The Houston Astros will face the Los Angeles angels three times this weekend.
I’ve never liked All-Star Week. I know there are people who love it, likely more than half of the people reading this preview. Even so, I never watch any of them in any sport. I don’t even watch the skills competition anymore. Maybe it’s an unpopular opinion. I know it’s “a chance to see the game’s best,” but we already have the Astros...
Houston entered their short summer vacation at 50-41, two games out of first in the American League West and winners of six of their last ten. Their final pre-break series would see them drop three-of-four against the Seattle Mariners. In the series finale this past Sunday, the Astros only managed one run (a Martin Maldonado (7) homer) on three hits. Brandon Bielak took the loss by allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk. He struck out five.
The Los Angeles angels enter the second half a game under .500 at 45-46, seven games back in the same race as Houston. Going into the break, they had won just one of their past 10. They’ve lost five straight, getting swept by the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers in their final pre-all-star break action. In their most recent contest, this past Saturday, they lost by a 10-5 final to the Dodgers. Shohei Ohtani collected three hits, including his 32nd home run of the season, while Mike Moustakas had a pair of hits. Reid Detmers (3-6, 4.31) took the loss by allowing seven earned runs in 3 1⁄3 innings on six hits (half of them homers) and a walk.
This season, Houston has won five-of-seven against the angels. They took two-of-three in Anaheim from between May 8 and May 10, then three-of-four in Houston between June 1 and June 4. In Houston’s final win against LA, on June 3, Mauricio Dubon and Chas McCormick each had a pair of hits, while McCormick (5) and Alex Bregman (8) each went deep. Cristian Javier (7-1, 2.84) earned the victory, allowing one run over six innings on six hits and a walk. He struck out five. The Astros won despite Shohei Ohtani collecting four hits and falling a home run short of the cycle.
All Time Head to Head
The Astros have played the angels 194 times in the regular season, going 117-77 for a .603 winning percentage. That’s their second best mark against another franchise. The two have never faced each other in the postseason.
Houston Astros: 50-41, .549, second in the AL West, two games behind the division-leading Texas Rangers. Tied for fourth in the AL, currently in possession of the second wildcard spot. Tied for 8th in MLB. On pace for 89-73. Last 10: WLWWWWLLWL. 70.0 percent chance of postseason play.
Los Angeles angels: 45-46, 495, fourth in the AL West, seven games behind the division leaders. Tied for 10th in the AL, five games behind the final wildcard spot. Tied for 18th in MLB. On pace for 80-82. Last 10: LLLLWLLLLL. 5.8 percent chance at the postseason.
Team leaders (Astros first)
AVG: Kyle Tucker .288, Shohei Ohtani .302
OBP: Kyle Tucker .365, Shohei Ohtani .387
SLG: Kyle Tucker .471, Shohei Ohtani .663
OPS: Kyle Tucker .836, Shohei Ohtani 1.050
HR: Yordan Alvarez 17, Shohei Ohtani 32
RBI: Kyle Tucker & Alex Bregman 56, Shohei Ohtani 71
BB: Alex Bregman 50, Shohei Ohtani 48
SB: Corey Julks & Kyle Tucker 15, Shohei Ohtani 11
ERA: Framber Valdez 2.51, Shohei Ohtani 3.32
WHIP: Framber Valdez 1.05, Shohei Ohtani 1.10
Strikeouts: Framber Valdez 116, Shohei Ohtani 132
Jose Urquidy threw a simulated game on July 9, and should begin a rehab assignment shortly. Yordan Alvarez, rehabbing a strained oblique, began taking batting practice last week. Jose Altuve is also sidelined with a strained oblique and is expected to return in late-July. Michael Brantley may play baseball again, possibly. Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia will both return next season.
Gametime & Starting Pitching
Friday, 8:38 PM CT — J.P. France (4-3, 3.26) vs. Shohei Ohtani (7-4, 3.32)
Saturday, 8:07 PM CT — Framber Valdez (7-6, 2.51) vs. Reid Detmers (2-6, 4.31)
Sunday, 6:10 PM CT — Cristian Javier (7-1, 4.34) vs. Tyler Anderson (4-2, 5.25)
Who’s hot (highest WPA vs. Mariners)
Martin Maldonado (.215)
Ryan Pressly (.158)
Framber Valdez (.117)
Bryan Abreu (.113)
Hector Neris (.104)
Who’s not (lowest WPA vs. Mariners)
Phil Maton (-.160)
Jeremy Peña (-.269)
Hunter Brown (-.283)
Jose Abreu (-.284)
Mauricio Dubon (-.301)
Franchise leaderboard check
18. Kevin Bass 3884
19. Alex Bregman 3873
50. Evan Gattis 1720
51. Kyle Tucker 1713
12. George Springer 567
13. Alex Bregman 562
36. Rusty Staub 297
37. Yordan Alvarez 288
42. Moises Alou 265
43. Kyle Tucker 258
50. Johnny Edwards 465
51. Kyle Tucker 464
36. Kyle Tucker 105
37. Adam Everett & Yordan Alvarez
24. Kevin Bass 87
25. Kyle Tucker 86
39. Bob Aspromonte 51
40. Martin Maldonado 50
34. Phil Garner 320
35. Kyle Tucker 312
22. Phil Garner & Kyle Tucker 68
44. Kazuo Matsui 40
45. Alex Bregman 39
43. Chris Carter 183
44. Tony Eusebio 182
45. Kyle Tucker 181
22. Lance McCullers Jr. 48
23. Framber Valdez 47
49. Luis Garcia 28
50. Chad Qualls & Cristian Javier 27
24. Dave Giusti 625
25. Framber Valdez 613
39. Ken Johnson 471
40. Cristian Javier 460
Houston has three shots at the angels. How many times will the Astros claim victory.
This poll is closed