The Astros and Angels will hook up on Sunday for the final game of a three-game series. Houston took the opener 9-6 behind Kyle Tucker’s four-RBI game. Game two was a 5-4 Angels win in extra innings. Jason Castro’s RBI double in the bottom of the ninth sent the game to extras, where Michael Hermosillo hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to force a game three rubber match.
The Astros are trying to stay on top of a crowded field in the AL West. Meanwhile, the Angels' start to the season is not what the club had in mind when it signed All-Star Anthony Rendon to an already bloated payroll. The Angels need the win on Sunday to not fall out of the race in a shortened season.
Youngsters Fuel Astros Hot StartThe Houston Astros are now finally able to depend fully on the stable of young talent in their organization. Top prospect Kyle Tucker has started to make his mark, while Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa have been rock steady offensively. The Astros, however, have yet to hit on all cylinders as Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and George Springer are hitting under .200 to start the season.
The Astros send youngster Josh James to the hill. James cruised through the first two innings of his season debut before running into trouble in the third. Still, the hard-throwing James oozes with talent as he transitions from bullpen work to becoming a starter. James has absolutely owned the Angels thus far, allowing just four hits in 26 at bats while recording eight strikeouts
Ohtani Looks to Put Last Start Behind HimShohei Otani came into the season claiming he was more focused and ready than past seasons, but that did not translate in his first start. Ohtani failed to record an out in his first start, giving up five runs on three hits and three walks against the offensively challenged Oakland A’s. Things do not get easier for him as he faces a more potent lineup. Ohtani will need to control the zone early and keep the Astros hitters off-balance in order to improve on his last start.
He will also need run support, and that may be difficult. In 26 at bats, current Angels hitters have just four hits. The sample size is small, and all came against the bullpen version of Josh James. Still, it is hard to ignore the historical dominance in this matchup. One player who will be seeing James for the first time is Anthony Rendon. Rendon has hit just .188 on the season so far, but it is just a matter of time before the All-Star rounds into form. Superstar Mike Trout will miss Sunday’s game due to the birth of his child.
- The Angels are 1-6 in last seven Sunday games
- The Angels are 3-14 in last 17 games as home underdog
- Astros are 5-0 in last five games against right handers
- Astros are 21-5 in last 26 Sunday games