LA Angels series preview: Halos need to take advantage of Astros matchup

Los Angeles Angels

Justin Upton, Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Get your trash cans, buzzers, and boos ready. The undefeated Astros (4-0) are coming to Anaheim for the first of two games against the Angels (3-1) beginning on Monday.

Houston is coming off an impressive four-game sweep of the A’s in their Opening Series. This is a matchup featuring two of the most high-powered offenses in the league. Through four games, the Astros lead the league in multiple offensive categories.

Astros MLB Offensive Ranks 2021:

  • Runs (35): 1st
  • Home Runs (8): 1st
  • Hits (47): 1st
  • Batting Average (.320): 1st
  • OPS (.962): 1st

The Angels offense isn’t too shabby either, ranking second in home runs (7), fifth in runs scored (24), and seventh in OPS (.794).

One of the best signs from the Angels to begin the season has been their ability to win close games. The three Angels wins were all decided by three runs or less.

Projected Pitching Matchups:

  • Game 1 (Monday @6:38pm PT): RHP L. Garcia vs LHP J. Quintana
  • Game 2 (Tuesday @1:07pm PT): RHP Z. Greinke (1-0) vs RHP D. Bundy (0-0)

The big matchup will come in the afternoon finale when staff aces Zack Greinke and Dylan Bundy face off.

Angels series preview: Astros pose another tough test.

I think the bats will be there more often than not this season for the Halos, but the key to most series will come with the pitching staff. The Angels arms fared well against a loaded White Sox offense, so they’ll need to do more of the same against their division rival.

Astros Projected Lineups (2021 Stats):

  • 2B-Jose Altuve (6-for-16) (.938 OPS)
  • 1B-Yuli Gurriel (7-for-15) (1.132 OPS)
  • 3B-Alex Bregman (6-for-12) (1.655 OPS)
  • DH-Yordan Alvarez (5-for-17) (.938 OPS)
  • SS-Carlos Correa (4-for-17) (.610 OPS)
  • RF-Kyle Tucker (3-for-17) (.553 OPS)
  • LF-Aledmys Diaz (3-for-5) (1.400 OPS)
  • CF-Myles Straw (2-for-14) (.437 OPS)
  • C-Martin Maldonado (1-for-13) (.938 OPS)

The Angels have had a losing record against AL West opponents in each of the last three seasons. That’s something needs to change if the Halos plan on contending in 2021, and it begins against Houston. They’re not projected as a division favorite, but I previously predicted the Halos can finish in first place with 90-plus wins. The Rangers and Mariners are both in rebuild modes, while the A’s Moneyball approach has proven to be beatable. The team to take down will be Houston.

This is an Astros squad currently in first place, and they’ve made four straight trips to the ALCS. In order to reach that level as a contender, the Halos need to take advantage of these matchups to show to take over as a the top dog in the division.

I’ve never been a believer in saying “it’s only April” when a team wins or losses games. I say this because at the end of every season, there’s playoff races come down to the final day.

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Sure in a grand scheme these two games might not show what either team truly is at the end of the season. But being able to sweep a division rival in two games is a lot better than going 0-for-2.