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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, July 6 (All times Eastern)
Houston Astros (36-53) at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (50-36), 3:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Collin McHugh (4-7, 3.12) Los Angeles - Garrett Richards (9-2, 2.81)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Fresh off earning their 50th win of the season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will try to complete a four-game sweep of the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Sunday.
David Freese, Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron each homered during an eight-run seventh inning which allowed the Angels to run away with a 11-5 victory on Saturday. The win followed victories by Los Angeles in the first two games of the weekend series.
Hector Santiago made the start for the Angels on Saturday but did not have his best stuff, allowing five runs on six hits in five innings. However, he was saved from the loss by the offensive eruption in the seventh inning.
Michael Roth threw two scoreless innings in relief to earn the win, which was the fifth in the last six games for the Angels.
Anthony Bass, Tony Sipp and Josh Zeid combined to allow all eight runs in the seventh inning, with Sipp failing to even record an out. Bass let up the first four runs and took the loss. The poor effort out of the bullpen wasted a solid start from Scott Feldman, who allowed just two runs over six innings.
Houston was not without some offensive punch of its own. Chris Carter homered for the second straight game when he hit a grand slam during a five-run third inning, but it was not enough for the Astros, who have lost six straight and are tied with Arizona for the worst record in baseball (36-53).
McHugh entered his third season in the majors with a career ERA of 8.26. This season he has posted a 3.22 ERA and is 4-7 in 13 total starts for the Astros. He has also thrown 78 1/3 innings, after throwing fewer than 50 in two seasons between the Mets and Rockies.
However, McHugh's ERA has been inching upward of late, especially after his last start when he allowed a season-worst five runs over six innings of work in a 10-4 loss to Seattle. It was his fourth-straight losing decision and the eighth time the Astros have lost when he has started.
The 27-year-old has pitched against the Angels twice this season. In the first start on May 21 he allowed two runs over seven innings in a 2-1 loss. He followed that up by tossing five shutout innings on June 3 to help Houston to a 7-2 victory.
Garrett Richards will take aim at his 10th win of the season when he makes the start for the Angels.
The 26-year-old has really come into his own in his fourth season at the Major League level. He leads all Angels starters with a 2.81 ERA and his nine wins are tied with staff ace Jered Weaver for the most on the team.
Richards' incredible year has been built on impressive boosts to his strikeout rate, as he is punching out 8.9 batters per nine innings. His previous career high of 6.3 was set last season. In fact his 108 strikeouts this year, tops the 101 he had last season, which came over 145 innings. Richards has thrown 109 innings this season.
Richards, who has earned the win in five of his last six starts, beat the White Sox on Tuesday when he allowed three runs on just two hits and as many walks in eight innings of work. He also struck out nine batters, marking the fourth time this season he has had reached that many strikeouts in a contest.
In his three starts against Houston this season, Richards has had mixed success. He won his first start of the season against the Astros on April 4 when he allowed just one run in five innings. He then took his first loss of the year when he allowed five runs on a season-high 10 hits over seven innings on May 19. His most recent start against them was his best, however, as he threw eight shutout innings in a 4-0 win on June 4. In all he is 3-1 with a 4.19 ERA in eight career matchups with Houston.
The Angels have won nine of 13 versus the Astros this season, taking two of three in the first series held in Anaheim from May 19-21.
07/06 10:21:53 ET
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