Series Preview 2021: Houston Astros @ Los Angeles Angels

Sticky notes

The story of the Angels’ 2021 season is well known. They continue to linger as a 500 team as their star players waste the best years of their careers. Even if the Angels’ offense is respectable, especially thanks to the star players mentioned, the team is struggling with pitching, which is giving away as many games as the offense can win. Add to that the fact that both Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon have been off lineups for most of the season due to injuries and this is simply not a team with enough tools to compete for the division.

Of course, they are still getting a lot of attention thanks to Shohei Ohtani, who is a strong contender for AL MVP this season. After just 10 starts in his rookie season and only two last year, it was impressive to see what the two-way player has achieved in a full season so far.

Still, there isn’t much for the Angels to play at this point in the season other than being spoilers, which is exactly what they could be this weekend. Since the A are riding a winning streak of 7 games, the Astros quickly find their lead in the AL West to just 1.5 games. With Oakland up against the Rangers this weekend, they can’t be relied upon too much to lose, so Houston will likely need at least one straight win here to stay in the lead.

Last 10 games: 6-4 record, 2 series won, 1 series lost, +2 running difference (42 scored, 40 allowed)

W / L splits: 32-28 at home, 26-30 on the road, 29-46 against teams over 0.500


The Angels’ offense has been hampered by injuries throughout the season, as exemplified by Mike Trout, who only played 36 games before hitting the IL with a calf injury. This year Justin Upton, Anthony Rendon and Max Stassi, all major contributors, have spent a lot of time on the shelf with Trout.

All of this adds up to an offense with a collective .252 / .314 / .423 slashline and a .737 OPS which is good for 12th place in the league. While players like Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh certainly help improve that average, there are only a limited number of lineups that can do without their big star.

Notable players:

  • Let’s get that straight Shohei Ohtani (.268 / .363 / .655) this list should always begin. In an MVP race with Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ohtani leads the Angels (and in some cases the league) in most traditional stats. He is top in OPS (1.017), SLG (.655), OBP (.363), Stolen Bases (16), Walks (55), RBI (84), Homers (38), Triples (5), Doubles (25 .). ) and strikethroughs (136). His 38 homers and .655 slugging are both top marks in the MLB.
  • Jared Walsh (.269 / .321 / .513) has really worked hard this season to take on the role of the first base player from Albert Pujols, who has since retired. Walsh was strong in 2020, starting roughly halfway through the shortened season’s games. His biggest weakness seems to be his record discipline, as evidenced by his walk-to-strikeout ratio of 26: 112.
  • Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my old friend Max Stassi (.289 / .368 / .500) who has had one of the best seasons of his career, despite having been to the IL twice this year. However, he was recently struck by a blow in the forearm and there seems to be a question about whether he will be on the series this weekend or take another trip to the IL.


As mentioned earlier, the Angels pitching is near the bottom of the league with a collective ERA of 4.71, and the staff’s 1.36 WHIP and 0.245 BAA don’t exactly inspire confidence. It was a pretty even split between starters and promoters as to who gave up the most runs, wearing 4.71 and 4.70 ERA, respectively.

That is not to say that there are no bright spots in the pitching staff. Everyone knows Ohtani, and there are certainly other notable pitchers out there, but the Angels pitchers usually tend to be average rather than good.

Notable Reliver:

  • Raisel Iglesias (RHP, 3.04 ERA, 53.1 IP, 80 K’s) was rock solid for most of the Angels season, though they stumbled out of the gate in April. That trip included two poorly played games against the Astros in which he gave up 5 runs (earned 4) in just 1.2 IP. Still, he was good in the last few games and successfully implemented 25 out of 30 rescue options in 2021.
  • According to a trade by Tony Watson on the cut-off date, it looks like this Steve Cishek (RHP, 3.64 ERA, 47 IP, 44 K’s) and Mike Mayers (RHP, 4.44 ERA, 50.2 IP, 66 K’s) are the remaining top options for high leverage reels. Cishek has been good since the Angels’ bullpen landed, but Mayers plays that role out of necessity rather than preference.

Pitching matches

Game 1: Zack Greinke (RHP, 10-3, 3.69 ERA, 100 K’s) vs. Patrick Sandoval (LHP, 3-5, 3.39 ERA 91 K’s)

Sandoval has become one of the Angels’ better starters since joining the rotation in late May. While his ledger isn’t completely stain free, he can usually be counted on to make between 5 and 6 innings while giving up 3 runs or fewer. However, he was beaten by the Astros for 4 runs in a 2-inning relief appearance earlier in the season, but has not seen them since.

Game 2: Luis Garcia (RHP, 8-6, 3.29 ERA, 121 K’s) vs. Jaime Barria (RHP, 2-0, 4.21 ERA, 13 K’s)

After spending most of the season in Salt Lake with Angels’ AAA subsidiary, Barria was recently called back to fill the void left in the rotation by injuries and trades. He has looked fine during that period with just 5 abandoned runs in three starts and 19.2 innings.

Game 3: Lance McCullers Jr. (RHP, 9-3, 3.22 ERA, 128 Ks) vs. Reid Detmers (LHP, 0-2, 10.61 ERA, 7 K’s)

Detmers is making his third career start in the MLB after his first two total disasters. In those two games, he gave up 11 runs over 9.1 IP while walking four and hitting two thugs. He only managed 7 strikeouts in those frames.

Game 1: Friday, August 13 at 8:38 p.m. CDT
Listen: Astros – KBME 790 AM / 94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM / 99.1 FM HD-2 / Engel – KLAA 830, KWKW 1330
Regard: Astros – ATT SportsNet-SW / Angels – Bally Sports West


Game 2: Saturday, August 14th at 8:07 pm CDT
Listen: Astros – KBME 790 AM / 94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM / 99.1 FM HD-2, KAMA HD2 104.9 FM / Engel – KLAA 830
Regard: Astros – ATT SportsNet-SW / Angels – Bally Sports West

Game 3: Sunday August 15 at 3:07 p.m. CDT
Listen: Astros – KBME 790 AM / 94.5 FM HD -2, KLAT 1010 / Engel – KLAA 830
Regard: Astros – ATT SportsNet-SW / Angels – Bally Sports West / MLB Network (only out of market)

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