The Angels need to wash the stank of that Oakland series off themselves and what better team to do that against than the Houston Astros. This is the perfect series for them to get back to their winning ways. Not only are they facing an inferior opponent, but they have a full roster for the first time in a long time. Trout should be healthy enough to play and Hamilton will be activated and ready to fill the black hole that has been the clean-up spot. They’ve only got a little bit of time to get right before the lock horns with the A’s again, so they need to take advantage here in Houston while they can.
The Angels and Astros just played two weeks ago and once again the Angels came out on top, winning two of three. That one loss came at the hands of the suddenly dominant Dallas Keuchel. Mercifully, Keuchel isn’t slated to pitch in this series, but just to make sure that the Angels continue to have trouble with Houston, they will be promoting top prospect Jonathan Singleton just in time for this series. However, the Angels will also be getting Josh Hamilton back, so they’ve got plenty going for them in their own right.
TUESDAY, 6/3: C.J. Wilson vs. Collin McHugh
Wilson has gotten hit hard by Chris Carter and Carlos Corporan, but is one of the few Angels that has been able to hold down Jose Altuve. He faced the Astros back at the beginning of the season and struck out seven while allowing one run on four hits and a walk over eight innings.
McHugh faced the Angels just once. It was in the series two weeks ago where McHugh was very good, though he ended up on the wrong side of a pitching duel. One would hope the Angels can make adjustments now that they’ve seen him live.
WEDNESDAY, 6/4: Garrett Richards vs. Jarred Cosart
The story on Richards is that he has struggled against the Astros for some reason. Considering how bad he was in his last start, this seems like a bad combination. The Astros have just hit him hard, but it is such a small sample that it could be a weird coincidence that Garrett just hasn’t had his best stuff and command on those days.
Cosart also has just one start against the Angels, his coming in the early-April series. In that start, Cosart was hard to hit, but had a hard time finding the zone and the Angels literally walked all over him.
THURSDAY, 6/5: Tyler Skaggs vs. Brad Peacock
While he has a little bit of trouble with Altuve and Castro, Skaggs has faced the Astros twice this season and been just terrific against them. In fact, you could make a very good case that Skaggs solid stat line thus far in 2014 are largely built on the back of those two excellent outing. How he will perform now that they’ll be seeing him for the third time in 60 days remains to be seen.
It isn’t much of a history, but Peacock has faced the Halos a little bit. This year, he got shelled once in a relief appearance, but he made a start against them last year where he held his own. Raul Ibanez, Hank Conger and Albert Pujols have all hammered him in limited plate appearances.
I don’t know why, but I kind of have a bad feeling about this series. Maybe it is just a hangover from the sweep in Oakland, but this has the feeling of a trap series. Everyone’s feeling good that Hamilton is back, but the starting pitching has been wobbly of late. I’m not sure exactly how it is all going to go down, but I foresee the Halos somehow dropping two of three.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
Jonathan Singleton will hit his first career homer in this series and it will come off of Ernesto Frieri.