The Los Angeles Angels have notoriously struggled with the Houston Astros since the team joined the AL West and became perennial World Series contenders. Having a chance to inch closer to .500, the Angels knew they would need some of their best baseball to hold their own.
Sadly, they were unable to do so, falling flat in three consecutive games and receiving a three-game sweep to begin a long road trip. The first two meetings of this series were old-fashioned blowouts, and while the Angels managed to keep it close in the finale, late pitching doomed their fate.
But it was the offense that stifled themselves over the holiday weekend. The Angels set an MLB record with 48 strikeouts in a three-game series without extra innings. They mustered just eight hits and four runs, losing 21-4 on aggregate.
Mike Trout deeply struggled as well, going 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts over three games.
As the Angels take the Fourth of July off to reflect on this performance and prepare for the Miami Marlins, we’ll break down each game from a disappointing Houston set.
Game 1:Angels lose 8-1
Losing Pitcher: Michael Lorenzen
The Angels actually struck first in this three-gamer. Shohei Ohtani blasted a near-400 foot home run in the top of the first inning off of Christian Javier. But Javier would get his revenge on the Halos, striking out 14 batters over seven innings of work.
Meanwhile, Halos starter Michael Lorenzen would immensely struggle. After a scoreless first inning, he allowed two home runs in the second and a whopping six runs in the third. After three innings and seven earned runs allowed, he would be removed from the game.
Neither team would score the rest of the way, and the Angels would go on to drop the opener.
Game 2:Angels lose 9-1
Losing Pitcher: Patrick Sandoval
Patrick Sandoval would have one of his most frustrating performances of the season, allowing five runs in his first two innings of work. Between these two frames, only one run came via the homer, meaning it was long rallies that hurt Sandoval.
The Halos’ lone run came via a third-inning home run from Taylor Ward. Astros starter Jose Urquidy pitched a gem, allowing one run and striking out eight batters over six innings. The Angels fell 9-1 and would have one more bite at the apple to get a win.
Game 3:Angels lose 4-2
Losing Pitcher: Ryan Tepera
A Luis Rengifo home run and a third-inning rally with an Ohtani RBI gave the Angels an early 2-0 lead in this series finale. Jose Suarez was strong through the first three innings of the game, but a Jeremy Peña home run and a rally in the following inning tied the game at two before Suarez was removed.
Each team’s bullpen was lockdown the rest of the way, until the bottom of the ninth. With the Astros at the plate and Tepera on the mound, Jose Altuve found his way on base for Peña once again. For the second time in the game, the young rookie went deep, ending the afternoon affair with a two-run walk off home run.
The Angels tied an MLB record by striking out 20 times in a nine-inning game.
Quick Look Ahead
The Angels have Monday, July 4 off, but will continue their road trip by heading to South Beach for a two-game set with the Marlins. The Marlins (37-40) have been extremely good at home this season and figure to be a surprisingly tough test for the Angels.
Both teams will be bringing out their best starters. For the Angels, the probables are Noah Syndergaard and Ohtani, while the Marlins have ace Sandy Alcantara in the opener and Trevor Rogers in the closer.