It's no secret that the Los Angeles Angels are built around two players. These two players are Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Trout has been the Angels franchise player for over a decade now, and is committed to the Angels through the 2030 season.
Ohtani is not only one of the best hitters in the sport but one of the best pitchers too. He's the best player in the game and it's not close. Both of these superstars are expected to show up in any situation. While that's unreasonable, both have continued to falter against a familiar opponent: the Houston Astros.
LA Angels superstars Trout and Ohtani continue to come up short against the Astros
The Houston Astros are in the midst of a dynasty. Their run of six straight postseason appearances includes six ALCS appearances, four AL Pennants, and two World Series titles. Yes, they cheated and should be stripped of one, but they've also won without the cheating.
To expect players like Trout and Ohtani to be better against a team as good as Houston than they are against awful teams like Oakland is obviously unreasonable, but time and time again these two superstars continue to play below their standards against Houston and that's a big reason why the Angels continue to fall short against the AL West juggernauts.
The Angels have played five games against the Astros and have lost four of them. Mike Trout has two hits in 19 at-bats against the Astros this season. Both of those hits were singles, and he has not driven in a single run against them. Yesterday Trout went hitless in four at-bats and in his two biggest at-bats of the night with runners in scoring position he struck out and grounded into a double play.
This inability to hit at Minute Maid Park is nothing new for Trout. He's slashed .206/.339/.433 in Houston in his career, and the 13 home runs he's hit there match the amount he's hit in Baltimore in more than double the games.
Shohei Ohtani has four hits in 21 at-bats against Houston this season. Three of those hits have been for extra bases, and he's driven in four, but four hits in 21 at-bats (.190 average) is not good enough.
Like Trout, Ohtani has struggled mightily against the Astros relative to his performance against other teams, particularly at Minute Maid Park. Ohtani has 11 home runs against the Astros in his career, fewer than the 12 he's hit against the White Sox despite playing in more than double the games. He's hitting .190 in his career in Houston with a .652 OPS.
Ohtani went hitless in five at-bats last night which included a strikeout and a flyout with runners in scoring position. This came after he allowed five runs in six innings and once again got outdueled by Framber Valdez. This raised his lifetime ERA against the Astros to 3.90 in 12 starts (far higher than his 3.02 career mark) and he now has a 4.89 ERA in seven starts at Minute Maid Park.
Ohtani and Trout are still the best of the best in all of baseball. It's definitely still frustrating to continue to watch them falter while others on the team actually show up. Taylor Ward had three hits last night. Brandon Drury had two. Every starter except for Chad Wallach (who was pinch hit for) and Zach Neto (who left the game after two plate appearances) tallied a hit while Trout and Ohtani went hitless in nine at-bats.
It'd be nice to watch the stars overpower Houston once in a while and guide the Angels to a win. They're certainly good enough.