Los Angeles Angels vs. Houston Astros Preview
Where: Minute Maid Park – Houston, TX
When: Friday, September 22, 2017, 8:10 PM ET
TV Broadcast: FSW
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Betting on the Los Angeles Angels (76-76)
What in the world is happening to Los Angeles? The Angels crashed to their fourth consecutive defeat on Thursday with a humbling 4-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians. LA’s playoff bid is in danger of collapsing with the Angels now 1.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second and final wild card spot in the American League.
With the Angels in a bit of a funk right now, the pressure is on Garrett Richards (0-2, 2.00 ERA) to deliver a quality start for the Halos this coming Friday. He took the loss Sunday against the Texas Rangers, allowing two earned runs on two hits across five innings. Richards, who’s only made four starts thanks to long-term injury issues, said after the loss to Texas that he’s ready to up his workload to 100 pitches against Houston. He will need to be at his best, though, against the Astros who lead the majors in runs, homers, hits and on-base percentage.
With Richards still a big question mark at this point, the onus is on the Angels hitters to provide some much-needed runs tonight. They have struggled mightily at the plate of late, scoring just 11 runs over their last four games. One guy who’s swinging the bat well for the Angels at the moment is Justin Upton. The left fielder is batting .296 (8-of-27) in his last eight games with four homers and five RBIs. He’s just 1-of-7, though, in his career against Astros starter Justin Verlander.
Betting on the Houston Astros (93-59)
The Houston Astros had their six-game winning streak snapped on Thursday with a gut-wrenching 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. The Astros simply had no answer for Chicago’s bullpen who pitched 8.2 innings of one-run ball. The AL West champions will look to get their season back on track when they face the Angels in their series opener tonight.
Starting for Houston in the opening game of this three-game set is Justin Verlander (13-8, 3.50 ERA). He has been a welcome addition to the Houston organization, posting a 0.86 ERA in three starts since joining the Astros. The right-hander has recorded 26 strikeouts and allowed just three walks during that span. Verlander will be licking his chops at the prospect of facing the Angels as he has fared extremely well against them of late. He threw eight shutout innings against Los Angeles on September 12. It was a dominant performance by Verlander who gave up just one hit and struck out nine batters in that contest.
As for the offense, the Astros are feeding off a hot Yuli Gurriel right now. The first baseman is 11-of-22 (.500) in his last six games with three RBIs. Gurriel went 1-of-3 last night against the White Sox. Another guy who’s sizzling at the plate right now for Houston is Josh Reddick. He’s batting .385 (10-of-26) in his last seven outings with three RBIs. Reddick has eight hits in 23 career at-bats against Angels starter Garrett Richards.
The Astros (-170) ease past the Angels, 6-1.
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