HOUSTON ASTROS (86-57)
at LOS ANGELES ANGELS (73-70)
First pitch: Tuesday, 10:05 p.m. ET
Line: Houston -120, Los Angeles +110, Total: 8.5
The Angels will be looking to earn a massive victory over the Astros on Tuesday.
The Astros have dropped four games in a row heading into Tuesdayís meeting with the Angels, but this Houston team is not in danger of missing out on the postseason or anything. The Astros currently have a 13-game lead over the Angels in the AL West, but theyíll still want to perform at a high level in this series. Now is not the time to get cold for an elite team like Houston, as the Astros will want to have some momentum when they eventually do get to the playoffs. As for the Angels, the team is now only one-game back in the wild card race. The Twins currently hold the second wild card spot, but it would not be surprising at all if Los Angeles were to take it. The Angels will, however, need to find a way to take at least two from the Astros here, but thatís easier said than done. Houston has gotten the best of this head-to-head series in 2017, as the Astros are 8-5 against the Angels on the season. The starters in this Tuesday night showdown are set to be RHP Justin Verlander (11-8, 3.74 ERA, 183 K) for Houston and RHP Garrett Richards (0-0, 1.13 ERA, 7 K) for Los Angeles. Both guys are capable of shutting their opponents down, so itíll be interesting to see what happens here.
The Astros are sending Justin Verlander to the hill on Tuesday and the superstar was excellent in his debut with the team. Verlander went on the road to Seattle on Sep. 5 and pitched six innings of one-run ball. He struck out seven batters in that game and walked only one. It would not be surprising to see him start to really do some of his best work moving forward, as he has to be excited to finally be playing some meaningful baseball again. It is, however, worth noting that Verlander allowed four earned runs and two homers in six innings of work in a loss against the Angels on May 14. He should, however, be able to regroup and pitch well here. As for Houstonís offense, 2B Jose Altuve is a player that will be looking forward to facing Richards in this one. He is 9-for-28 with a double and two RBI against the righty in his career and has been playing well as of late as well. Altuve has had two multi-hit games in the past four contests and also has two homers in the past four games.
The Angels can really use a victory on Tuesday, but itís not going to be easy against a pitcher like Verlander. One thing the Angels have going for them is that they have some guys that have hit the righty hard in their careers. One player that has really had success against Verlander is 1B Albert Pujols. Pujols is 7-for-21 with three doubles, a homer, and two RBI against him in his career. He also happens to be scorching hot coming into this game, as he has gotten hits in nine straight games and has seen his average rise from .230 to .248 over the past 10 contests. Itíd be huge if either he or OF Mike Trout can come through at the plate here. As for the Angelsí pitching, the team needs Garrett Richards to give them some solid innings on Tuesday. He has been decent since returning from injury this year, allowing just one earned run in a total of eight innings on the mound over two starts. He does, however, need to work deeper into this game.