Game No. 4: Los Angeles Angels (0-3) vs. Houston Astros (2-1)

By Jose Serrano

Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Scioscia’s hand may not be on the panic button just yet following the Seattle Mariners’ three-game sweep at Angels Stadium, but it’s inching closer with every loss. The Halos are one of three winless MLB clubs heading into the weekend and face a Houston Astros team that just won their season-opening series over the New York Yankees. Needless to say, this six-game road trip is crucial to the team’s success.

Pitching MatchupGarrett Richards (0-0) vs. Lucas Harrell (0-0)

Richard’s tenure with the Angels has been rocky, at best. He posted a 4.16 ERA through 47 games last year, but improved as the season progressed. After moving to the starting rotation in July, Richards went 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 13 starts.

The 25-year-old right-hander hasn’t fared well against the Astros in five meetings, allowing 10 runs in 15 innings. Houston hitters have a slash line of .323/.364/.452 in six games. Unfortunately for Richards and the Angels, Harrell hasn’t been an easy target.

After an impressive 2012 campaign, Harrell faltered last season going 5-12 with a 5.98 ERA in 22 starts. His three starts against the Angels went much better. He allowed three earned runs-all home runs-and posted a 1.53 ERA in three starts against the Halos.

Harrell is a groundball pitcher who is susceptible to giving up a lot of walks. The Angels didn’t take advantage last year hitting .239 in 67 at-bats against Houston’s pitcher. With a lineup fairly similar to the one Harrell face three times last year, the Angels will need to be patient in their plate appearances.

Walk offs:

  1. The Astros won last season’s series 10-9, but lost six of nine games in Houston.
  2. Angels pitchers hold an MLB-worst 8.33 ERA.
  3. Harrell led the American League in losses last year (17).

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