|LA ANGELS ( NORRIS )|
HOUSTON ( MORTON )
|925||LA ANGELS||+165||Ov 9.5,-105||+110||Ov 8.5,-120|
|926||HOUSTON||-175||Un 9.5,-115||-120||Un 8.5,+100|
|vs Right-handed Starters||54-54||+4.2||41-57||4.4||0.243||0.307||0.396||0.702||4.1||0.248||0.307||0.403||0.711|
|Past 7 Games||2-5||-4||3-4||2.9||0.205||0.294||0.327||0.621||4.1||0.227||0.275||0.376||0.650|
|vs Right-handed Starters||75-37||+20.4||55-51||5.4||0.282||0.339||0.469||0.808||4.3||0.236||0.305||0.394||0.699|
|Past 7 Games||6-1||+3||1-6||4.4||0.253||0.324||0.425||0.749||2.3||0.190||0.241||0.279||0.519|
|9/9/2017||HEANEY(L)||@ SEATTLE||ALBERS(L)||1-8||L||-110||8.5 ov||O||7||8||0||11||5||2|
|9/10/2017||BRIDWELL(R)||@ SEATTLE||RAMIREZ(R)||5-3||W||115||9.5 un||U||8||4||0||8||4||0|
|9/22/2017||RICHARDS(R)||@ HOUSTON||VERLANDER(R)||0-3||L||125||8 ev||U||2||3||0||3||2||0|
|9/23/2017||NORRIS(R)||@ HOUSTON||MORTON(R)|| |
|9/24/2017||SKAGGS(L)||@ HOUSTON||MCCULLERS JR.(R)|| |
|9/25/2017||NOLASCO(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||SHIELDS(R)|| |
|9/26/2017||BRIDWELL(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||FULMER(R)|| |
|9/27/2017||RICHARDS(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||LOPEZ(R)|| |
|9/28/2017||NORRIS(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||COVEY(R)|| |
|9/30/2017|| ||SEATTLE|| || |
|9/9/2017||MORTON(R)||@ OAKLAND||GOSSETT(R)||1-11||L||-145||9.5 un||O||5||6||2||11||14||0|
|9/9/2017||PEACOCK(R)||@ OAKLAND||MENGDEN(R)||4-11||L||-230||9.5 ev||O||7||6||0||14||4||2|
|9/10/2017||KEUCHEL(L)||@ OAKLAND||GRAVEMAN(R)||2-10||L||-175||9 ov||O||8||8||1||12||12||0|
|9/12/2017||VERLANDER(R)||@ LA ANGELS||RICHARDS(R)||1-0||W||-115||8 ev||U||6||4||0||2||2||0|
|9/13/2017||FIERS(R)||@ LA ANGELS||SKAGGS(L)||1-9||L||105||8.5 ov||O||5||2||0||13||6||0|
|9/14/2017||PEACOCK(R)||@ LA ANGELS||NOLASCO(R)||5-2||W||-135||9 ev||U||10||6||0||5||6||0|
|9/19/2017||MCHUGH(R)||CHI WHITE SOX||GIOLITO(R)||3-1||W||-260||9 ov||U||8||4||2||6||9||0|
|9/20/2017||PEACOCK(R)||CHI WHITE SOX||SHIELDS(R)||4-3||W||-300||9.5 un||U||9||8||0||4||3||1|
|9/21/2017||KEUCHEL(L)||CHI WHITE SOX||FULMER(R)||1-3||L||-300||9.5 un||U||3||6||0||6||4||0|
|9/22/2017||VERLANDER(R)||LA ANGELS||RICHARDS(R)||3-0||W||-135||8 ev||U||3||2||0||2||3||0|
|9/23/2017||MORTON(R)||LA ANGELS||NORRIS(R)|| |
|9/24/2017||MCCULLERS JR.(R)||LA ANGELS||SKAGGS(L)|| |
|9/25/2017||MCHUGH(R)||@ TEXAS||CASHNER(R)|| |
|9/26/2017||KEUCHEL(L)||@ TEXAS||HAMELS(L)|| |
|9/27/2017||VERLANDER(R)||@ TEXAS||MARTINEZ(R)|| |
|9/28/2017||PEACOCK(R)||@ BOSTON||RODRIGUEZ(L)|| |
|9/29/2017||MORTON(R)||@ BOSTON||FISTER(R)|| |
|9/30/2017|| ||@ BOSTON|| || |
|LA ANGELS: 2016: 74-88, fourth place
Manager: Mike Scioscia (18th season)
Who's new? C Martin Maldonado, 2B Danny Espinosa, INF Luis Valbuena, OF Ben Revere, OF Cameron Maybin, RHP Jesse Chavez, RHP Austin Adams, RHP Yusmeiro Petit
Who's gone? C Jett Bandy, C Geovany Soto, C Juan Graterol, OF Gregorio Petit, OF Rafael Ortega, RHP Jered Weaver, LHP C.J. Wilson, RHP Jhoulys Chacin, RHP Tim Lincecum, RHP Cory Rasmus, LHP Brett Oberholtzer
Projected lineup: 3B Yunel Escobar (.304, 5 HR, 39 RBI), RF Kole Calhoun (.271, 18, 75), CF Mike Trout (.315, 29, 100, 30 SB), DH Albert Pujols (.268, 31, 119), 1B C.J. Cron (.278, 16, 69) or Luis Valbuena (.260, 13, 40 in 90 games with Astros), LF Cameron Maybin (.315, 4, 43, 15 SB with Tigers), 2B Danny Espinosa (.209, 24, 72 with Nationals), SS Andrelton Simmons (.281, 4, 44, 10 in 124 games), C Martin Maldonado (.202, 8, 21 with Brewers) or Carlos Perez (.209, 5, 31)
Rotation: RH Garrett Richards (1-3, 2.34 in six starts), RH Matt Shoemaker (9-13, 3.88), LH Tyler Skaggs (3-4, 4.17), RH Ricky Nolasco (8-14, 4.42 with Twins and Angels), RH Jesse Chavez (2-2, 4.43 with Blue Jays and Dodgers) or RH Bud Norris (6-10, 5.10 for Braves and Dodgers)
Key relievers: RH Huston Street (3-2, 6.45, 9/12 SV), RH Cam Bedrosian (2-0, 1.12), RH Andrew Bailey (3-1, 5.36 6/7 SV for Phillies and Angels), RH J.C. Ramirez (2-1, 2.91), LH Jose Alvarez (1-3, 3.45), RH Austin Adams (0-0, 9.82 with Indians), RH Yusmeiro Petit (3-5, 4.30 with Nationals), RH Mike Morin (2-2, 4.37)
Hot spots: First base and fifth starter. Pujols started 23 games at first base last year, and will likely play fewer this year after offseason plantar fascia surgery. For now, Pujols is the primary DH, Cron is the first baseman, and Valbuena will begin the season on the DL with a strained hamstring. One problem: neither Cron (.698 OPS) nor Valbuena (.666) could hit lefties last year. The top candidates for fifth starter are similarly flawed. Chavez and Norris finished last season as relievers. Alex Meyer has six major league starts to his name. The Angels might need all of them at points in 2017.
Outlook: It's hard to be too optimistic about a team that's made one playoff appearance in seven years. Yet it's hard to be too pessimistic considering the hard-luck injuries that decimated the Angels in 2016, particularly on the pitching side. Still, 2017 figures to be a transition year. The back of the rotation is a patch job until Tommy John patients Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano return from rehab. The Angels will gain some financial freedom after the season, when Josh Hamilton finally comes off the books. Any positive momentum in the meantime would make Anaheim a more attractive destination for free agents. Getting back above .500 would be a realistic step in that direction; anything beyond that is a bonus
|HOUSTON: 2016: 84-78, third place
Manager: A.J. Hinch (third season)
Who's new? RF Josh Reddick, CF Carlos Beltran, LF Nori Aoki, C Brian McCann, RHP Charlie Morton
Who's gone? C Jason Castro, INF Luis Valbuena, OF Colby Rasmus, RHP Doug Fister
Projected lineup: CF George Springer (.261, 29 HR, 82 RBI), 2B Jose Altuve (.338, 24, 96, 30 SB), SS Carlos Correa (.274, 20, 96, 13 SB), DH Carlos Beltran (.295, 29, 93 with Yankees and Rangers), C Brian McCann (.242, 20, 58 with Yankees) or Evan Gattis (.251, 32, 72), 3B Alex Bregman (.264, 8, 34 in 49 games), RF Josh Reddick (.281, 10, 37 with A's and Dodgers), 1B Yulieski Gurriel (.262, 3, 15), LF Nori Aoki (.283, 4, 28 with Mariners)
Rotation: LH Dallas Keuchel (9-12, 4.55 ERA), RH Collin McHugh (13-10, 4.34), RH Mike Fiers (11-8, 4.48), RH Lance McCullers (6-5, 3.22), RH Charlie Morton (1-1, 4.15 in four games with Phillies)
Key relievers: RH Ken Giles (2-5, 4.11, 15/20 SV), RH Luke Gregerson (4-3, 3.28, 15/21 SV), RH Will Harris (1-2, 2.25, 12/15 SV), RH Chris Devenski (4-4, 2.16), LH Tony Sipp (1-2, 4.95), RH Michael Feliz (8-1, 4.43)
Hot spots: Fifth starter and catcher. Hamstring issues limited 33-year-old Morton to four starts with the Phillies last season. That didn't stop the Astros from signing him to a two-year contract worth at least $14 million. Now, veteran Fiers and 24-year-old Joe Musgrove are on the bubble for the fifth starter's job. McCann and Gattis give the Astros a pair of veteran catchers with slugging potential. McCann has fewer weaknesses behind the plate; Gattis is the better all-around hitter. With Beltran aboard as the primary designated hitter, McCann and Gattis won't both be in the lineup on most nights.
Outlook: After slipping to third place in the AL West last year, the Astros' front office decided to double down on dingers rather than upgrade a rotation that lacks a true ace. The result: A lineup with eight potential 20-home run hitters, including possible MVP candidates in Altuve and Correa. Everyone returns from an impressive young bullpen with high strikeout potential. If the Astros are in contention by the trade deadline, the front office should have the financial flexibility to add a front-line starter. Then again, if Dallas Keuchel looks like the pitcher who won a Cy Young Award in 2015, Houston might not have a problem.
|Astros' Morton faces slumping Angels|
HOUSTON -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch long ago reached the point of visible frustration in discussing the health status of right-hander Lance McCullers, but with the postseason approaching and McCullers' role dependent upon his availability, the questions kept coming.
Hinch announced on Friday that McCullers will start on Sunday in the series finale against the Angels. An All-Star during the first half of the season, McCullers has largely watched the second half from the dugout, undermined by back discomfort and arm fatigue. The latter ailment has limited McCullers to one start this month, but given his talent and potential as a rotation hammer behind Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, McCullers is vitally important.
A healthy McCullers provides the Astros (94-59) the rotation depth they need to challenge for a championship. If McCullers is limited in any way, the unknown of his being moved to the bullpen could reshape expectations for him individually and for Houston as a whole.
"Everybody is telling me that he's strong, he bounced back from his bullpen and the next test is a game," Hinch said. "We really don't have another option with the timeline that we have. We'll put him in there and see how it goes.
"We want to see him pitch a couple times; he only has time for two spots. It's important, very important, especially for him."
Meanwhile, right-hander Charlie Morton (12-7, 3.75 ERA) will start for the Astros on Saturday. Morton is 2-0 with a 3.74 ERA over four career starts against the Angels, including two this season where he has worked 10 combined innings while allowing three runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts.
Right-hander Bud Norris (2-5, 4.53 ERA) will make his second start of the season for the Angels (76-77). Norris, who worked primarily as the closer for a long stretch of this season, started against the Texas Rangers on Sept. 15 and allowed one hit over two scoreless innings.
Norris has 19 saves this season and is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in seven games (one start) against Houston, the franchise that selected him in the sixth round of the 2006 amateur draft.
Seeking something to spark his lagging offense, Angels manager Mike Scioscia tweaked his batting order on Friday, dropping second baseman Brandon Phillips to fifth in the lineup while replacing Phillips atop the order with right fielder Kole Calhoun. Friday marked the first time since his acquisition from the Atlanta Braves that Phillips batted someplace other than first.
Over those 16 games Phillips slashed .268/.278/.338. The Angels, meanwhile, were just 6-10 in those games and totaled just 11 runs over the four-game skid they carried into Houston. Calhoun, who most frequently bats second, hit atop the order for the fourth time this season.
"Just a comfort level for some guys," Scioscia said. "Although Brandon has led off before, getting him into a position hopefully in an RBI mix will be helpful. Kole's really comfortable at the top and we'll just see if it's something that can (get the offense going).
"There's some data that says it makes sense. Sometimes we're just going to reshuffle and hopefully get a little bit of a look."
|Last Updated: 10/20/2017 3:01:56 PM EST|