The Los Angeles Angels’ offensive breakout lasted only one game as Dallas Keuchel made sure their bats stayed silent on Wednesday. The Angels will try to muster some offense against Lance McCullers Jr. and earn a split of the four-game series when they visit the Houston Astros for the finale on Thursday afternoon.
Los Angeles failed to score more than three runs in a contest during a six-game slide before breaking out briefly in Tuesday’s 5-2 triumph, which featured a three-run homer by Albert Pujols. But Pujols went quiet on Wednesday, wasting two-hit efforts from the two players in front of him in the lineup - Yunel Escobar and Mike Trout - by going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts as the Angels went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position in the 5-1 setback. The Astros are winners of six of their last seven and watched Josh Reddick fall a single shy of the cycle on Wednesday. Reddick and the rest of Houston’s lineup will take their hacks against Los Angeles’ Matt Shoemaker on Thursday.
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), ROOT (Houston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Matt Shoemaker (0-0, 6.14 ERA) vs. Astros RH Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 4.67)
Shoemaker is looking for his first win and will attempt to complete six innings for the first time on the young season after failing to factor in the decision in each of his first three turns. The Michigan native was bailed out by his offense after a tough start against Seattle on April 9 but rebounded to strike out seven and allow two runs in 5 1/3 innings at Kansas City on Saturday. Shoemaker had a hard time getting support in four starts versus Houston last season, posting a 1-2 record despite posting a 2.22 ERA.
McCullers turned in two straight quality starts to begin the campaign but fell off at Oakland on Friday, when he was reached for five runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. The Florida native is racking up strikeouts with 23 in 17 1/3 innings while issuing only three walks. McCullers is 2-1 with a 2.09 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 38 2/3 career frames against the Angels.
1. Astros SS Carlos Correa (bruised right hand) sat out the last three games but expects to return Thursday.
2. Los Angeles optioned C Carlos Perez to Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday and recalled C Juan Graterol.
3. Houston 2B Jose Altuve is 13-for-26 over his last seven games.
PREDICTION: Astros 8, Angels 3