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My consensus take about this Angels series is that the Astros are so back. They had a prime opportunity to sweep the Angels in Anaheim, but lost game one of the series in the late innings. Hunter Brown didn’t have his best stuff Monday night, and the bullpen couldn’t get through what is a tough Angels lineup cleanly.
However, losing game one of a series isn’t the end of the world when you have Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier as your next two starting pitchers in a series. Game two was a pitchers duel of sorts, and as I wrote yesterday, Framber Valdez has pretty much replaced Justin Verlander as the Astros Ace.
Framber threw eight innings of one run ball, and struck out 12 batters along the way. That’s the type of stuff you love to see from you Ace, and the offense did just enough to get the series tied up at one game a piece.
In the game three rubber match, Yordan Alvarez decided to do the thing and hit a solo homer in the top of the first inning to get the Astros on the board. The Angels quickly took the lead back off of a Hunter Renfroe two-run homer in the second inning, but for the first time in a minute, the Astros offense looked to be their normal selves.
There were baserunners constantly, and the mentality of getting the next guy up to the plate looked to be super prevalent. In the fourth inning, the lineup kept getting the next guy up to the plate, and they put up four runs in a few different ways. It was normal Astros baseball, and it was a beautiful sight to see.
Jeremy Peña capped the four run inning with a two run single with the bases loaded and two outs. He laid off a slider or two in the at-bat, and that extra run proved to be the most important at the end of the game.
Cristian Javier followed up Framber’s lights out 8 IP and 12 SO game with a gem of his own. Javi threw six innings, 2 ER, and 11 SO to keep the Angels at bay for a majority of the game. When both Framber and Javi are pitching like they did this series, it’s going to be tough sledding for any team during a series against the Astros.
The Angels made a late bid to win the game in the ninth inning, but the Astros prevailed 5-4, and won a series. The offense seemed to be clicking more than usual, and the starting pitching was superb. That’s what we’re used to as Astros fans, and that’s what we’ve come to expect from this team. The Astros have an off day Thursday before playing the Chicago White Sox in the South Side.
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