This is a great series for the Angels to get happy. Not only do they get to take on the lowly Astros, but they should also be getting back David Freese and Kole Calhoun during this series and Josh Hamilton next week. For a team that is already on a roll, that is just a bounty of riches. They’ve gotten great fill-in work from their reserves, but nobody is going to complain about getting two regulars back. You can take your chemistry and shove it, I’ll bet on the talent.
Sadly, the Angels had to take three of four from the ‘Stros in the first week of the season to actually move their all-time record against Houston to one game over .500. This time though they get the Astros at home and with Bad Jered Weaver replaced by Good Jered Weaver. Of course, Houston is a total pushover, coming in having won five of their last seven and showing a half-decent offense in the process. Sadly, Robbie Grossman has been sent to the minors for Houston, so they won’t be able to count on him playing the outfield with his eyes closed and gifting the Angels two runs each game.
MONDAY, 5/19: Garrett Richards vs. Dallas Keuchel
So, yeah, Richards really shouldn’t pitch to Chris Carter. That’s really about it though for anyone who actually has a non-trivial sample size. Looking back to earlier this season though, Richards was very good against Houston except for where he issued five walks. That hasn’t been the case for him lately though, so this could be another start that makes the “ace” whispers louder around Richards.
Keuchel is actually having a very good season, but the Angels have just hammered him in the past. Everyone that’s faced him more than five times has an OPS over .900 against him, except Mike Trout and he is hitting .300 with a .417 OBP.
TUESDAY, 5/20: Tyler Skaggs vs. Scott Feldman
Skaggs doesn’t have much of a history against Houston, but Jesus Guzman has seen him a fair amount and given Tyler a lot of problems. That being said, Skaggs pitched eight innings of one (unearned) run ball against the Astros back in April. Of course, now they’ve all seen him, so he may not be so lucky this time.
The big bats don’t handle Feldman very well, but Ibanez, Kendrick, Conger and Aybar all pummel him. I’m guessing it is just an attention span thing because Feldman works so painfully slow that I am sure the big boppers just lose interest.
WEDNESDAY, 5/21: Jered Weaver vs. Collin McHugh
Weaver hasn’t faced the Astros much, but he saw them earlier this season and they hit all of the homers. That was a different Weaver than we’ve seen the last two weeks though. Jered just made location mistake after location mistake against Houston, but with markedly improved command, he should be in much better shape this time around.
McHugh came ut of nowhere to be pretty dang good thus far in 2014. He misses bats and has been very stingy with giving up hits. Obviously, he hasn’t seen the Angels before, but that may well work to his advantage.
I know the Astros are supposedly playing better, but they’ve also been winning against fairly weak competition. Even with them getting to run their best three pitchers in this series, I don’t see Houston making much of a threat on offense. Plus their bullpen is bound to choke one of these games away. I’ll take a sweep, thank you very much.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
With Calhoun and Freese due back this series, someone else is going to end up on the DL for the Angels. I’m not so sure, but it just seems to be the kind of thing that would happen right when the Halos are getting excited about having a fully healthy squad.