17 innings for them in 2016 due to a hamstring injury that took him out in April. Morton is 1-0 in two career starts vs. the Angels although those starts were in 2008 and 2013 with vastly different lineups.

Verdict: Calling it now. Shoemaker for the win.

Overall Verdict: Honestly, I think a split is the best the Angels can hope for against a tough Astros team and a Charlie Morton with apparently a super human arm.