Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels vs. Houston Astros

By Saxon Baird

The Houston Astros are 6 losses away from a 100+ loss season. It was, for the most part, expected. Despite the looming triple digit number in the loss column, the Astros have given the Angels a run for their money this season. If anything, the losing record against the worst team in baseball is a perfect example of how the Angels season has gone: terrible. On the other hand, maybe its just preparation for the beginning of a beautiful division rivalry.

The Angels are currently 7 and 9 this season against the Astros with their final three games against Houston starting tonight. The elementary math means the Angels need a sweep to win the season series. Can they do it? Small victories is what we’re looking for now, people.

Sep 8, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jason Vargas throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers during the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the match-ups:

Game One: Jason Vargas vs. Dallas Keuchel

Vargas is actually coming off a decent start in a losing effort against the Texas Rangers. The left-hander went six innings and struck out 8, giving up only 2 runs. He’s been mostly hit and miss since returning from a lengthy disable list stint in early August. He’ll try and tame a Houston Astros club that has scored 8 runs on him in just 11 innings this year.

Game Two: Jered Weaver vs. Brett Oberholtzer

Much like Vargas, Angels ace Jered Weaver has also had his share of highs and lows since coming back fromt he disabled list in June. Weaver has given up 9 home runs in his last 8 starts but he’s also held opponents to 3 or less runs in six of those starts. This will be the first time Weaver has faced the Astros this season.

On the Astros side Brett Oberholtzer will get the start. The 24 year-old left-hander has been a bright spot in the Astros rotation since being added to it in July 31st. Oberholtzer is currently sporting a slick 2.65 ERA and walked just 7 in 54 1/3 innings. Oberholtzer faced the Angels in Anaheim in August and gave up 3 runs in 6 innings in a winning effort.

Game Three: Jerome Williams vs. Paul Clemens

The final game this Sunday afternoon between the Astros and Los Angeles Angels will be a battle of the high-ERA starters. The second-half struggles that have plagued Jerome Williams have continued into September where the he’s giving up 15 hits and 8 runs in just 11 1/3 innings logged. Meanwhile the Astros will send out Paul Clemens for only his third career start ever. Clemens spent part of the year in the Astros bullpen but has since been moved to the rotation. After holding the Chicago White Sox in his first career start to just one run in six innings, Clemens lasted only 3 2/3rd against the Minnesota Twins where he allowed 7 hits and 4 runs.