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Jun 6, 2024 7:57 pm

Astros going through pains entering series at Angels

alex bregman

The 2024 season has not met expectations for the Houston Astros, winners of the American League West in six of the past seven years but in third place this campaign.

Nor has it been the typical strong season for Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who finished as high as second in the AL MVP voting in 2019.

Bregman is expected to be back in the lineup Friday when the Astros visit the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., hoping his left hand is feeling good enough to get back in the batter’s box.

Bregman was hit by a pitch on the hand on Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals and was unable to play in Wednesday’s game. X-rays were negative.

“I just took some swings — it was super tender and sore,” Bregman said Wednesday. “Went to just double-check, everything checked out good. I’ll be ready to go on Friday.”

Bregman is hitting just .230 with an OPS of .697, both of which would be career lows at season’s end.

Kyle Tucker, though, may not be ready for Friday’s game, as the Astros right fielder is still recovering from a bruised right shin. He fouled a ball off the shin in Monday’s game against the Cardinals and hasn’t played since, though X-rays were negative.

Left-hander Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.95 ERA), coming off one of his best starts, will make his 10th start of the season. Last Saturday against Minnesota, Valdez gave up just one run and two hits in seven innings of a 5-2 victory.

Valdez has faced the Angels more than any other team in the majors, going 9-5 with a 4.18 ERA in 19 games (15 starts) against them.

Right-hander Griffin Canning (2-5, 4.69) will make his 13th start of the season for Los Angeles, and is coming off one his best starts as well. Though he was tagged with a loss on Sunday in a 5-1 outcome against Seattle, Canning gave up one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.

The Angels are coming off their first home series win of the season, a sweep of the San Diego Padres. Even with the sweep, they are just 10-21 in Anaheim this season.

The Angels are one of the majors’ youngest teams, but they prefer not to make that an excuse.

“(The sweep) shows a lot and that we can hang with anyone,” shortstop Zach Neto said. “It doesn’t matter how young our team is. We have the right guys in this locker room to go out there every day and show what we got. But it gives us a lot of confidence and, hopefully, gives our fans confidence we can win at home.”

Angels manager Ron Washington, however, said that while the sweep was nice, his team needs to carry that quality of play into this weekend’s series against Houston.

“It was a great three games against a good team,” Washington said. “I think we proved we can play and now we need to find that consistency.”

–Field Level Media

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