Monday MLB ESPN Preview: LA Angels at Houston.
Updated at 4:30 PM ET.
The Los Angeles Angels travel to Houston to begin a three-game series against the Astros on ESPN at 8 PM ET.
The Angels have won two of their last three games after a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday. Jared Walsh socked a two-run double in the third inning, which proved to be the difference in the game. The victory raised Los Angeles’ record to 15-18, leaving them in fourth place in the American League West. They are 4 1/2 games behind Oakland for first place in the division.
After five straight losing seasons, new general manager Perry Minasian hopes he has assembled a roster that can earn the team their first postseason victory in the Mike Trout era. Their superstar centerfielder has a .376 batting average this season with eight home runs and 18 RBIs. Shohei Ohtani has .276 batting average with ten homers and 26 RBIs. Walsh has added six home runs and 27 RBIs to accompany his .325 batting average.
Manager Joe Maddon’s team is scoring 4.8 runs per game with a .259 batting average, a .310 on-base percentage, and an OPS of .734. Third basemen Anthony Rendon is on the disabled list with a knee injury.
Maddon has named Junior Guerra his starting pitcher tonight. The veteran right-hander is 2-1 with a 4.95 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in 12 appearances consisting of 20 innings this season. This will be his first start since 2018 when he was with the Brewers. The Angels’ bullpen has a 5.12 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP with seven saves and six blown saves.
Houston has won three of their last four games with their 7-4 victory against Toronto yesterday. Kyle Tucker clubbed a three-run homer as part of his four runs batted in. Jose Altuve also homered.
The Astros’ victory raised their record to 18-16. They are in second place in the AL West, a half-game behind the A’s. Dusty Baker led this team to within one game of the World Series in his first year managing the club. Houston has won the AL West title in three of the last four seasons. They lost outfielder George Springer to free agency in the offseason. Michael Brantley got signed to take his spot. The Astros also have Yordan Alvarez back on the field after the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year winner only played two games last year because of injuries and COVID.
Houston is averaging 5.1 runs per game this season with a .260 batting average, an on-base percentage of .318, and an OPS of .742. Alvarez leads the team with a .362 batting average along with six home runs and 21 RBIs. Tucker has six homers and 20 RBIs despite a .188 batting average. Alex Bregman is hitting .312 with five home runs and 18 RBIs.
Luis Garcia makes his fifth start of the season for the Astros. The 24-year-old right-hander has a 0-3 record with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in six appearances. The Houston bullpen has a 3.88 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP with eight saves and six blown saves.
Tonight’s showdown is the seventh meeting between these two AL West rivals this season. The Angels won the last battle, 4-2, in Houston on April 25th. The Astros have won four of the six games.
BookMaker lists Houston as a -170 money line favorite with the total set at 9.5.