Astros close in on playoff spot as they face Angels

National Sports

The Houston Astros are closing in on another American League West title, entering Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., with a magic number of four.

While the Astros obviously rely heavily on star such as Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, they have recently received production from other sources.

Rookie outfielders Chas McCormick and Jose Siri have made key contributions.

“The young guys bring energy and excitement, just like your kids do,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They bring the silly stuff. That’s the exuberance of youth. I’ve always liked the combination of the two. They bring you energy and life, and the veterans bring knowledge and wisdom.”

Siri was called up Sept. 3, then got his first career major league start on Sept. 13 and made an immediate impact, going 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs. He has started six of the past eight games. Overall in 13 games, Siri is hitting .333 (10-for-30) with four homers, eight RBIs and a 1.108 OPS.

McCormick has been with the big club all season, playing in 99 games, including 63 starts. Like Siri, McCormick homered in his first career major league start, hitting a three-run shot against the Oakland A’s on April 4.

Overall, McCormick is batting .252 with 13 homers, 48 RBIs and a .760 OPS.

The Astros will look hope their offense can keep rolling Wednesday after putting up 10-0 and 10-5 wins over the Angels in the first two games of the four-game series. Houston has won six of its past seven games while Los Angeles has dropped five in a row.

Right-hander Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) will start on the mound Wednesday for Houston, coming off a victory his last time out. He allowed just one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

His previous start, however, was a loss to the Angels on Sept. 11, when he allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. Garcia is 1-2 with a 4.74 ERA in six career games (four starts) against the Angels.

Right-hander Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will get the ball for Los Angeles, making the third start and appearance of his major league career. He pitched well in his most recent outing, Sept. 15 against the Chicago White Sox, giving up one run and three hits in 4 1/3 innings. He did not walk a batter, struck out two and made 61 pitches in all.

Junk came to the Angels in a July 30 trade from the Yankees, who acquired veteran lefty Andrew Heaney from the Angels. Junk was 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) this year for the Somerset Patriots, the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate in New Jersey, before going 2-2 with a 5.27 ERA in five starts for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, the Angels’ Double-A affiliate in Alabama.

“When we acquired him, a lot of guys spoke very highly of him, and when I looked him up, the numbers were good,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “And I’ve listened to conversations. He’s well-liked.”

–Field Level Media

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