Major League Baseball
Preview
LA Angels at Houston
When: 7:10 PM ET, Saturday, July 23, 2016
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

The Houston Astros are edging closer to first place in the American League West, and their dominance over a division rival has put them in striking position. The Astros go for their 10th consecutive victory over the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Saturday in the second contest of their three-game series.

Houston moved within 2 1/2 games of AL West-leading Texas with a 2-1 victory on Friday to halt Los Angeles' six-game winning streak. Jose Altuve is riding a seven-game hitting streak and has recorded multiple hits in five straight contests to lift his major league-best batting average to .358 and help the Astros improve to 15-5 in their last 20 games at Minute Maid Park. Angels star Mike Trout entered the series batting .355 versus Houston this season, but he struck out three times Friday for the first time since Sept. 16, 2015. Los Angeles will look to end the Astros' mastery in the season series when it sends Jered Weaver to the mound to oppose Collin McHugh.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), ROOT (Houston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Jered Weaver (8-7, 5.02 ERA) vs. Astros RH Collin McHugh (6-6, 4.25)

Weaver is coming off one of his top efforts of the season, as he gave up one run over seven innings to beat the Chicago White Sox and win back-to-back starts for the first time since April. He did not fare well in two home outings against the Astros this season, getting rocked for six runs on June 29 and giving up four in six innings on May 28. Altuve (13-for-33) and George Springer (8-for-18, 2 HRs) both have tormented Weaver.

McHugh appears to have put his early-season troubles behind him and is starting to resemble the pitcher that racked up 19 victories in 2015. He halted a seven-start winless drought by blanking Seattle on four hits over six innings while matching his season high with 10 strikeouts. McHugh has allowed a total of 10 runs over his last six turns, including back-to-back starts versus the Angels last month in which he gave up two runs in each.

WALK-OFFS

1. Altuve is 14-for-21 over his last five games to boost his batting average 18 points.

2. Angels SS Andrelton Simmons is 7-for-15 over his last four contests.

3. Astros LF Colby Rasmus is 0-for-24 over his last six games.

PREDICTION: Astros 4, Angels 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
LA Angels 43-53 L1 22-26 21-27 6-14 13-9 18-21 6-9
Houston 52-44 W2 29-19 23-25 7-9 12-10 25-21 8-4
Last Meeting
LA Angels Houston
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/22/16 LAA 1 HOU 2 .167 0 .431 .233 0 .603
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
LA Angels A. Pujols .355 11 1.074
Houston J. Altuve .500 20 1.258
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
LA Angels M. Trout 2 6 7
Houston C. Correa 4 7 18
Pitching ERA Avg K
LA Angels 5.20 .231 82
Houston 2.81 .295 72
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
LA Angels M. Trout .317 109 .985
Houston J. Altuve .358 135 .990
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
LA Angels M. Trout 19 75 62
Houston G. Springer 21 68 56
Pitching ERA Avg K
LA Angels 4.36 .267 686
Houston 3.77 .245 815