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Game No. 16 Preview: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels

Matinee game offers Astros the chance to become first MLB team with 11 wins in 2017

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (10-5) vs. Los Angeles Angels (7-9), April 20, 2017, 1:10 PM CDT

TV: ROOTSW

Radio: KBME 790 AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM

Online: MLB.TV

Angels SBNation Blog: Halos Heaven

Pitching Matchup

RHP Lance McCullers, Jr. (1-0, 4.67 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) vs. RHP Matt Shoemaker (0-0, 6.14 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)

Preview

The Angels send Matt Shoemaker to the mound for the final game of this 4-game series between division rivals. In four starts against the Astros last year, Shoemaker had an ERA of only 2.22. The lineup has been revamped for 2017 though, so hopefully this Astros offense can give him more trouble.

Shoemaker hasn’t made it through 6 innings in any of his three starts in 2017, though he limited the damage to only 2 runs in two of his three outings (he gave up 6 ER over 4.1 IP against Seattle in his worst outing of 2017).

Lance McCullers, Jr. will start for the Astros and try to put his last outing behind him. After giving up 1 run over 6 innings and 3 runs over 7 innings in his first two starts of 2017, Batman couldn’t make it out of the 5th inning on Saturday in Oakland. The A’s tagged him for 5 runs on 8 hits including 2 HRs and he was pulled with only 1 out in the 5th.

Of course, that was the magically weird game that the Astros came back to win after being no-hit for the first 6 innings, and as they say, all is well that ends well.

What to Watch For

  • Carlos Correa returns to the lineup after being hit by a pitch in the hand in the aforementioned game on Saturday in Oakland. Correa sat out of the first three games of the series and would have sat out of the final game in Oakland on Sunday if it had actually happened (game was postponed due to rain).
  • After Yuli Gurriel hit his first HR of the season on Tuesday night, Josh Reddick hit his first HR of the season (and first as an Astro) on Wednesday as he finished a single shy of the cycle. That means the list of position players still looking for their first 2017 long ball is down to four: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Evan Gattis, and Carlos Beltran. All four players are in the lineup today.
  • The last time McCullers faced the Angels was on 7/22/16, a game in which he struck out Mike Trout swinging 3 times. Let’s see if he can continue to fool the two-time MVP.

Go ‘Stros!!