Following a lackluster weekend series against the Oakland A’s that saw the Angels strike for only seven runs and 17 hits, the Halos get set to continue their final homestand of the 2021 season by welcoming the AL West leading Houston Astros to southern California. By falling victim to a sweep at the hands of the A’s, the Angels are now 24-39 (.381) in games within the AL West division this year. To make matters worse, the Angels are guaranteed to end the year under .500 against the Astros due to their current 5-10 record with only these four games remaining.
For manager Joe Maddon, he will send right-hander Jaime Barria to the hill for his 12th appearance (10th start) of the season. The 25-year-old Panamanian enters tonight 2-3 with a 4.93 ERA across 49.1 innings pitched. Barria has gone toe-to-toe against the Astros twice this season (August 14 & September 12), going 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA and seven strikeouts in seven innings. His latter start in Houston went for a no decision after he yielded just one earned run and four hits over four innings.
To Barria’s benefit, pitching at Angel Stadium has favored his split stats this season. At home, he’s tossed a sub-three ERA (2.88) in 25 innings with a BAA of .277, while on the road the ERA jumps to 7.03 in 24.1 innings and a BAA of .307.
Opposing Barria will be southpaw Framber Valdez. The 27-year-old Dominican Republic native brings a 10-5 record and 3.26 ERA to the table over 19 starts/116 innings pitched. In his lone start against the Angels on September 10, Valdez picked up the win even after allowing five runs (four earned) and six hits over five innings. On the road, Valdez is 5-4 with a 3.39 ERA in nine starts with opponents hitting just .229 over 58.1 innings.
The Anaheim native Jose Rojas has made a splash since returning from Triple-A Salt Lake on September 16. In four games, the utility player is batting .545 (6-for-11) with 1 HR and 4 RBI, with two runs coming yesterday in the ninth inning, tying the game at two apiece.
Home is always where the heart is and with Rojas, that theme stays true. The Vanguard alum is slashing .304/.368/.580 through 26 games at the Big A, while chipping in 4 HR, 12 RBI and 7 Doubles. In eight games against the Astros this season, Rojas has found success batting .296 (8-for-27) with five doubles and two runs scored.
Mayers Making Moves
The reliever out of Grove City, OH continues to put together a solid second-half of the 2021 season. Since the All-Star break, Mayers is 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 23 appearances (2 starts). The right-hander has kept opponents scoreless in six of his last eight outings, lowering his overall BAA to just .261.
Overall this season, Mayers is 5-5 with a 4.08 ERA and two saves in 66 appearances (2 starts). If you subtract his dismal stats from the month of May where he recorded two losses and an ERA above seven (7.71), Mayers would be 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA, which would have been a great follow-up to a 2020 campaign where he went 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 29 games.
Angels News & Notes
- RHP Austin Warren has been reinstated from the Injured-List (Covid-19) and RHP Cooper Criswell was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake in the corresponding move
- OF Justin Upton (Right Lumbar Strain) is out for the remainder of the season according to Joe Maddon
- Starting rotation for the remainder of the Houston Astros series: Tuesday - LHP Packy Naughton, Wednesday - RHP Janson Junk, Thursday - RHP Alex Cobb