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Series Preview: Angels @ Astros (Hello Again)

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The Angels playing the Astros 10 times in their last 34 games of the season

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Angels 64-69
Astros 82-51

I’m going on on a limb to say you won’t see Shohei Ohtani at the plate much this weekend. He should start against Justin Verlander on Thursday but there is a lefty on the mound Friday and the very real possibility that he’ll be pitching on Sunday.

It seems like we just played the Astros - because we did. This won’t even be the last time the Angels play the Astros either as they make one more trip to Houston later in September. Goal for this coming weekend? To not get swept.

Know your foe:

Astros - who’s hot (last 7 days):

Alex Bregman .522 AVG, 1 home runs, 8 RBI, 1 stolen base
Marwin Gonzalez .417 OBP, 2 home runs, 8 RBI
George Springer .533 OBP, 4 walks
Tyler White .417 OBP, 2 home runs, 8 RBI

Weather Forecast

Chance of rain several days this weekend, but that doesn’t matter since Minute Maid Park has a retractable roof.

GAME 1

Andrew Heaney(L) (4.25 ERA) v. Justin Verlander(R) (2.72 ERA)
Thursday, August 30th @ 5:10PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Summary:

Andrew Heaney just faced the Astros at home last weekend and he may have lasted 6 innings, but gave up 5 runs and 2 homers in the process. Overall against Houston this year he has good numbers so let’s hope for a nice rebound as he will need it against Verlander.

Pitch Arsenal:

Justin Verlander has only allowed 5 total runs in 4 starts against the Angels this year. The good news is that 3 of those were in his start last weekend and included a 2 run Othani bomb. Verlander has definitely slowed down in August with a .275 BAA and 5.33 ERA. Ohtani is 3 for 10 with 2 doubles and a home run against Verlander.

Pitch Arsenal:

Verdict: Really depends on pitching and how well Verlander holds down the Angels. Heaney needs to keep them close on this one.


GAME 2

TBD v. Framber Valdez(L) (0.96 ERA)
Friday, August 31st @ 5:10PM

The state of the Angels pitching staff at this point in the season sure has made it hard to write up these series previews. As of this writing, Andrew Heaney for game 1 is the ONLY pitches the Angels have announced in the series. Given that rosters expand on Saturday, I’m guessing this game may be all bullpen.

Twenty-four year old rookie Valdez has just 9.1 big league innings of experience. Of course 5 of them are against the Angels whom he held to 2 hits and 1 run over 5 innings. In his only other start, he held the Mariners to just 2 hits and zero earned runs over 4.1 innings.

Pitch Arsenal:

Verdict: Bullpen game vs. hot young rookie? Let me see....


GAME 3

TBD v. TBD
Saturday, September 1st @ 4:10PM

Summary:

Well damn. Neither team has announced a pitcher for this one. Last time I tried to guess the Astros TBD starter I was wrong so let’s just see what happens. I’ll update this section if either teams posts their pitcher.

Verdict: Roll the dice!


GAME 4

TBD v. Gerrit Cole(R) (2.85 ERA)
Sunday, September 2nd @ 5:05PM

Pitcher vs. Batters

Summary:

Surprise! The Angels haven’t announced a pitched for this one either, but my money is on Shohei Ohtani. He threw a good simulated game on Monday and by all accounts seems ready to go. Sundays have been his day and this is a Sunday game. If Ohtani starts, this this will be his first time back to the mound since June 6th against the Royals. He faced the Astros in April and gave up 4 runs on 6 hits over 5.1 innings.

Gerrit Cole has faced the Angels twice this year, but surprisingly not since May 15th. He’s allowed 5 runs over 12 innings along with 15 Ks. While not as bad as Verlander’s August split, Cole has slipped a bit with a .248 BAA and 4.30 ERA this past month.

Pitch Arsenal:

Verdict: If Ohtani is indeed back, I’m going on a limb to say he will out duel Col.


Overall Verdict: Maybe the Angels win one or if things get really crazy they split. That’s about as high as we can hope on this one.

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