The Los Angeles Angels have struggled with the Houston Astros for nearly the entirety of the latter’s reign in the American League West. With their combination of disciplined bats and elite starting pitchers, the Astros have found a formula to consistently crush any Angels momentum.
That’s exactly what they did over their three-game weekend series. The Angels had won back-to-back series against playoff teams. They swept the Toronto Blue Jays and took two of three from the New York Yankees. And yet, with the Astros in town, they were unable to do anything more than steal one win in extra innings.
Astros pitchers flexed their muscles on the Angels, who managed to score only five runs in 30 innings from Friday to Sunday. And outside of an elite start from Shohei Ohtani, two young Angels starters faltered in their attempts to quell the Astros machine.
In total, the Angels were outscored 14-5, with nine runs coming in the series finale on Sunday. And with the Angels traveling to Houston at the end of the week, L.A. is hopeful to learn some lessons before another three-game series commences.
Game 1: Astros def. Angels 4-2
It wasn’t Reid Detmers’ best performance of the season in the opener. He lasted just 4.1 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks. And while two of the four runs were technically allowed by Jose Marte, Detmers still loaded the bases before being removed.
But the bigger issue came at the plate, where the Angels were 1-for-9 with a walk when runners were in scoring position. The top three in the Angels order — David Fletcher, Mike Trout, and Ohtani — reached base a combined seven times. The other six players collectively reached base five times.
The Angels had their fair share of opportunities to win, and failed to capitalize on those chances. So the two runs allowed by Detmers and Marte in the fifth inning were all the Astros needed to secure the victory.
Game 2: Angels def. Astros 2-1
One of Ohtani’s best starts of 2022 — according to Phil Nevin — came on Saturday night. It was an absolute gem from the Angels two-way star, who tossed 8.0 innings and allowed just one earned run on six hits. He only struck out five batters, but his out efficiency gave him the chance to throw 111 pitches.
Astros starter Luis Garcia also did an incredible job limiting the Angels, as the game was knotted at one all the way through the regulation nine innings. Both bullpens had their best stuff, forcing the game all the way to the 12th inning.
Finally, Matt Duffy played the hero role, looping a single to right field that allowed Taylor Ward to get to home plate from second base. This was partially thanks to a misplay from Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker, but a win is a win and a walk-off RBI is how it was scored for Duffy.
Game 3: Astros def. Angels 9-1
Tucker Davidson showed some flashes of solid pitching in this effort, but a five-run second inning put a damper on that development. Impressively, Davidson did make it all the way to the seventh inning, ultimately finishing with seven earned runs on seven hits and two walks.
But on the other side, it was one of the Astros most reliable starters in Jose Urquidy. Urquidy tossed 7.0 innings and allowed zero runs on four hits and one walk while striking out eight. The 9-1 result explains a very uneven pitching matchup.
Nevin still found things to be hopeful for in Davidson’s performance, including finding some success with his changeup. But more work needs to be done on Davidson’s behalf to show he can be a part of the 2023 roster.