The Los Angeles Angels have once again struggled against their AL West rivals — the Houston Astros — this season. In 10 meetings, the Halos are just 3-7 and have a minus-21 run differential. Astros pitching has completely silenced L.A.’s offense while being able to score at will against Angels pitching.
So as the Angels prepare for this mid-week three-game set, finding success goes beyond just the diamond. It’s going to take a complete mindset shift to get back on track against such a difficult opponent.
Coming off of a 1-8 road trip — including a sweep at the hands of the Astros — the hope is that returning to Angel Stadium provides some comfort, and in turn, some confidence as well.
The Astros will also be without their elite designated hitter, Yordan Alvarez. He was placed on the 10-day IL over the weekend, meaning he’ll miss the entire series. But Angels pitchers cannot relax, as the Astros lineup can still make life difficult for even the most elite of starters.
Game 1: Tuesday, July 12, 6:38 p.m. PT
The series opener sees a matchup between two high-level pitchers that have put up similar numbers all season long. For the Angels, it’s Noah Syndergaard, the prized free agent acquisition who has been extremely successful in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery.
He has a 3.84 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 70.1 innings pitched, and has been one of the most consistent arms in the Angels rotation. He pitched just once against the Astros this season, and allowed just two hits over a scoreless 5.1 innings.
For the Astros, it’s the reliable Luis Garcia taking the bump. His 3.81 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over 82.2 innings pitched show the type of impact he’s had within the Houston rotation. He allowed three runs on four hits in his lone start against the Angels over 5.2 innings.
Game 2: Wednesday, July 13, 6:38 p.m. PT
Dual All-Star Shohei Ohtani is back on the mound for the second game of the series. Since his last start against the Miami Marlins, Ohtani was named as an All-Star at the designated hitter position and as a pitcher. The numbers back up his case, as he has been truly remarkable on the mound this season.
Over 81.0 innings pitched, Ohtani has a 2.44 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP, striking out 111 batters compared to only 20 walks in that span. Not only has he been the Angels best pitcher, he’s been one of the best pitchers in the American League.
He’ll face off against Christian Javier, who has been excellent for the Astros this season, posting a 3.01 ERA and 0.99 WHIP over 74.2 innings. He has been slightly more susceptible to the home run ball than Ohtani, providing the Angels offense with a potential means for victory.
Game 3: Thursday, July 14, 5:07 p.m. PT
The Halos will close out the series with Reid Detmers on the mound, who has officially taken Chase Silseth’s place in the rotation. Silseth was optioned to Double-A Rocket City after another difficult outing on the road trip. Detmers, who has been in Triple-A Salt Lake, has now re-assumed his place in the regular rotation.
Detmers allowed two runs on three hits over 4.0 innings in his lone start against the Astros this season, but would like to get a little deeper into this game.
He’ll face off against Astros ace Framber Valdez. Valdez has been incredible this season, already pitching 109.0 innings and posting a 2.64 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. He’s not a prolific strikeout thrower — and even has some issues with walks — but forces bad contact with ease.
In 17.0 innings over three starts against the Angels, he has given up eight runs and 14 hits, but has struck out 22 batters.