The Houston Astros try to extend their three-game winning streak when they take on the Los Angeles Angels in the third of a four-game series between American League West rivals on Wednesday night. The game is scheduled for a 9:38 p.m. ET first pitch at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.
Houston won the second game of the series 10-5 on Tuesday night to improve to 90-61. The Astros are atop the AL West standings, leading the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics, who are tied for second place and eight games back.
The Angels have dropped five in a row to fall to 72-79. Los Angeles is in fourth place in the AL West, trailing the second-place Mariners and Athletics by 10 games.
The win on Tuesday night, coupled with Oakland’s loss to Seattle, cut the Astros’ magic number for winning the AL West to four games. It’s the time of year that teams are looking at the scoreboard at out-of-town scores, but Houston insists it is just focused on its own game each night.
“That’s pretty good, but we’re just trying to win,” Houston second baseman Jose Altuve said after Tuesday’s win. “We’re not quite paying attention to the magic number just yet. We have 11 more games, and we’re trying to win them all and see what happens next.”
The Astros have been getting hot at the plate, hitting four home runs on Tuesday night and averaging nine runs during their current win streak. Altuve had his 29th home run while Kyle Tucker added his 27th on Tuesday. Tucker has an extra-base hit in six of his last seven games.
Right-hander Luis Garcia will get the start for Houston on Wednesday. Garcia is 11-7 with a 3.37 ERA in 26 starts and 28 overall appearances.
This will be Garcia’s fifth start and sixth appearance against the Angels and he comes in with a 1-2 record and 5.31 ERA against Los Angeles. The 24-year-old is coming off a win in his last start, going 5.1 innings against Texas on Thursday and allowing one run on five hits in a 12-1 victory.
Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hit his 45th home run in Tuesday’s loss, his first since Sept. 10. The favorite for AL MVP is batting just .217 with three home runs and five RBIs this month and had a sore arm that almost shut down his pitching for the rest of the season a week ago.
The five runs scored by the Angels in Tuesday’s loss were more than the combined offensive effort in their previous three losses. When Ohtani is going well, Los Angeles can put runs on the board, but more players need to step up to take some pressure off the 27-year-old.
Right-hander Janson Junk will make his third major league start on Wednesday. Junk is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA, giving up just a single earned run in each of his first two starts.
Junk is coming off a solid performance against the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 15 in which he went 4.1 innings and allowed one run on three hits, including a home run. His first major league start saw him allow one earned run (five total) on six hits, including two home runs, in a loss to the Texas Rangers on Sept. 5.
Astros Win Again
Junk has shown some pretty good stuff in his first two starts, but he’s facing a hot Astros offense that is one of the most potent in baseball. Houston should be able to put some runs on the board against the young pitcher and take another step toward a division title.
When making your MLB picks, take Houston to win on the road.