Fun fact: This is the Angels 10th series of the year. They have won 3, split 1, and lost 6 of those.
Going into the weekend, the Astros are arguably one of the best teams in baseball. The have the second best record behind the Nationals at 19-10 (.655 PCT) and have a run differential lower than only the Yankees and Nationals. They have more comeback wins than the Angels, who are second best in late inning rallies. Might make for some exciting late inning baseball over the weekend.
Is this going to be a tough series? Magic 8-ball says “most likely”. Dallas “Cy Young” Keuchel appears to be back in fine form and the Halos get the pleasure of facing him in the series opener (they already lost this year to him and McCullers, who also pitches in this series). Charlie Morton will get getting a break from this series.
The Angels dropped 3 out of 4 to the Astros back in April and only scored 7 runs over those 4 games..
Question: Can the Angels offense be competitive in games 1 and 2 against really tough pitchers?
Jesse Chavez v. Dallas Keuchel
Friday, May 5th @ 7:07PM
Cy Keuchel on the bump for the Astros
Pitcher vs. Batters
Dallas Keuchel has been lights out this year with his 5-0 record in 6 starts. He also boasts a 1.21 ERA, 0.806 WHIP, and .164 BAA. He held the Angels to 1 run in 7 innings earlier this year. In 2016, Keuchel was 2-0 against the Halos in 2 starts and allowed only 2 runs in each of those games. You have to go back to May 9th, 2015 (5 consecutive starts) for the last time Keuchel allowed more than 2 ER against the Angels.
The biggest question regarding Jesse Chavez is which version will we get? He’s started 5 games this year and allowed only 1 run in 3 of them. However, in the other 2 he allowed 5 and 4 runs. Chavez faced the Astros last month and allowed only 1 earned run through 7 innings.
Verdict: Really tough game 1 against a really tough pitcher.
JC Ramirez v. Lance McCullers
Saturday, May 6th @ 6:07PM
McCullers is an Angel killer
Pitcher vs. Batters
23-year-old Lance McCullers owns the Angels and even Mike Trout is only 1 for 15 against him. McCullers held the Angels scoreless on only 3 hits through almost 7 full innings back on April 20th. Last year, in 2 starts, he held the Angels to two total runs in 13.2 innings with 16 Ks. McCullers has a ridiculous 1.79 ERA vs. the Angels in 45.1 innings. While he has owned the Angels, McCullers has had a pair of bad starts so far this year, allowed 5 runs to both the A’s and the Indians.
Has JC Ramirez solidified as a top starter on this team, or could he still turn into a pumpkin? In his last 3 starts, he’s allowed 3, 0, and 2 earned runs which isn’t so unreasonable that he can’t maintain those type of starts. Ramirez is a strikeout pitcher and the Astros are a strikeout team, so that should bode well for him. However, despite striking out 9 in 5.1 innings, the Astros handed him a loss back on April 19th and Ramirez gave up 3 ER in that game. The Angels haven’t given Ramirez any run support and haven’t scored more than 2 runs for him in games he’s started/
Verdict: Another edge to the Astros game with McCullers on the mound.
Matt Shoemaker v. Mike Fiers
Sunday, May 7th @ 12:37PM
Good news! No Keuchel or McCullers in this game.
Pitcher vs. Batters
Shoey has been quietly doing what Shoey does and he hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in any games except for a fluke back on April 9th in Seattle. Shoemaker has a 3.64 ERA outside of that start. Back on April 20th, he was on the unfortunate end of a pitching duel against Lance McCullers, and guess which pitcher got more run support? Shoemaker allowed just 2 runs in that game (both homers) but he threw 7 innings of 3 hit ball and struck out 7. You can go back 5 consecutive starts against the Astros and Shoemaker hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in any of those.
Mike Fiers has been beat up by Texas and Seattle this year which is a big part of why his ERA is 5.68 in early going. He faced the Angels 3 times last year, going 1-2 and he probably wants to forget about his May 2016 start when the Angels hammered him for 7 ER. Fiers time may be limited in the rotation since he’s starting due to a Collin McHugh being out.
Verdict: I’m going with the Cobbler on this one. He should have a stronger game.
Overall Verdict: Game 3 is probably the best shot at a win. Hopefully the Angels can at least avoid a sweep.