The second half of baseball begins with bang as MVP front-runner, Mike Trout, welcomes the defending World Series champs into the city of Angels for a 3 game set between the Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros. These two AL West opponents are coming into this series having had two completely different seasons.
The Astros on one hand, didn’t let the “World Series hangover” notion affect them as they are cruising and have their sights on yet another AL West title.
The Angels, on the other hand, have had bad luck this year as injuries have plagued their chances to compete for a wild card position.
Both teams are looking to get off to hot starts here in the second half and a series victory over an inter-divisional foe should do the trick.
How Do They Stack Up Against Eachother?
In the 6 meetings between the two clubs this season, the Astros and Angels have split the season series 3-3. The Astros have the advantage coming into this series as they currently have a two game winning streak over the Angels following their series win back in May.
Los Angeles usually relies on one bat to spark their offense: Mike Trout. This may not be the case in this series, however, as Trout has done an extremely poor job against the Astros in 2018. In 18 at bats vs. Houston this year, Trout has just 2 hits and an OPS of .611.
Mike Scioscia and company should expect another great performance out of Andrelton Simmons as he leads the team in batting average vs. Houston with a .471 avg along with 2 home runs.
Houston’s lineup has fared well vs. the Angels this year as a cohesive and well running unit. 5 Astros have homers vs. Los Angeles this year and 4 of them have averages over .300. This means that you should expect a large amount of hits to come off the bats of Astros players in this series. In just 6 games vs. LA this year, the Astros have 44 hits and are averaging 7.3 per game.
While the Angels have yet to name a starter for Friday’s contest, LA’s pitching has done a great job in controlling the Astros lineup this season. The Angels’ pitching staff has allowed just 5 home runs and have a team ERA of 2.89 vs. Houston this season.
Taking the mound for the Astros following the All Star break is LHP Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel is on fire as of late, boasting a 4-0 record and a 2.17 ERA in his last 6 starts. This hot streak shouldn’t sit well with Angels fans either as Keuchel has historically dominated Los Angeles in his career. Over the course of the past 6 seasons, Keuchel has a 10-2 record and a 3.67 ERA vs. LA.