Angels (44-44) @ Astros (55-32)
Playing the Astros before the All Star Break isn’t really the best path to staying above .500. These two teams have only met twice this year, so they will be seeing each other A LOT in the second half of the season. The Angels were swept in that mini series and were outscored 24-6. Ouch. 19 of those 24 runs were scored off Matt Harvey, Chris Stratton, and Trevor Cahill.
Know your foe:
Astros - who’s hot (last 7 days):
Meh. They have a roof if they need it, so whatever :)
(R) Felix Peña (4.73) v. (R) Justin Verlander (2.86 ERA)
Friday, July 5th @ 5:10PM
Noe Ramirez is “officially” the starter in this one but he’ll be “relieved” by Felix Pena who should throw the bulk of the innings in the game. Ramirez threw a scoreless inning against the Astros this year and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits over 7.2 innings last season. Pena hasn’t faced the Astros this year, but in 2018 he held them to 4 ER and 10 hits over 13 innings in two starts. Pena needs to put his rough June behind him where he had a 7.97 ERA and .306 BAA.
Justin Verlander has owned the Angels, but they did get to him for 4 runs in early May. Last year he held them to a mere .183 AVG over 6 starts while striking out 55. The 36 year Verlander is showing no signs of slowing down and his 2.86 ERA along with a 0.794 WHIP and 147 Ks in 119 innings puts him at the front of Cy Young talk yet again.
(L) Andrew Heaney (5.40) v. (R) Gerrit Cole (3.28 ERA)
Saturday, July 6th @ 4:15PM
Andrew Heaney hasn’t pitched since he lost his best friend, so he’ll be taking the mound with a very heavy heart. He had moderate success against the Astros in 2018 with a 4.03 ERA and .238 BAA. A pattern has emerged in Heaney’s starts with 5, 1, 5, 1, and 5 ER allowed over his last 5 starts. Guess that means it’s time for a great start? He’ll need it against Gerrit Cole.
When a guy has a 1.040 WHIO and 3.28 ERA and is NOT the best pitcher on the team, you know you have a good starting staff. Gerrit Cole hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in a game since May 22nd and had a 1.89 ERA in June. The Angels scored 10 runs in 24.2 innings against Cole in 2018.
(L) José Suarez (5.40 ERA) v. (R) José Urquidy (4.91 ERA)
Sunday, July 7th @ 11:10AM
José Suarez, of course, hasn’t faced the Astros in his short career. He’s yet to really have a stand out start after 5 games. His longest starts was 5.2 innings and he’s already walked 11 and served up 7 home runs over 25 innings.
The 24 year old José Urquidy made his Major League debut on July 2nd. He threw 3.2 innings in Colorado and gave up 2 runs on 6 hits. He is the Astros 29th ranked prospect and has a low to mid 90s fastball with a plus changeup. Home runs are tough against Urquidy - he’s only given up 20 in 297 minor league innings.
Overall Verdict: The best scenario here is really to hope for not getting swept going into the break. It’s going to be a tough series against a rough team in their house.
Current Standings (sorted by playoff odds)
(Pitch tracking data from baseballsavant.mlb.com)
(Splits from FanGraphs Splits Tool and Baseball Reference)
(Standings/odds from fivethirtyeight.com)