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2020 Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels @ Houston Astros

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The Astros (15-13, 2nd in AL West) return to Minute Maid Park for a four game set against the Angels (9-20, 5th in AL West)

MLB: SEP 20 Angels at Astros Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Angels Quick Notes

The Angels touch down in Houston after an abysmal week of baseball where they went 2-5 and dropped their third straight series. The year as a whole has been rough for the team as they currently sit in fifth place in the division and don’t look to be rising quickly any time soon.

The Angels entered the season with some small hopes of possibly competing in a year with expanded playoffs. They had made a big move in the offseason to bring World Series champion third baseman Anthony Rendon into the fold and two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani looked ready to return to the mound for the halos. And, of course, there’s the ever-dangerous Mike Trout.

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out that way as Anthony Rendon struggled early out of the gate and Ohtani was shut down as a pitcher in 2020. Ohtani has mostly been a non-factor for the Angels on both sides of the plate this season, but he did have a big walk off homer the other day.

It’s fortunate for the Angels then that Anthony Rendon has really turned it on the last couple of weeks. After opening the season with a .103/.364/205 slash line in his first 12 games, Rendon is now boasting a .319/.451/.560 slasher and leads the team in batting average. He also has the most walks on the roster, with 20 in 91 at bats.

As I said earlier, Mike Trout is very much doing Mike Trout things as he leads the Angels with 10 home runs and 25 RBI. Trout has been mostly as advertised along with the added benefit of the “dad strength” meme after the birth of his first child. David Fletcher and Tommy La Stella have both been good but not outstanding so far this season with each sporting an OPS over .800.

But it’s not really the offense that has been hurting the Angels so much as the pitching in 2020. The pitching staff just recently snapped a skid where they gave up at least 6 runs in 8 consecutive games. The team only managed to win one game during that stretch.

It also hasn’t helped that the back end of the bullpen was roiled after Hansel Robles, who was tagged as the closer coming out of summer camp, had an absolute disaster of a start to 2020. Robles was demoted after giving up 9 earned runs in his first 3.2 innings of 2020.

Since then Maddon was mostly closing by committee in later innings. However, it seems as though Ty Buttrey has been elevated to most trusted, picking up all three of the Angels’ saves since Robles was ousted. Buttrey currently sports a 2.70 ERA in 13.1 IP so far.

Felix Pena is also near the top of the hierarchy for the Angels and seems to have the best stats of the relievers. Pena has pitched to a 1.84 ERA in 14.1 innings and has a 0.89 WHIP. Hoby Milner and Keynan Middleton are also candidates for higher leverage situations out of the pen.

That Astros will see just one pitcher this week who has an ERA below 5, and even then just so. Lefty Patrick Sandoval will be the first on the mound for the Angels, who struggled his last time out against the Giants. Sandoval gave up five runs in just over four innings and has surrendered at least one homer in each of his last four starts.

Suarez will start game 2 and is a newcomer to the rotation. He did not acquit himself well in his 2020 season debut. Suarez surrendered five runs in just 1.1 innings of work, but threw 48 pitches while doing it. He will probably have a limited pitch count in this game as well.

The third starter will be Andrew Heaney, who got off to a good start to the season before falling off in his last three games. Heaney posted a 2.35 ERA in his first three outings before turning in a 9.00 mark in his last three starts.

The final pitcher the Astros see this series will be Griffin Canning, who is also the only right handed starter. Canning is also the only starter with an ERA below five, but that’s not for lack of trying in the last few games to send it up. Canning has posted a 6.75 ERA across his last three starts and did not look great his last time out against the A’s.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Monday, August 24th @ 8:10 pm CDT
Listen: Angels - KLAA 830, KTMZ 1220 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM
Watch: Angels - FS-W / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / MLB Network (out-of-market only)

Game 2: Tuesday, August 25th @ 8:10 pm CDT
Listen: Angels - KLAA 830, KWKW 1330 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM
Watch: Angels - FS-W / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 3: Wednesday, August 26th @ 8:10 pm CDT
Listen: Angels - KLAA 830, KWKW 1330 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM
Watch: Angels - FS-W / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Game 4: Thursday, August 27th @ 2:10 pm CDT
Listen: Angels - KLAA 830 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM
Watch: Angels - FS-W / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / MLB Network (out-of-market only)

Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Astros Sweep 4-0
    (13 votes)
  • 59%
    Astros Win 3-1
    (39 votes)
  • 15%
    Series Tie 2-2
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    Angels Win 3-1
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Angels Sweep 4-0
    (2 votes)
66 votes total Vote Now