Astros: Game 71 Preview-Angels
By Cody Poage
Seventy games in for the Astros, only ninety-two games remaining in the 2016 season.
As the summer begins to heat truly up in Houston, the Astros are also heating up as the 2016 season unfolds. Sure, a win-loss record of 34-36 isn’t anything to brag about when you are expected to contend. However, the Astros have arguably been one of better teams in baseball as of late.
After winning four of five against two of their old NL Central rivals, the Astros take on a current division rival as the Los Angeles Angels come to town. And while the Angels have struggled to a 31-38 record this season, they are still a dangerous team. Oh, did I mention that Mike Trout still plays for the Angels? Yeah, it is best not to sleep on one of the top players in baseball, who can single-handedly change the tide in a series if you are not careful.
Game 1: RHP Doug Fister (7-3, 3.26 ERA) vs. RHP Jhoulys Chacin (3-4, 5.00 ERA)
Surprise, surprise! The Astros best starter in 2016 hasn’t been Dallas Keuchel or Collin McHugh. Lance McCullers hasn’t been as well. No, it is a late winter signing that has become the Astros most consistent pitcher in 2016: Doug Fister.
The former Mariner, Tiger, and National has seemed to find new life in Houston following his lackluster campaigns in our nation’s capital. He has been the steady hand that has prevented the Astros rotation from completely imploding on itself. Just a word of caution: Fister’s peripherals aren’t painting a pretty picture. His 4.75 FIP and 4.66 xFIP should raise an eyebrow or two. But as long Fister pitches well and defy his peripherals, the Astros rotation is in better shape with him than without him.
The Astros offense will look to continue where they left off yesterday when they plated six runs against the Reds. To counter the Astros offense is Jhoulys Chacin, a 28-year old journeyman starter. Chacin will look to improve on his lifetime pitch line of a 1-1 record and 3.15 ERA on the Astros, which is also his fourth career start against Houston. But with the addition of Danny Worth and the improved play of Carlos Gomez, the Astros lineup appears to be in its best shape since the beginning of the 2016 season.
Next: Astros: It’s Time to Make Another Run Two Games Below .500
Regardless of the matchups, though, the Astros must improve upon its divisional record. Playing the Angels is a nice place to start.
**Statistics provided by Fangraphs & Baseball Reference**