ASTROS @ ANGELS
May 5-7, 2017
Off we go on a quick trip to the west coast.
What happened in the last series?
Thursday’s blowout notwithstanding, I think everyone here is happy with punking the Rangers three times in a four-game series. Marwin Gonzalez is your new team leader in HR and RBI (!) and may be emerging as a Ranger-killer. In just three games he went 6×10 with four bombs, raising his season average by 62 points (.204 to .266) and his OPS by 270 points (.817 to 1.087). The Astros are one percentage point ahead of the Yankees for the best record in the AL.
The Angels are 8-5 since we last saw them and just dropped a series in Seattle in which they allowed 23 runs over three games. They’ve also been bitten by the injury bug lately: CJ Cron is out with a minor leg injury and his DL stint will outlast this series, while Tyler Skaggs, one of their best starters so far this season, suffered an oblique strain last week and may not be back until the ASB. They come into the series in second place, 4.5 games behind the Astros.
Friday, May 5 – 9:07pm CDT
Dallas Keuchel (5-0, 1.21) vs. Jesse Chavez (2-4, 4.50)
Keuchel has already victimized the Angels this year. Other than that, I’ve run out of useful things to say about him.
Chavez pitched well in Houston earlier this year, allowing just one run over seven innings. Unfortunately for him, the Angels got shut out on the other side of the ball. His next appearance was a 13th-inning relief outing against the Blue Jays, where .109/.242/.145-hitting (at the time) Joey Bats took him deep for what would be a game-winning 3-run homer. He rebounded three days later with a quality start and a W, then took another loss to the Rangers.
Saturday, May 6 – 8:07pm CDT
Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 4.08) vs. JC Ramirez (3-2, 4.23)
McCullers’s first outing against the Angels was fantastic, allowing three runs and three walks over 6.2 scoreless innings while fanning eight.
Ramirez had the unfortunate assignment of being paired with Keuchel in his last appearance against the Astros. He pitched a pretty decent game, especially considering his nine K’s, but left the game trailing 3-1 in the 6th. He has also posted similar strikeout numbers against the A’s and Rangers, and over his last 12.1 innings he has allowed just two runs with a WHIP under 1.
Sunday, May 9 – 2:37pm CDT
Mike Fiers (0-1, 5.68) vs. Matt Shoemaker (1-1. 4.78)
With approximately 704 home runs allowed (look it up, I dare you), Fiers is your major league leader in that category. Personally, I was really hoping we would draw the Angels’ Ricky Nolasco (closely behind Fiers in HRs allowed) for this game and get an orthopedist to sponsor all the neck-twisting. Fiers did not pitch in the Angels series earlier this year, and he posted some of his worst results against them last year, going 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in three starts (including a 17.18 ERA in Angel Stadium).
Shoemaker pitched a pretty damn good game (7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) against the Astros in the last series, only to lose the game 2-1. That was his only start where he made it out of the 6th inning, and he would have a number of quality starts if it weren’t for his relatively short (for him) starts. Since the series in Houston he got his first win against the A’s, then took a no-decision in a win against the Mariners.