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2022 Series Preview 4: Los Angeles Angels @ Houston Astros

The Astros (5-4, 2nd in AL West) open Minute Maid Park for the 2022 season with a three game set against the Angels (6-4, 1st in AL West)

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Narrative

The Angels started the season by dropping 3 out of 4 against the Astros last week with what looked like a fairly ineffective offense. But things have certainly turned after 5 games against the Marlins and Rangers have that saw them win 4 of their last 5 games and take the top spot in the AL West during the early goings.

Of course, being on top of the division at this point in the season doesn’t really mean a whole lot, especially considering the quality of their competition after losing to the Astros. Though the Marlins and Rangers are at least a little improved over last season, neither are expected to go very far in 2022. Still, beating the teams you’re supposed to beat is what good teams do, and the Astros can’t afford to overlook a lineup that features some of the more potent players in the league.


The Offense

Unfortunately for the Angels, that offensive potency has yet to manifest completely for Shohei Ohtani, who’s slash line of .227/.244/.477 is rather underwhelming for the media-appointed greatest player of our generation. His bat did begin to show signs of life during the Arlington series though, where he launched 3 homers and slapped 6 hits in his last 4 games.

Meanwhile, the early goings have been much better for Mike Trout (.267/.405/.567) and Jared Walsh (.355/.394/.548) who are expected to also be big parts of the Angels’ lineup this season. Which makes it rather unfortunate for Anaheim that Trout had to leave yesterday’s game after taking a pitch to the hand. X-Rays came back negative, but he is currently listed as day-to-day.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention old friend Superjack Mayfield, who’s .333/.368/.667 slasher is some early season gold for Anaheim. It’s hard to imagine him going hard like that all season, but it’s nice to see success for an ex-Astro who won the heart of a number of fans.


The Pitching

The Angels’ pitching has been decidedly mediocre when you stand back and look at the staff as a whole so far in 2022. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some good individual performances, especially at the back end of the bullpen. but as a unit they have returned a 4.45 ERA across 89 innings, which is 22nd in the league. However, their collective WHIP (1.19, 10th in MLB) and BAA (.216, t-9th in MLB) are much better in comparison, which suggests that some poor luck may be in play.

Though the Astros won’t see him this series, it’s fair to say that Noah Syndergaard (RHP, 2-0, 1.59 ERA, 5 K’s) has been all the Angels could have hoped for and more during his first couple of turns through the rotation. That has to be a bit of a relief to a fanbase that has watched a number of pitching retread projects fail in recent seasons for Anaheim.

As for the bullpen, look for Raisel Iglesias (RHP, 1-0, 2.25 ERA, 4.0 IP) to continue his closer duties, with 2 saves already under his belt this season. Aaron Loup (LHP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP) and Ryan Tepera (RHP, 4-0, 3.60 ERA, 5.0 IP) are Joe Maddon’s high leverage options so far this season, and have turned in some good work. Meanwhile, converted starter Jaime Barria (RHP, 0-0, 3.12 ERA, 8.2 IP) appears to be the longman out of the pen should the game get away from the starter early.


The Starters

Game 1: Michael Lorenzen (RHP, 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 7 K’s) vs Luis Garcia (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 K)

This will be Lorenzen’s second start of the season after an excellent 6 inning 1-run performance against the Marlins in his Angels debut. Lorenzen had previously played for the Reds, but hasn’t logged more than 33.2 innings in the last couple of seasons. He also hasn’t been a regular rotation piece since his debut 2015 season, with tonight’s game being just his 7th start since then.

Game 2: Patrick Sandoval (LHP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 K’s) vs Framber Valdez (LHP, 1-0, 0.93 ERA, 9 K’s)

A big part of how much success the Angels see this season may depend on Patrick Sandoval, who they are hoping can replicate his 2021 performance. He got off to a decent start this season with a 4-inning shutout performance against the Marlins that saw him strike out 6. He did issue three walks across 4 innings and gave up an unearned run during those frames, so a little shaky, but still good news for a rotation in desperate need of it.

Game 3: Shohei Ohtani (RHP, 0-2, 7.56 ERA, 14 K’s) vs Jake Odorizzi (RHP, 0-1, 6.48 ERA, 3 K’s)

Shohei Ohtani had a pretty rough outing against the Rangers his last time out, getting lit up for 6 runs across 3.2 innings and dropping his second game in a row. This came after a gutsy performance against the Astros where he punched out 9 but couldn’t quite escape the 5th inning. While his last time on the mound is probably more of a fluke than the beginning of a trend, I’m sure Angels fans will be holding their breath just a little on Wednesday.


For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Monday, April 18th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Angels - KLAA 830 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Angels - Bally Sports West

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Game 2: Tuesday, April 19th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Angels - KLAA 830 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Angels - Bally Sports West

Game 3: Wednesday, April 20th @ 5:40 pm CDT
Listen: Angels - KLAA 830 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Angels - Bally Sports West


Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Astros Sweep 3-0
    (8 votes)
  • 53%
    Astros Win 2-1
    (36 votes)
  • 28%
    Angels Win 2-1
    (19 votes)
  • 5%
    Angels Sweep 3-0
    (4 votes)
67 votes total Vote Now