Houston Astros (83-76) at Los Angeles Angels (72-87)
Friday, September 30 - 10:05 PM EST
Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California
The Houston Astros conclude their season with a three-game road series beginning Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, one day after being eliminated from American League wild-card contention. Many believed Houston would continue the momentum from its wild-card victory in 2015 with a nucleus of young players such as Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel and Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa, but the Astros couldn't rebound from a 17-28 start or overcome Keuchel's injury-plagued season.
The Astros (83-76) appeared poised to make a final run at the playoffs, but lost three of four to Los Angeles last weekend and concluded a 43-38 season at home by dropping two of three to Seattle. Los Angeles' postseason hopes ended long ago, but the Angels (72-87) are finishing strong as Wednesday's 8-6 victory over Oakland gave them a three-game series sweep and their seventh win in eight contests. Los Angeles' Albert Pujols, whose 591 home runs are ninth all-time, has 602 doubles and needs one to tie Cal Ripken Jr. for 14th all-time. The Astros' Brad Peacock puts his perfect record against the Angels on the line and opposes rookie Daniel Wright, who is still looking for his first victory in an Angels' uniform.
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, ROOT (Houston), FSN West (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Brad Peacock (0-0, 2.67 ERA) vs. Angels RH Daniel Wright (0-5, 6.95)
Peacock makes his fifth start of the season after moving from the bullpen. The 28-year-old Florida native allowed one run, one hit, walked two and struck out seven in five innings of Houston's 10-4 loss to Los Angeles on Saturday. Pujols and Mike Trout are a combined 6-for-22 and Kole Calhoun is 1-for-12 versus Peacock, who is 3-0 with a 4.00 ERA in six games (four starts) versus the Angels.
Wright yielded three runs, seven hits (two home runs) and two walks while striking out four in six innings of a 4-1 loss in Houston on Sunday. The Astros' Evan Gattis and Tony Kemp went deep against the 25-year-old Tennessee native. Wright, who began the season with Cincinnati before being claimed off waivers by Los Angeles in early September, is 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA in four starts with the Angels.
1. Trout (99 RBIs) was hit in the left shoulder blade by John Axford's fastball Wednesday. X-rays taken Thursday were negative, and Trout's outlook is positive for the weekend. "I want to (play), I'll tell you that," Trout told reporters. "We've got three games left, so I'm going to try to grind it out."
2. Houston 2B Jose Altuve (.337) owns a sizable lead in the AL batting race as he pursues his second title in three years. Altuve, who hit .341 in 2014, also boasts career bests of 24 home runs, 96 RBIs, .396 on-base percentage, .534 slugging percentage and a .930 OPS this season.
3. The Astros won 11 straight versus the Angels prior to last weekend and lead the season series 12-4.
PREDICTION: Angels 3, Astros 2