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Game 147 Preview: Houston Astros vs Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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Astros continue their spoiler tour in the American League West.

Harry How

Houston Astros (65-81) at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (91-55), 9:05 p.m. (CST)

TV: CSN Houston, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Angels SBNation BlogHalos Heaven

Pitching matchup

LHP Brett Oberholtzer (5-10, 4.38 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (11-9, 4.64 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)

Preview

The Angels have won 14 of their 16 games, to take a commanding lead in the race for the American League West pennant. Who did the Angels lose two game to you might ask? The Astros. Houston swept a short two-game series against Los Angeles at the start of September. The Astros have three straight series victories this month, all three series have been against possible playoff-bound teams in the West - Angels, Athletics, and Mariners. Not to mention the fact the Astros are 54-55 since May 11. This are moving in the right direction, but will the Astros be run over by the red-hot Angels?

Los Angeles, Anaheim, that team not called the Dodgers have closed the gap on the gigantic run differential the A's had over the entirety of baseball (at one point 50+ runs above any team), they only lead by eight runs at this point - 159 to 151. The Angels have hit their way to the top of the standing and now lead the AL West by a full ten games coming into tonight. The Halos currently have seven regular starters with OPS at or over .775 in the last 30 days -  Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Gordon Beckham, Erick Aybar, Chris Iannetta, and Howie Kendrick. Aybar and Kendrick are both batting over .320 during that same time frame - Kendrick is batting .556 (15-27, five XBHs) in the team's last six games. The Astros old foe, Albert Pujols, is batting .367 (11-30) with six extra-base hits in his last six games.

The biggest question surrounding the Angels that this point is their starting pitching. They can hit for sure, and they have reworked the bullpen on the fly this season - adding Huston Street to close. The starters took a blow when Garrett Richards was lost for the season a torn left patella tendon - Richards was pitching like an ace with a 13-4 record and 2.61 ERA. Matt Shoemaker has stepped up to fill the hole with a 13-3 record and 3.01 ERA as a starter. The questions still remains if a team without a strikeout ace can make through the playoff.

C.J. Wilson takes the ball tonight for the Halos in game one, he is coming off a solid quality start in Minnesota - giving up 3 over 6.1 on September 7. Wilson is hoping to reverse his poor fortune against the Astros, whom he has a 8.35 ERA against this season in 18.1 innings. That includes a start on September 2, were he gave up five runs over 3.1 innings on 71 pitches.

Chris Carter is batting .375 (9-24) with two home runs against Wilson. Dexter Fowler is 3-for-5 against the lefty this season.

Brett Oberholtzer takes the mound for the Astros today, he picked up a win and quality start against Oakland in his last outing. After seven straight starts without giving up more than three runs, Obe' has given up four-plus in two of his last four. In his one start against the Angels on July, Oberholtzer gave up five runs over 6.1 innings.

Mike Trout is 4-for-8 in his career against Oberholtzer, and Josh Hamilton (who is currently day-to-day with a shoulder ailment) is 2-for-8 with two extra-base hits.