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Series Preview: Astros @ Angels (Rough ride)

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The Angels have a tough battle coming with some formidable pitchers

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Angels 24-16
Astros 26-16

I won’t kid you - this series is going to be a battle. However, the Angels DID take 2 out of 3 from the Astros in Houston last month, so anything is possible - right?

The Angels are coming off a series split against the Twins with a couple of close and difficult losses that could have turned this split into an Angels sweep. The offense only scored 9 runs over their past 3 games so they are going to have to start clicking for this series.

The Astros had a rough start to May and lost 5 of their first 6 games but have won 5 of their last 6 games since then. They absolutely destroyed the A’s on Monday with 16 runs and they scored a dozen over their past 2 games against the Rangers.

We should expect some good offense and some good pitching in this series. Let’s hope the Angels come out on the positive side of both.

Know your foe:

Astros - who’s hot (last 7 days):
George Springer .464 AVG, .545 OBP, 1 home run
Alex Bregman .385 OBP, 2 home runs

GAME 1

Andrew Heaney (4.78 ERA) v. Lance McCullers Jr. (3.72 ERA)
Monday, May 14th @ 7:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Summary:

Heaney has been throwing the ball well lately and over his last 3 starts has a 2.65 ERA with 16 Ks and zero home run allowed. He only needed 86 pitches to make it through 6 innings in Colorado. He last faced the Astros in 2015 and held them scoreless over 5 IP.

Pitch Arsenal:

McCullers hasn’t faced the Angels yet in 2018 but he’s been off to a hot start and a 5-1 record. Last year, McCullers threw 17 innings against the Angels and allowed only 2 runs. Ouch. Despite all that, he may be the “easier” foe the Angels face in this series if you look solely at 2018 stats.

Pitch Arsenal:

Verdict: While not an easy game, the opener of this series probably is the Angels best shot at a win before they face two very, very tough pitchers.


GAME 2

Jaime Barria (2.45 ERA) v. Gerrit Cole (1.43 ERA)
Tuesday, May 15th @ 7:07PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Summary:

Barria just continues to impress - doesn’t he? He’s a fascinating pitcher who doesn’t really have any super nasty stuff and doesn’t blow away hitters, but it works for him. Last week he dominated the Rockies and held them scoreless AT COORS for 5.1 innings while striking out 7. The hard hitting Astros will sure be a good test for him.

Pitch Arsenal:

Cole lost to the Angels back on April 23rd but he allowed only 2 runs over 7 innings and struck out 8. He has been pretty ridiculous this year with a 1.43 ERA and 0.741 WHIP. He has 86 Ks over 56 innings.

Pitch Arsenal:

Verdict: You’d be silly to think the Astros don’t have a huge edge here but we can dream I suppose.


GAME 3

Garrett Richards (4.08 ERA) v. Justin Verlander (1.21 ERA)
Wednesday, May 16th @ 6:40PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Summary:

Still waiting for that Richards no hitter but I’d settle for a dominant 7 or 8 inning performance. He’s been a bit all over this year but at least his walks are settling down with just 1 over his last 12 innings. Richards pitched well against the Astros last year, holding them to only 1 run over 2 starts and 11 innings.

Pitch Arsenal:


Verlander is just plain mean to the Angels. He allowed only 2 runs over 7 innings back in his victory on April 25th. Just look at some of these nasty stats against Angels hitter:
Calhoun: 2 for 25, 13 Ks
Kinsler: 4 for 32, 6 Ks
Trout: 2 for 23, 7 Ks
Valbuena: 3 for 33, 16 Ks

Pitch Arsenal:

Verdict: We should be worried about this one. Best we can hope for is Richards hangs with Verlander as long as possible but a win here would be one of those rate occurrences.


Overall Verdict: I’d be happy if the Angels can take 2 game but I’m just hoping them pull out of this series with at least 1 victory. It’s going to be a tough one.

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