The LA Angels have been in a battle with the Minnesota Twins for the second Wild Card spot since the All-Star break. The next three days will all but decide whether or not the Angels can make a serious run at the Wild Card.
The LA Angels were able to tighten the Twins’ lead on the AL WC spot to just one game on Sunday thanks to a comeback win over the Mariners and a Twins loss. While it is nice to be so close to taking control of their destiny, the Angels have a tough task ahead.
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The Halos will be facing the American League best Houston Astros in a three game series starting on Tuesday. The three days will be some of the most impactful, as the Twins will be playing the 65-79 San Diego Padres in a three game set starting Monday.
The Astros, 86-57, have slowed a bit since their midseason peak. However, they are still 6-4 in their last ten games and one of the best contenders in the MLB. They will also have favorable pitching matchups throughout the series.
Newly acquired Justin Verlander will be making the start in the opener. He will be going up against Garrett Richards who will be making his second start since returning from a lengthy stint on the disabled list. Both pitchers gave up one run in their last starts. However, Verlander did six innings of work while Richards was pulled after 52 pitches, his scheduled workload.
If the Halos are able to win the series, or even sweep the division rivals, they will be in good position for the homestretch WC race. That could be sweetened even more if the Twins falter against the Padres. While that seems unlikely, the Padres have been a much better team as of late and are 6-5 on the month. They are also coming off a series win against the scorching hot Arizona Diamondbacks, showing they are not going down easy this season.
The Angels have shown that teams and fans cannot count them out in any game or series. However, if the Angels cannot keep pace against the Astros, it will be an uphill battle to make the playoffs.