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Series Preview. Astros @ Angels, Labor Day Weekend, 2020.

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Fate has forced the Astros into a killer road trip. Are they up to the challenge?

Texas Rangers v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Astros begin a brutal West Coast road trip today, playing 12 games in 13 days, and seven in the next five. Five of the games on the road trip will be against first place AL West rival the A’s, and two more against the NL West leading Dodgers.

Tonight the trip kicks off against the last place LA Angels, record 13-25. There will be four games, with a doubleheader Saturday. With Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout in the lineup doing normal Rendon and Trout things this year, (both .900+ in OPS) the Angels offense is middle of the pack, rated 16th in wRC+. But with Tommy La Stella traded to the A’s, Brian Goodwin traded to the Reds, and David Fletcher injured, Rendon and Trout are basically a two-man offense.

Former slugger Justin Upton has continued the slide he started in 2019, hitting .159, OPS .542. Shohei Ohtani is hitting OPS .670, slightly ahead of the long-ago, once-great Albert Pujols, hitting OPS .653.

Angels pitching is even more suspect. rated 25th in MLB by ERA at 5.03.

The rotation is buttressed by two solid starters, Andrew Heaney and the ace, Dylan Bundy. The Astros will face Bundy in tonight’s game, record 4-2, 2.47 ERA. Peripherals support his results, FIP 3.14 and WHIP, 0.939.

Heaney pitched last night and will probably not see action in this four game series.

The Angels closer is Ty Buttrey, ERA 4.34 with four saves. The Angels’ other most reliable relievers are Felix Pena, ERA 1.86 and Jaime Barria, ERA 2.63. Overall the Angels bullpen is rated 19th in ERA at 4.75.

The Astros will send Lance McCullers up against Bundy in tonight’s game, 3-2, 5.06 ERA. Lance has flashed brilliance at times this year, but at others has shown inconsistency with command and with the effectiveness of his curveball as he recovers from last year’s Tommy John surgery.

Neither team has announced the starters for the first game of the Saturday doubleheader, but for the Angels Griffin Canning is expected to start in the second game. No Astro pitcher has been announced for Game 2 either. Officially, this is a make up game and the Astros are listed as the home team.

In seven starts Canning is 0-3, with a 4.04 ERA.

For the Astros Jose Urquidy is expected to return from the IL this weekend and may start in one of the games against the Angels. Alex Bregman is expected to return from IL at some point in this road trip. Jose Altuve hurt his knee last night and is listed as day-to-day.

The Angels have made no announcement for the starter in Sunday’s game, but the Astros have announced Framber Valdez as their starter. Valdez is 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA.

As an Astros fan hoping the Stros re-take their rightful place in first atop the AL West, I think it’s safe to say that the Astros need to take three out of four against the Angels heading into the five-game series with the A’s in Oakland.

Astros rankings:

Record: 21-15, 2 games behind the A’s in AL West.

Overall pitching: 9th, 4.09 ERA

Starters: 10th, 4.04 ERA

Bullpen: 18th, 4.16

Batting: 10th wRC+ 108.

Poll

Poll

Who will win this series?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Astros sweep
    (13 votes)
  • 59%
    Astros win 3-1
    (50 votes)
  • 16%
    Astros and Angels tie, 2-2
    (14 votes)
  • 3%
    Angels win 3-1
    (3 votes)
  • 4%
    Angels sweep
    (4 votes)
84 votes total Vote Now

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Friday 8:10 CDT

TV: ATT SportsNet-SW

Radio: KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM

Saturday 6:07 CDT

TV: ATT SportsNet-SW

Radio: KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM

Saturday Game 2

TV: ATT SportsNet-SW

Radio: KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM

Sunday 3:10 CDT

TV: ATT SportsNet-SW, TBS

Radio: KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM