The Los Angeles Angels are falling out of the competition for the American League’s second wild-card spot and they attempt to snap their five-game losing streak when they visit the AL West champion Houston Astros on Saturday afternoon. The Angels recorded just two hits on Friday in a 3-0 loss in the opener of the three-game series to fall 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota with nine to play.
Los Angeles is one game under .500 after losing 10 of its last 14 games in an untimely collapse. Mike Trout has been one of the main culprits in the slide as he is just 9-for-53 over his last 16 games and has recorded just two homers and five RBIs this month. Houston has won seven of its last eight contests and is six victories shy of the second 100-win campaign in franchise history. Yuli Gurriel belted a three-run homer and is a torrid 14-for-29 over his last nine games.
TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Bud Norris (2-5, 4.53 ERA) vs. Astros RH Charlie Morton (12-7, 3.75)
Norris, who has made 57 relief appearances, is making his second start of the season after tossing two scoreless innings versus Texas in the first on Sept. 15. The 32-year-old is coming off a rough relief outing against Cleveland on Tuesday in which he gave up three runs, three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. Norris, who spent his first 4 1/2 seasons with the Astros, is making his second career start against his former team - the other being a victory in which he gave up two runs and four hits over six frames in 2013 while with Baltimore.
Morton defeated Seattle in his last turn as he gave up one run and five hits over six innings. The 33-year-old has limited opposing batters to a .220 average in 15 home starts while going 9-3 with a 3.50 ERA. Morton is 2-0 with a 3.74 ERA in four career starts against the Angels, including 1-0 with a 2.70 mark in two turns this year, but has struggled with Martin Maldonado (6-for-10).
1. Astros RF Josh Reddick (lower back) departed the series opener and is expected to sit out Saturday’s contest.
2. Los Angeles DH Albert Pujols is just 3-for-25 over his last seven contests.
3. Houston RF George Springer is hitless in 12 at-bats over his last three games.
PREDICTION: Astros 4, Angels 2