Should the Angels be Concerned that they Can’t Beat the Astros?

Updated: May 8, 2017

It was another tough weekend for the Angels, who lost yet another series to their rival Houston Astros. At 16-17, the Angels are in second place in A.L. West, five and a half games back of the 21-11 ‘Stros. The Angels have struggled in recent years against Houston, going 37-44 against them since they joined the A.L. West. They’ve had a losing record every year except for 2014, where they wen’t 12-7 against them. Every other year, they’re 25-37, with a 7-17 record against them over the last two seasons, a record that includes a ten-game losing streak. It should come as no surprise, then, that the struggles have continued this year.

The Angels are struggling against most teams, not just the Astros, so there are bigger worries here than just Houston. The  Halos are going to need to start beating teams like the Astros though if they want to have any chance at contending. Considering that Houston is clearly the best team in the division, the Angels’ division crown hopes are nothing but a pipe dream if they don’t start winning against them. It’s a tall order, given all the injuries. It’s also worth nothing that the Angels were without Trout for two-thirds of the series. It’s hard to say that the outcomes would have been any different with Trout, though, as its the pitching that continues to disappoint.

So should the Angels be concerned about the losses piling up against the Astros? Yes and no. There are a lot of teams that can’t be the Astros. Houston looks like it could stake a claim as the best team in the American League, and are just plain better than the Angels. Any win that the Angels do claim against the Astros is a bonus, considering how much better the Astros look. Facing a team like the Astros often does shine a light on just how thin and talent-starved the Angels are in comparison. Houston boasts young stars Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, George Springer, Lance McCullers, and Ken Giles, among others. The Angels just can’t match up, particularly given their injuries to key players.

At some point the Angels are going to have to start beating the Astros. Maybe this isn’t their year, but the Angels can’t be taken seriously as division contenders until they prove they can hang with Houston. Right now, the talent gap is too obvious. The Astros have done a great job of rebuilding their team with great draft picks and key depth signings, and stand as a shining example of what tearing it down and rebuilding can lead to. The Angels can look towards the Astros and their trades of players like Hunter Pence, Roy Oswalt, and Carlos Beltran if they ever decide to start a rebuild. For now, the Angels need to concerned with just winning consistently before they can worry about beating the Astros.

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