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Series Preview: Astros @ Angels (Rubber has hit the road)

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The AL juggernaut from Houston is rolling into town for 3 days

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

They certainly aren’t having as epic of a season as the Dodgers, but no other team is close to the Astros in the American League. At least until you get to August. The Astros are a really tough team that has beat the Angels 6 games to 4 this year, however they have have lost 4 of last 7 and are 8-14 in the month of August. If there is light at the end of the tunnel it’s that the Astros power may be waning slightly.

While the Angels are 4-6 against Houston this year, they have won 3 of the last 5, including taking the series in Houston back in June.

Starters in the 2nd half (who is who?):

ERA 4.10, WHIP 1.32, K/9 6.71, BB/9 2.88
ERA 4.70, WHIP 1.37, K/9 9.11, BB/9 3.32

Relievers in the 2nd half (who is who?):

ERA 4.15, WHIP 1.37, BAA .248, BS 5
ERA 3.60, WHIP 1.21, BAA .247, BS 4

Offense in the 2nd half (who is who?):

AVG .280, HR 51, K% 17.2, SB 26
AVG .249, HR 50, K% 16.8, SB 32

Question: Can the Angels win back to back series against the Astros this year?

GAME 1

Parker Bridwell v. Collin McHugh
Friday, August 25th @ 7:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Summary:

Parker Bridwell gets to try his mojo against perhaps the toughest offense in the AL. The Astros lead in runs, AVG, home runs, pretty much you name it. Bridwell, of course, has yet to face the Astros in his career so this will certainly be an opportunity for him to showcase his stuff and keep the good starts rolling.

Dead arm, elbow problems, and rehad. Collin McHugh had a rough road to get back to the mound this year - which he didn’t do until July 22nd. Since then, McHugh has a 4.01 ERA and is coming off 6 innings of shutout ball in his last start. McHugh hasn’t faced the Angels yet this year but was tough on them in 2016 with a 2.06 ERA over 4 starts.

Verdict: This could be a great pitching matchup with Bridwell who has been tough on everyone and McHugh who has been tough on the Angels. Could swing either way.


GAME 2

Tyler Skaggs v. Brad Peacock (probable)
Saturday, August 26th @ 6:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Summary:

Tyler Skaggs has a been decent in 2017, but gave up 5 runs (4 earned) in his last start against the Rangers. Prior to that, he hadn’t given up more than 3 runs in his other 3 starts since coming back from the DL. He hasn’t faced the Astros in a full start since 2014.

Brad Peacock is another guy who’s been tough on the Angels. In 74 ABs, the only HR he’s given up has been to Jefry Marte. Trout is hitting just .214, Calhoun .118, and Simmons .125. Peacock is also having a pretty good season despite being knocked around a few times recently. He started against the Angels back on June 9th and took a loss in that game after giving up 7 hits, 4 walks, and 4 runs over 3 innings.

Verdict: Another game with a difficult to predict outcome and hopefully some of the guys like Trout and Calhoun will come around against Peacock this time.


GAME 3

Ricky Nolasco v. Charlie Morton (probable)
Sunday, August 27th @ 12:37PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Notable Stats

Summary:

Ricky Nolasco against the hard hitting Astros lineup? Yep. He’s done surprisingly well against them this year and in 2 starts has only given up 4 runs over 13 innings. He’s coming off a pair of strong starts in which he’s given up just 2 runs agains the Nationals and 1 run against the Rangers.

First, Charlie Morton looks nothing like his picture on Baseball Reference:

Okay, so that’s the wrong one. But I did accidentally pull up THAT Charlie Morton when looking up his stats, but that dude wasn’t even a pitcher. The ACTUAL Charlie Morton who will be pitching this game is having a decent season that includes shutting out the Angels over 5 innings back in April. I say “decent” because he has given up 3-4 runs in half of his last 8 starts, but he rarely allows more than that.

Verdict: Nolasco has been difficult to predict and Morton has been pretty consistent. I think the Angels needs at least 5 runs to take home a victory in this game.


Overall Verdict: This series could really help define the Angels as they continue that wild card push. Dropping 3 out of 4 to to the Rangers will need to be following up by taking this series. The Angels spend much of their remaining season playing AL West teams so they will have to pull in some wins against these dudes at some point if they want to stay in the race.