The Los Angeles Angels will try for a four-game sweep against the Houston Astros when they meet on Sunday afternoon in Anaheim, Calif.
The Angels came from behind twice in their last at-bats on Saturday to sweep a doubleheader against the Astros and give them a season-high four-game win streak.
Los Angeles (16-25) also climbed within six games of the final playoff spot in the West with 19 games left. Another win on Sunday and they’ll draw a game closer.
“We’ve got to maintain this type of spirit and attitude moving forward,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said after the doubleheader win.
Houston (21-18) is 3 1/2 games back of the Oakland A’s for the American League West lead after entering Saturday two games back.
More troubling, the Astros placed 2017 AL MVP second baseman Jose Altuve on the 10-day injured list on Saturday with a right knee sprain. The injury forced him out of Thursday’s game against the Texas Rangers.
Houston manager Dusty Baker said Altuve’s knee felt a little better on Saturday, but he’ll be unavailable for the five-game series in Oakland beginning Monday.
“It’s a big blow, but what do you do?” Baker said. “You can either complain about it or go ahead and try to adjust. The other guys just got to pick it up the way we’ve done all year.”
Jack Mayfield started at second base for the first game of the doubleheader and produced a single and run scored.
Mayfield moved to third base for the second game and delivered another single and run scored, while Aledmys Diaz went 0-for-4 with a strikeout while playing second.
The Astros will count on left-hander Framber Valdez to continue pitching deep into games after they used eight pitchers in the doubleheader.
Valdez (3-2, 2.58 ERA) has gone at least seven innings in four of his past five outings, most recently allowing three runs and five hits in seven innings of a 6-5 10-inning loss to the Rangers on Tuesday.
Valdez also pitched well against the Angels in his previous two appearances this season.
He did not allow an earned run over 6 1/3 innings of relief in Anaheim on Aug. 2, allowing the Astros to eventually win 6-5 in 11 innings.
He started against Los Angeles on Aug. 24 in Houston and allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings while striking out a career-high 11 in the 11-4 win.
Valdez is 4-2 overall in his career against Los Angeles with a 3.20 ERA in eight appearances, four starts.
Angels center fielder Mike Trout, who reached base in 10 of his first 11 trips to the plate in this series, is 0-for-7 in his career off Valdez with three strikeouts.
Jaime Barria (0-0, 2.63 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Angels.
He pitched well in relief when the Angels were in Houston early last week, allowing one run and one hit over five innings in a 6-3 loss in the opener of a doubleheader.
Barria is 1-3 in eight career appearances (seven starts) against the Astros with a 4.23 ERA.
Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel is 5-for-10 off Barria with four doubles.
–Field Level Media