The Angels Head to Houston to face the Astros


It’s a shame the Angels can’t play the Detroit Tigers more often. I’m currently drafting a petition to have the Angels moved to the AL Central, so I’ll need everyone to get in on this one, especially with the Angels heading to Houston to play the juggernaut Astros.

So far this month, the Angels are 11-13, but have been on a bit of an upswing, winning nine of their last 14 contests. Yes I cherry-picked that number. No, I don’t care. This upswing is in a little bit of jeopardy though with the Angels heading to Houston. In 10 games against the ‘Stros this year, the Angels are 3-7. That record is utterly unacceptable when you consider that the Astros were picked to lose near 120 games this year. At this rate, if the Astros only played the Angels, they would be playoff bound.

Coming into the series, the Angels record of 36-43 has them 10 games out of first in the AL West, and 7.5 games out of the last Wild Card spot. There current record is also three games worse then their Pythagorean Record of 39-40. So, maybe a little bit of regression to the mean is in order for this club, and lumping up the Astros is a good place to start.

Game 1: Jerome Williams vs. Bud Norris

Jerome got hit around in his last start giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in six innings. He’s going to be in the rotation for at least a month and a half though with Jason Vargas shelf’d thanks to a blood clot.

Bud Norris hasn’t pitched like the Ace he’s supposed to be for the Astros, except, of course, when he’s facing the Angels. He’s 3-0 for his career against the Angels with a 0.43 ERA. I blame his chubby cheeks for hypnotizing Angels hitters.

Game 2: Joe Blanton vs. Jordan Lyles

Don’t look now, but Joe Blanton has been exactly what the Angels expected he would be over his last five or six starts. He’s been eating innings (along with half of the after game spread), allowing a few runs and being stingy with the walks. He should have gotten the win in his last start against the Pirates, but the Angels bullpen decided against it. Let’s put it this way; I’m more confident in a Joe Blanton start, than I am a Jered Weaver start. That should say enough.

Jordan Lyles is 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA over his past eight starts, but he got roughed up by the Cubs (The CUBS!) in his last start. He surrendered eight runs (five earned) and 10 hits in six innings.

Game 3: C.J. Wilson vs. Lucas Harrell

C.J. Wilson is the Anti-Joe Blanton. He gave up five runs in five innings during the Angels 14-8 shellacking of the Tigers. And he got the win. Pitcher wins are silly. His last three starts have been better than his season averages though (7-5, 3.88 ERA) as he is 3-0 with a 3.32 ERA during that span. He’s looking and smelling a lot more handsome, and lot less like dog poop lately.

Harrell, on the other hand, couldn’t get through four innings against the Cardinals in his last start. He got touched up for seven runs in three and a third innings and is 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA in his last three starts.

Mike Trout is currently hitting .363 this month, and Albert Pujols has looked a lot better of late, but the player to watch this series is Josh Hamilton. four of HamilK’s 10 home runs this season have come against Astors pitching, and with each series against the Colt 45’s, he has seen an uptick in production. He could use that again, and Angels fans could use another reason to hope that he is finally turning his season around.

With only 14 games remaining until the All Star Break, the Angels will have to go 11-3 to be above .500 at the break. They got the ball rolling with another dismantling of Detroit, but need to maintain that momentum against a team that they just can’t seem to figure out.