Houston Astros Vs. Los Angeles Angels: Lineups, preview, prediction, & channel info (May 14, 2018)

The Astros and Angels clash in a key series for the top of the AL West. Who will take game one?

Toby Durant by Toby Durant

(Photo credit: Keith Allison)

The Astros head to LA after taking two-of-three from the Texas Rangers. They claimed a 6-1 win on Sunday behind a strong start from Dallas Keuchel at long last. The 2015 Cy Young winner laid down the law with seven scoreless innings and eight strikeouts, while Evan Gattis and Carlos Correa both went deep to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

The Angels salvaged a split from a four-game series against the Twins with a 2-1 win last night. A brilliant outing from Shohei Ohtani kept the Twins quiet enough for the Angels to sneak by. The Japanese rookie struck out 11 in 6.1 innings and allowed just five baserunners before handing the game over to the bullpen. Zack Cozart had the best day at the plate with three hits and an RBI.

Lance McCullers Jr (RHP) Vs. Andrew Heaney (LHP)

McCullers comes into today with a 5-1 record and a 3.72 ERA. Those are the headline numbers, but underneath that are a few worrying things. Firstly, his walk rate has ticked up from last year back to his career average. Then there are his inconsistent strikeout numbers. While he holds a 10.2 K/9 at the moment that is fuelled by early success. In his last four starts he has managed just a 6.5 K/9. He is at least keeping the ball in the park, but McCullers is a volatile proposition at the moment.

While McCullers’ numbers hide some problems, Heaney’s hide some success. He had a rough start to his season, not pitching until mid-April and then getting hit hard in his second outing by San Francisco. However, since then he has allowed just four runs in three starts for a 2.12 ERA, he’s struck out 16 in 17 innings, and walked just five. Heaney hasn’t gone beyond the sixth inning since 2015 as he makes his way back from Tommy John and other problems, but he is starting to find his feet again.

Projected lineups

Astros Lineup Home Runs Batting Average On-Base Percentage
Springer, LF 8 .296 .363
Altuve, 2B 2 .306 .360
Correa, SS 7 .292 .374
Gurriel, 1B 1 .278 .314
Bregman, 3B 3 .265 .387
McCann, C 3 .262 .376
Gattis, DH 3 .214 .283
Fisher, RF 4 .191 .230
Marisnick, CF 3 .141 .151
Angels Lineup Home Runs Batting Average On-Base Percentage
Cozart, 3B 5 .241 .306
Trout, CF 12 .315 .450
Upton, LF 10 .256 .317
Pujols, DH 6 .255 .290
Simmons, SS 3 .338 .405
Valbuena, 1B 4 .255 .297
Kinsler, 2B 2 .213 .301
Calhoun, RF 1 .162 .191
Maldonado, C 1 .273 .354

Who’s hot, and who’s not

Houston’s star infielders have been somewhat cold of late. Jose Altuve is hitting just .220 in the last two weeks, and Carlos Correa has an average of just .208, though he does have three dingers in the same time frame. Instead the offense is getting production from the other stud, george Springer, who is expected to be back in the lineup today after missing Sunday with an elbow issue, as well as Yuli Gurriel and Max Stassi, all of whom are hitting over .300 in the last two weeks.

Angels baseball still runs through Mike Trout, who is hitting .357 with two homers and three steals in the last 15 days, but Andrelton Simmons has continued to hit well though May, with a .377 average, and Just Upton’s power is starting to shine. He has six homers over the last two weeks, with 18 RBI. Ian Kinsler and Kole Calhoun have been the coldest of the regular bats, hitting .200 and .129 respectively in May.

Prediction

It is hard to pick between these two teams. While Houston has a far superior run differential a lot of that is thanks to Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, neither of who will factor in today’s game. There are a lot of good hitters in play today, and two somewhat suspect pitchers. Heaney is in better form, but he is still vulnerable to a lineup as deep as Houston’s. I’ll take the Angels by one tonight, but I don’t feel great about it.

Channel info

The game will be broadcast live on ATTH and FSW, as well as streamed live on MLB.tv for out of market subscribers. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07pm PT/10:07pm ET.

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Toby Durant

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