Thursday, April 20 Angels @ Astros
Probables: Matt Shoemaker vs. Dallas Kuechel
In the final game of the series, Houston will send 2015 Cy Young Award Winner Dallas Kuechel to the mound. Coming into the season, many were questioning if Kuechel was a legitimate ace or if he had one standout year and would fall back in to mediocrity after an average 2016. However, he has shut those doubters up this season. He has pitched three games, seven innings in each one, and has allowed only two runs. While both of those came on solo home runs, Kuechel has been lights out this season. He has sent 15 batters down on strikes and walked five.
The Angels will need Mike Trout to step up in this game if they want a chance. He has a career .343 batting average against Kuechel with two solo big flies to go with six walks. Their matchups will be interesting to watch though, as Kuechel has struck out the two-time MVP six times.
The Angels will send out the 2016 Nick Adenhart Award (given to the team’s best pitcher) winner Matt Shoemaker. He has had a shaky start to 2017. He has thrown 14.2 innings over three starts. Shoemaker only gave up two runs in two of those starts, but was removed because of his pitch count. His second start of the season was a disaster, as he gave up seven runs (six earned) on five hits, two walks, and a home run. He has been giving up too many long balls- four in three starts- and will need to keep the ball in play and allow his elite defense to make plays if the Angels plan on winning this game.
However, Kuechel is a man on a mission this season, and the Angels offense could be in for a tough day.
Prediction: Astros 4 Angels 3