LA Angels Series Preview: Angels @ Astros (4/23/18)

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 22: Mike Trout
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 22: Mike Trout /

The LA Angels are finally exiting what was an ugly home stand against the Red Sox and San Francois Giants. After going 1-5 the Angels will look to reverse their fortunes with a successful road trip. The first stop? A series against World Series Champs Houston Astros.

The LA Angels have the opportunity to jump ahead of the Houston Astros in the standings with a successful series against the defending World Series Champs. Except it won’t be an easy task at all, facing the Houston Astros on their own home turf.

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Probable Pitchers

Monday, 4/23; 5:10 PM PT: Tyler Skaggs (2-1, 3.98 ERA) vs Gerrit Cole (2-0, 0.96 ERA)

Tuesday, 4/24; 5:10 PM PT: Shohei Ohtani (2-1, 3.60) vs Charlie Morton (3-0, 0.72 ERA)

Wednesday, 4/25; 11:10PM PT: Nick Tropeano (2-1, 3.75 ERA) vs Justin Verlander (1-1 1.10 ERA)

What was one of the hottest starts to an Angels season has hit the skids big time. The Angels faced a brutal sweep at the hands of the Red Sox and a deflating series loss to the struggling San Francisco Giants. Fortunately the Angels had such a strong start that they’re standing head to head with the Astros in the standings. All that can change by the end of this series, but will it be in the Angels favor?

Charlie Morton is just as hot as Gerrit Cole, putting up a nearly invisible ERA throughout 25 innings of work so far. Three of his starts have gone scoreless, but if anyone is going to dismantle that it may very well be the Angels offense. Mike Trout leads the majors in homers and Shohei Ohtani has been creeping up the lineup all the way to his first cleanup spot this past Sunday against the SF Giants.

With Nick Tropeano starting the last game of the series against Justin Verlander things aren’t looking as strong as one would hope. Every Angels pitcher is coming off a struggled start, especially Shohei Ohtani and his 3 ER 2 IP performance against the Red Sox his last start out. Tyler Skaggs struggled just as much against the Red Sox, if not more, with 6 ER allowed in 4.1 IP. Improvements will be needed from both the pitching and offense for a successful series against a division rival.

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What to look for:

  • Mike Trout leads the majors in HR’s with 9 to start the season. It’s not out of the question to believe he can maintain this pace, if not heat up even more. In 2015 Trout hit 41 HR’s and it very well looks like he’s on that pace once again. Mike Trout holds 14 career HR’s against the Astros, keep an eye out for the long ball this series.
  • Keynan Middleton may not hold the closer job by title, but he does hold it by duty. Middleton has appeared in 11 games, finishing 8 of those, with 5 total saves and zero losses on the season so far. Easily one of the more underrated relievers in the Majors. Look for Middleton to shed his underrated status with effective outings against the Astros.

The Angels are going to need to get hot this series. The Angels will be rolling into Yankee territory after this, and that is absolutely the last team we need to see the Angels turn to dust in front of.