AL West Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, June 3-5, 2014

Bob Levey

The Astros and Angels limp into Houston to renew their division rivalry.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (30-26) at Houston Astros (24-34)

We interrupt your Singleton Day coverage with a preview of this week's series with the Angels. The other team from Los Angeles or Anaheim (depending on your level of understanding of how geography works) returns to Houston to face the Astros for a third time this season. The Halos are are 5-2 against the Astros this season, and 5-13 against the rest the rest of the American League West. Will the Astros recent roster moves change their fortunes, or will the Angels continue to feast?

At full strength...

Josh Hamilton has been out of the lineup since April 8 when he tore a ligament in his left thumb from sliding into first base. Before the injury, Hamilton was hitting .444 (12-27) with two home runs and six RBIs over eight games. This includes the second series of the season for the Astros where Hamilton was a one-man wrecking crew. He hit .642 (9-14) with two home runs, a double, four walks, and six RBIs in that four-game series. Joining Hamilton back in the lineup is Mike Trout, Trout had been out of the lineup for the past two games with back stiffness. He is batting .292 (7-24) with a home run and five runs batted against Houston this season.

The return of Hamilton couldn't come soon enough, David Freese, Raul Ibanez, and Howie Kendrick have attempted to fill in at the cleanup spot. As you might imagine from just reading those names, it hasn't gone well. Ibanez is batting .143 with .224 slugging percentage in the month of May. While Kendrick and Freese are batting .272 and .217 in the month of May respectfully.

Looking at the Angels' lineup this past week, Collin Cowgill has been holding his own - hitting .400 (6-15) with two extra-base hits and three RBIs in his last six games. Other young faces, C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun have hit well batting .333 with five extra-base hits and .294 with two extra-base hits. Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez have struggled, Pujols is batting .105 in his last 19 at-bat and Ibanez is batting .071 in his last 14.

Spri-ngleton has arrive...

George Springer and John Singleton.

That's all I need to say about the Astros preview, right? The future has arrived or at least the future that Ed Wade envisioned has arrived. As you probably already know, Jon Singleton has been called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He signed a control extension before a single plate appearance in the majors. But, let's not focus on that historic fact because signed pieces of paper don't hit the ball, players do. Singleton was hitting .267 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs in 54 with Triple-A Oklahoma City. The top first baseman prospect in baseball has excellent bat speed, can draw walks, and has above average power. He is willing to hit the ball to all fields.

The Orioles snuffed out the Astros' winning streak of the weekend and also appeared to snuff out the Astros offense. The Astros as an offense hit only .188 (23-122) in the series. George Springer has lead the way for the regulars over the last seven days, hitting .208 (5-24) with two home runs. Robbie Grossman stumbled out of the gate, but is batting .300 in his first 20 at-bats back from the farm. Dexter Fowler and Jonathan Villar have struggled of late, batting .136 (3-22) and .071 (1-14) each in the team's last seven days.

Pitching Matchups

RHP Collin McHugh (3-3, 2.80 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (6-4, 3.05 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)

C.J. Wilson is facing the Astros for the second time this season, in his first outing he went eight inning of one-run baseball with seven strikeouts. He was the tough-luck loser his his last outing on May 28 against Seattle, pitching 7.2 innings and giving up three runs as the Angels lost 3-1. Overall, Wilson as a record of 6-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 19 career appearances agaisnt Houston.

Astros Careers against Wilson

Doctor McHugh contiued to be fantasic, shutting out the Royals for seven innings in his most recent start. He faced the Angels on May 21, picking up the loss after givng up just two runs and four hits over seven innings. During that outing he served up a home run ball to Albert Pujols.

Angels Careers againt McHugh

  • Erick Aybar - 1-3
  • David Freese - 1-7
  • Howie Kendrick 1-3
  • Albert Pujols - 1-3, 1 HR

RHP Jarred Cosart (4-4, 4.18 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) vs. RHP Garrett Richards (4-2, 3.65 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)

Astros Careers against Richards

  • Jose Altuve - 4-11, 1 2B
  • Chris Carter - 6-13, 1 2B, 1 HR
  • Jason Castro - 2-10, 1 2B
  • Matt Dominguez - 4-10
  • Robbie Grossman - 4-7
  • George Springer - 1-3

Angels Careers against Cosart

  • Kole Calhoun - 1-2, 1 HR
  • Raul Ibanez - 0-5
  • Howie Kendrick - 1-3
  • Ian Stewart - 1-3, 1 3B

RHP Brad Peacock (1-4, 4.76 ERA, 1.59 WHIP) vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs (4-3, 4.14 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)

Astros Careers against Skaggs

  • Jose Altuve - 2-5
  • Chris Carter - 0-6
  • Jason Castro - 2-3
  • Matt Dominguez - 0-5
  • Jesus Guzman - 1-11, 1 HR
  • Jonathan Villar - 1-7

Angels Careers against Peacock

  • Hank Conger - 3-4, 1 2B, 1 HR
  • Josh Hamilton - 1-5
  • Raul Ibanez - 3-9, 1 2B
  • Albert Pujols 2-3, 2 2B
  • Mike Trout - 1-5


I suspect Jon Singleton will make impact on these games, but he won't single handedly win games. Both teams have struggle offensively coming into this series, and I like the Astros pitching more in the series. Astros win two of three.

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