Players and coaches will downplay it, but the importance of Los Angeles’s current 10-game road trip cannot be overstated.
The Angels trudge into Houston after being swept in Oakland over the weekend; three losses that drop them 4 ½ back in the AL West. They were simply outmatched by the most dominant pitching staff in the majors.
Cy Young award contender Sonny Gray outdueled Jered Weaver last Sunday, allowing three runs on seven hits through 6 2/3 innings. For their part, the Halos offense left Weaver out to dry, going 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position while leaving seven men on base. It’s a theme carried throughout the season and one that has the Angels 2-5 against the A’s and Mariners over the last week.
Luckily, Josh Hamilton-sidelined with a left thumb injury since April 8- returns just in time to help an offense with a .249/.309/.399 slash line over the last six games.
C.J. Wilson has won two of his last three decisions, compiling a 1.57 ERA along the way. Despite limiting Seattle to three runs over 7 2/3 innings last Wednesday he was no match for Felix Hernandez and his near shutout.
The left-hander is 6-3with a 2.78 ERA and two saves lifetime against Houston, yielded just one run through eight innings on April 7. Wilson’s success is magnified at Minute Maid park where he carries a 1.99 ERA and 3.15 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 40 2/3 innings.
Houston counters with 27-year-old Collin McHugh. The righty pitched well enough to win at Angel Stadium on May 21, scattering four hits over seven frames. Unfortunately, he went against Weaver and his first complete game in over two years. McHugh is coming off 3-0 win at Kansas City where he struck out nine through seven innings.
- Hamilton is hitting .358 with 16 home runs, 42 RBIs, and a 1.135 on-base percentage lifetime against Houston
- The Angels’ only winning record against an AL West opponent is against Houston (5-2).
- Mike Trout returns after upper back stiffness kept him out of weekend games in Oakland.
TV: 5:10 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West, CSN
Radio: KLAA 830, KMBE 790