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Angels Ride Into Texas To Begin Final Week Of The Season

Naughton Looks To Impress In His Final Start of 2021

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

After a dismal homestand that saw the Angels go 2-8 between three different AL West opponents (A’s, Astros and Mariners), the Halos hit the road one last time this season, beginning against the Texas Rangers. With Sunday’s 5-1 loss to Seattle, the Angels cemented their sixth consecutive losing season, while also failing to support starter Shohei Ohtani in his search for win number 10 on the mound. It has been an uphill climb for Joe Maddon this season as injuries, mediocre play and slumps have overshadowed the potential of this team, but during this final week of the season, they have an opportunity to end on a high note and carry momentum into the offseason.

Pitching Matchup

The southpaw Packy Naughton gets the nod for the Halos for his seventh appearance (5th start) of the year. Entering today, Naughton is still searching for his first career win as he sits 0-3 with a 5.23 ERA and 12 strikeouts over 20.2 innings. After a stellar start against the San Diego Padres on September 7, the Boston, MA native has struggled in back-to-back starts (vs. White Sox and Astros), combining to allow eight earned runs on 10 hits and four walks over just 6.2 innings. In defense of the young lefty, each appearance he’s made this season has been against a top notch offensive team (Dodgers, Yankees, Padres x2, White Sox and Astros) who is either locked into the playoffs or on the cusp of clinching a berth. It will be interesting to see what he can do against a Rangers team who is one loss away from 100 this season.

The Texas Rangers will oppose Naughton with right-hander A.J. Alexy. Alexy, who was called up from Triple-A Round Rock on August 30, begins the night 2-1 with a 5.00 ERA in four appearances (3 starts). The Honey Brook, PA native shoved against the Angels in his second career MLB game on September 6 at the Big A by striking out seven over six scoreless innings and yielding just one hit (Single) to Jared Walsh in the second inning. Alexy is coming off two straight appearances of allowing four or more earned runs in less than four innings pitched (6 ER in 3.2 vs. HOU & 4 ER in 3.1 @ NYY).

Life On The Road

Coming into the final road trip of the season, the Angels currently sit 16th in Major League Baseball with a 34-40 (.459) road record. Playing away from Angel Stadium has put the Halos at a disadvantage on both the batting and pitching side of stats. There is never a single pinpoint reason why the road splits are not even or better than the home splits, but moving forward in the future, the gap needs to close if the Angels want to be in contention for the playoffs once again.

Batting Stats:

Home: 82 G | .253 Avg. | 681 H | 127 2B | 10 3B | 105 HR | 387 R | 243 BB | 704 K

Away: 74 G | .236 Avg. | 601 H | 129 2B | 11 3B | 80 HR | 308 R | 202 BB | 644 K

Pitching Stats:

Home: 40-42 | 4.46 ERA | 739 IP | 692 H | 366 ER | 104 HR | 319 BB | 748 K

Away: 34-40 | 5.00 ERA | 631.2 IP | 632 H | 351 ER | 81 HR | 253 BB | 657 K

Walsh On Texas Time

This season Jared Walsh has been the biggest thump in the Angels batting order against the Texas Rangers. In 11 games, the first baseman is slashing .415 (17-for-41)/.455 OBP/.561 SLG with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6 Runs Scored and 3 Doubles. The former 39th Round Pick in 2015 has recorded at least one hit in every game against the AL West rival this season, including five multi-hit games.

Angels News & Notes

  • Rotation for remainder of Texas series: Wednesday - RHP Janson Junk (0-1, 3.75 ERA) & Thursday - RHP Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.46 ERA)
  • Taylor Ward is with the team in Texas. There is uncertainty in his status, but could be there just as a part of the taxi squad