The Halos did what they had to do in Chicago by taking two of three against the White Sox, but then faced the real tough test. Knowing how crucial this four-game series was for the Angels, they fell flat on their faces.
The Angels did squeak away with one win but lost three of four overall. They've now gone 2-5 against the defending champs this season as their struggles against quality competition continues. The Angels failures in these three key areas is why they failed to even secure a split against an Astros team that doesn't feel quite as formidible as other Houston teams from years past.
1) The LA Angels failed to come up with the clutch hit
In their four games against the Astros, the Angels managed to score just 12 runs. It's very hard to win games when you average three runs per game. To make matters worse, half of these runs came in one game. The cherry on top is the Angels lost that game.
They scored two runs in three of the four games, and a huge reason why is their lack of timely hitting.
In the opener, the Angels had 11 hits and drew four walks yet they only scored two runs in a game started by a Ronel Blanco, a pitcher making his first MLB start. They Angels had two hits in 12 at-bats with RISP and left 13 men stranded.
Friday night was the exact same story. The Angels had nine hits, drew three walks, and were hit by a pitch. They once again had two hits in 12 at-bats with RISP and left eight men stranded.
Even in the third game when the Angels did score six runs, they had two hits in ten at-bats with runners in scoring position. They had a chance to tie or take the lead late with a big hit or two and just couldn't come through.
In those three losses, the Angels had six hits in 34 at-bats with runners in scoring position. That's a .176 batting average. Unless you find a way to hit a whole bunch of solo or two-run homers (they didn't) it's very hard to win if you can't hit in the clutch.