By Pete Zarustica
Kansas City never looked so good. After a brutal sweep by the Astros in Houston – especially the 13-3 rout on Sunday – the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will be glad to put the whole three horrible days behind them and take on the Royals starting on Monday.
The Angels (43-55) fell behind 8-0 after two innings, as the Astros (55-44) lit up two-time Cy Young Award-winner Tim Linceum. The Halos gave him a chance to recapture his glory days, but – except for one start – it looks like his future is behind him
Linceum (2-4) yielded eight runs in 1.2 innings to balloon his ERA to 8.70. The Astros got seven hits – including three home runs – and two walks. Six more relievers didn’t do much better, especially Jose Alvarez, who was touched for three runs on four hits, two home runs and three runs (just one of them earned).
Looking at his place on the Angel pitching staff, Lincecum said “I’m confident in the process, that this is part of what I’m going through right now. If it takes going through this, then it takes going through this. And if they have to make a decision that puts me in a different position, then I’ll be open to that.”
Andrelton Simmons again led the Angel offense, with two hits. Jett Bandy also has a good day at bat with two hits including a two-run home run, his fourth dinger of the season Overall, the Angels got 11 hits, but could only score three times because they were just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
The Astros, on the other hand, had 15 hits. Jose Altruve led the parade with three hits, including two home runs. He scored twice and ended up with six RBIs. Luis Valbuena also homered, as did Preston Tucker and Evan Gattis.
Another key to the Astros’ win and the Halos’ frustration was the pitching of Mike Fiers (7-4). Over seven innings he gave up nine hits but just three runs. He struck out two and walked none.
The loss keeps the Angels in fifth place in the American League West, now 13.5 games out of first place, and 11.5 games out of a playoff spot. Their playoff chances, as calculated by FanGraphs.com is 0.3 percent.
So it’s off to Missouri. And not a day too soon.