clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2019 Series Preview #11: Houston Astros @ Los Angeles Angels

New, comments

The Astros (18-14, 1st in AL West) head south of the border for some authentic Mexican food and two against the Angels (15-17, t-3rd in AL West)

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Recency Bias

Astros

The Astros arrive in Mexico in need of some warmth after the north turned out to be a little less friendly than we were led to believe. The week started with a 2-2 series split with Cleveland in Houston but ended on a sour note with a 3-1 series loss to the Twins on the road. The main culprit in the series loss was inconsistent offense as the Astros’ bats would struggle to find the big hit in 3 of those 4 games, though the 11-run shutout was pretty fun to watch at least. Luckily, the Mariners have been floundering after cooling off from their hot start, which is keeping the Astros at the top of the AL West. But it would be nice to put together another winning streak and get some separation from the rest of the group.

Of Bats and Men

MLB: Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Correa has continued to stay hot at the plate this last week, mashing a homer and a couple of doubles while slashing a beefy .391/.423/.609. This is just a continuation of what has become a triumphant return from a back injury that made his 2018 performance less than ideal. Correa is now riding a 12-game hitting streak.

The only other regular to come close to Correa’s performance this week has been Michael Brantley, who has safely hit in 15 of his last 16 games. He is definitely fitting in nicely with his new team and has pretty much delivered as advertised since signing his shiny new contract. Springer has also continued to swing a hot back this week and continues to lead the team in RBI’s, which is a testament to the bottom half of the lineup when the player doing that is your leadoff man.

Kemp and Marisnick continue to deliver in part-time work while Chirinos has done his part in platoon duty with Stassi. Reddick has cooled off somewhat this week, though he does still hold an OBP over .300 in the last 7 games. Unfortunately, the offense was a little lackluster this week after that, including Bregman and Altuve, who both still seem to be off of their 2018 selves.

On the Pen

MLB: Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

This week would see a bit of a stumble as the Astros’ pen would give up a few more runs than usual, with 8 earned runs being logged in 21 innings of work. To be fair though, this is more innings than the pen usually works in a 7 day period. Will Harris would give up his first runs of the season during the series against Cleveland. Devo would also give up a couple in Minnesota to add to his disappointing 2019, but there have been flashes of his old self recently.

Of course I don’t have to tell you that Osuna and Pressly have both been money closing out games this week. Pressly is actually the only reliever to log a save in his appearances this week. Meanwhile Osuna, who will get a chance to pitch as a professional ball player in his native Mexico, did get in 3 innings of work across just two appearances, including a win thanks to the heroics of Tony Kemp against Cleveland.

Framber Valdez has also looked good since his return from a brief trip to the minors earlier in April. While he would surrender a run to Minnesota during 2.1 innings of work, it was the only run he’s given up in 5.1 innings of work across 3 appearances in the past two series.

Angels

As for the Angels, they arrive in Monterrey after handling the Blue Jays at home, sweeping them in a pretty convincing fashion. Before that was a series win over Kansas City, giving them a pretty solid 5-1 record on the week. Thanks to this run the Angels have been able to leapfrog the A’s in the standings and move into a virtual tie for 3rd place with the Rangers. While the offense has been clicking they’ve also been getting a fair amount of help from the pitching, which gave up just 3 runs or less in the 5 wins this week.

Of Bats and Men

MLB: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This week has seen Mike Trout and Cole Kalhoun serving the roles of big boppers in the Angels’ lineup. While such a thing is to be expected from the likes of Mr. Trout, Calhoun appears to be punching at slightly above his weight during his current hot streak. Even with those numbers, Calhoun is having just a fairly average campaign so far in 2019.

The other big bat currently swinging around the lineup is Brian Goodwin, who is having a surprisingly good season for someone who was picked up as an emergency Justin Upton replacement. He’s slashed .364/.440/.500 in the last two series alone, which is close to being on par with what he’s done so far in 29 games this season. After that rookie 2B Luis Rengifo and Andrelton Simmons have been the hottest of the recent hitters.

On the year, however, Tommy La Stella has been a fairly dangerous hitter so far this season, popping off with 7 home runs in 2019 and a .347 OBP, but a fairly underwhelming average. The Angels’ offense sits near the middle of the pack in the majority of offensive categories, not really standing out in too many places. However, they do excel at not striking out, leading the league with only 186 K’s in 32 games, 28 less than closest team, the Twins.

On the Pen

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The back end of the Angels bullpen was recently thrown in flux when offseason acquisition Cody Allen was pulled from the job before being sent to the IL. Since then the Angels have been running a closer-by-committee situation, with Hansel Robles seeming to be the more common choice to close out games. Ty Buttrey has seen work as a closer in recent days as well though, but his number might get called for the more high-leverage situations at other points of the game.

Luis García is also someone who sees a lot of work for the Angels, with 12.1 innings under his belt already. He owns a pretty good 2.92 ERA in that time, but does struggle with control as he has also allowed 11 walks. Noé Ramirez is also a big innings eater out of the pen, as is Justin Anderson, and both have had pretty good starts to the season.

The Angels bullpen started off the season as one of the best in the league before slowly falling back to about middle of the pack. It’s also one of the more worked pens in the league, just behind the opener-using Rays by 1.1 IP. They do very well in the strikeout department, however, currently holding a 10.19 K/9 rate as a group.

Pitching Match Ups

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1: Wade Miley, RHP (1-2, 3.24 ERA) vs. Trevor Cahill, RHP (1-2, 5.93 ERA)

Miley gets the call for the first game of the Mexico series and will look to continue what has been a fairly solid season for him so far. His last game would see him go up against Cleveland with 5.2 solid innings of 1-run ball. While not exactly a strikeout artist, Miley has been working the ground ball, inducing almost 50% of the balls put in play against him into the dirt.

Trevor Cahill, who defected from the A’s to Anaheim in the offseason, will head to the mound for the Angels after three pretty horrendous starts that have seen his ERA ballooning upward. Cahill has not gotten out of the fifth in that time and has surrendered at least four earned runs in each of the three games. This came after a decent enough start to the season including a couple of quality starts, but things seemed to have unraveled for him quickly. What’s worse is that his peripheral numbers show that he’s actually benefited somewhat from BABIP luck.

Game 2: Justin Verlander, RHP (4-1, 2.45 ERA) vs. Matt Harvey, RHP (1-2, 6.54 ERA)

Verlander comes into this game after two back-to-back stellar outings against the Twins. This adds to what is starting out as yet another Cy Young caliber season for the ageless Verlander, who has allowed more than one earned run in just two of his seven starts this season. He’s also keeping up a more-than-respectable 10.84 K/9 rate to go with a ridiculously low .170 BAA and 0.86 WHIP.

Meanwhile, the Angels counter with Matt Harvey, who found some redemption in Cincinnati after being traded from the Mets last season, but has yet to really take off in 2019. He did flash some of his old dominance against the Royals in his most recent start though, twirling 7 innings of 1-run ball. However, he has also already had three starts where he has failed to get out of the 5th inning, giving up 5, 6, and 8 runs in those games.

Fun Fact

After 36 games and 10 series, the Astros will play their first opponent with a record below .500 when they face the Angels.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Saturday, May 4th @ 6:10 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 850 AM / Angels - KLAA 830, KWKW 1330
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Angels - FS-W

Game 2: Sunday, May 5th @ 3:10 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 850 AM / Angels - KLAA 830, KWKW 1330
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Angels - FS-W / ESPN

Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Astros Sweep 2-0
    (58 votes)
  • 26%
    Series Split 1-1
    (22 votes)
  • 4%
    Angels Sweep 2-0
    (4 votes)
84 votes total Vote Now