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Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, April 17-19, 2015

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It's the Astros vs. the Angels, aka the Hank Conger series.

Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, April 17-19, 2015

The Astros renew their division rivalry with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of the United States of America of North America of western hemisphere of earth of the milky way galaxy. Trout and Pujols return to wreak havoc on the Astros and AL West in hopes of repeating as AL West Champions.

The Angels were one of the best hitting teams in the majors last season, they had nine players with an OPS+ over 100. Los Angeles filled some of their needs with young pitching, trading Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers for Andrew Heaney and traded Hank Conger to the Astros for Nick Tropeano (and catcher Carlos Perez).

Josh Hamilton's relapse this offseason will hang over the halos until he returns to the playing field and produces. The Angels were success without Hamilton on the field last season with injury, and they will be again.

Angels Key Additions and Departures

As previously mentioned, in return for young pitcher Andrew Heaney, the Angels sent long time second baseman Howie Kendrick. Kendrick had spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Angels, and appeared in at-least 140 games in four of the last five seasons. Gordon Beckham returned to the White Sox after the Angels traded for him at the deadline to fill in infield depth.

Heaney and Tropeano helped fill the void of one the most pitching depleted farm systems in baseball. For the major league club, the Angels added catcher Drew Butera, second baseman Josh Ruthledge, and outfielder Matt Joyce. Ruthledge is currently in Triple A. Joyce will fill in for Hamilton, as he tries to figure out left-handed pitching. He has a career average of .190 against southpaws.

Pitching

Game 1: RHP Roberto Hernandez (0-1, 1.93 ERA, 1.93 WHIP) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (0-2, 8.71, ERA, 1.84 WHIP) 
Game 2: LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 1.29 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (1-1, 3.95 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)
Game 3: RHP Scott Feldman (0-2, 6.17 ERA, 1.37) vs. TBA

Roberto Hernandez makes his second start for the Astros. Hernandez keep the Astros in the game in his opening start, allowing one earned run through 4.2 innings against the Rangers. This is only Hernandez's second start at Minute Maid Park in his 10-year career.  He has a 0-4 record with a 2.28 ERA in 13 career appearances against the Angels. Jered Weaver hopes to continue to amaze the masses by still being successful without a 90 mph fastball. Father time may have finally caught up with him, as he has given up 10 earned runs in his first 10.1 innings season.

Dallas Keuchel continues to be the ace of the Astros staff, after two starts he has allowed just two earned runs over 14 innings. C.J. Wilson looked like an ace in his first start he pitched eight scoreless innings against the Mariners. But he blew up in his most recent outing, giving up six earned runs in 5.2 inning to Kansas City.

Scott Feldman hopes to bounce back after seven runs to Oakland in his second start of the season. His opponent is unknown, but it appers the Angels will recall Garrett Richards for his first major league start since knee injury. Richards made a rehab start earlier this season in Triple A against the Astros' Triple A affiliate, the Fresno Grizzlies. He allowed seven hits and five runs in five innings.

Batting

Mike Trout is doing Mike Trout things to start the season, he is batting .438 (14-32) with 3 XBH, 4 RBI, 2 2B. Albert Pujols is batting .188 with 2 home runs. Looking at the Opening match, Trout is the only batter with a career average over .250 against Hernandez in their careers, the 2014 AL MVP is batting .375 with 2 home runs in eight at-bats.

Jake Marisnick continues to lead the way for the Astros offense from the bottom of the order batting .320 (8-25) this young season. Luis Valbuena and Jed Lowrie are fighting for team lead in home run with 2 and 3 respectively. Speaking of home runs, Evan Gattis broke out of his shell and hit is first jack as an Astro Wednesday. Looking at today's matchup, George Springer is 1-for-3 against Weaver with a home run. Jose Altuve is batting a surprise .188 in his career against the Angels ace.

Prediction

Astros sweep the series. Richards looked poor against the Astros Triple A team, and the other two starters this series aren't much better. Houston's offense will wake up, we'll get our first burninator and Springer Dinger of the season.