Angels avoid sweep with 2-1 win over Astros on Sunday

Chase Silseth pitched great and Shohei Ohtani hit his 41st home run of the season as the Angels picked up a a 2-1 win against the Astros on Sunday.

The Angels had lost the first two games of this Astros series both 11-3 and they really needed a win on Sunday to have some momentum going into the Texas series tomorrow. Chase Silseth continued to pitch excellent, and Jose Soriano, Reynaldo Lopez, Matt Moore, and Carlos Estevez all pitched great out of the bullpen. The Angels offense only needed a Mickey Moniak RBI double and a Shohei Ohtani home run to get the victory 2-1.

Here are my three takeaways from the game:

Chase Silseth dominates yet again

At this point it really doesn’t matter who Chase Silseth is pitching against…he will dominate and give the Angels a chance to win. Silseth has give up just 4 earned runs over his last 22.2 innings pitched boasting a 1.59 ERA over that span. Two starts ago, Silseth threw 5 innings of 1 run ball against the Braves, and last weekend he had arguably the best performance of his young career against the Mariners where he threw 7 innings and struck out 12 guys. On Sunday, Silseth was up against perhaps the best team in the American League in the Astros and he pitched great again throwing 5 innings of shutout ball with 5 strikeouts and just 4 hits allowed.

In the midst of unreliable pitching performances from the Angels pitching staff, Silseth has been one of the few bright spots and consistent arms, a guy that gives the Halos a chance to win every time he steps on the mound. Especially after losing by 8 runs two days in a row, the Angels really needed Silseth to mitigate the Astros scorching bats and he did just that. Overall on the season, Silseth’s ERA is now down to 3.27 and he’s added 46 strikeouts in 41.1 innings pitched. Regardless of what happens in the offseason with Shohei Ohtani, if Silseth continues to pitch like this he will be a mainstay in the Angels rotation for years to come. 

Shohei Ohtani launches his 41st home run of the year

It has been a “rough” couple of weeks for Shohei a Ohtani at the plate as he’s gone just 17 for his last 50 with just 2 home runs. Those numbers aren’t obviously bad as Ohtani hit about .340 over that span, but from what people have grown accustomed to seeing from him, just 2 home runs over his last 14 games is relatively concerning. Ohtani had 39 home runs by July 28th, 23 of which were hit from June 1st to July 31st, and with just 2 home runs over the last 14 games, it begs the question is Ohtani just exhausted?

When the Angels were still in the playoff race, Ohtani was putting the team on his back every single night (at the plate and on the mound) and that exerted a lot of energy out of him. He struggled with blisters on his pitching hand throughout July and after throwing a complete game shutout and hitting 2 home runs vs the Tigers in a doubleheader just a few weeks back, Ohtani experienced back pain and exhaustion at a level he hasn’t felt before. The lack of home runs recently is probably due to exhaustion, and Ohtani also won’t pitch on Wednesday due to that exhaustion. Overall, Ohtani will still unanimously win the AL MVP, and even though the Angels are effectively out of the playoff race right now, it’s nice to see Ohtani back to his old ways of hitting mammoth home runs.

Estevez pitches 1-2-3 9th inning for save

Carlos Estevez certainly hasn’t been the dominant force he was early on in the season. Two weeks ago with a 5-3 lead against the Mariners in game 1 of the series, Estevez gave up a grand slam to Cade Marlowe that effectively lost the Angels the game. All of the Angels momentum they had built up in the previous weeks going into that pivotal series vs Seattle all went away. In fact, the Angels ended up getting swept over that 4 game series. Just last Monday against the Giants, Estevez struggled yet again giving up 5 runs in the 9th inning to lose the first game of that series as well.

The Angels won the following 2 games and Estevez did redeem himself picking up a save in last Wednesdays game, but the Angels really should have swept the Giants. Despite the Angels losing the first two games of this series against Houston 11-3, they were up 2-1 entering the bottom of the 9th inning and it was time for Estevez to come into a close game and pick up the save. He did just that as he pitched a 1-2-3 9th striking out 2 batters in the process to pick up his 25th save of the season. Despite a tumultuous last few weeks for Estevez, he found a way to pitch great in the biggest moment of Sundays game against a very good team. 

Despite dropping the first two games of this series, the Angels won on Sunday and are 6.5 games back out of the 3rd Wild Card spot entering Mondays series against the Rangers. Patrick Sandoval is set to pitch against Max Scherzer in Mondays game with first pitch scheduled for 5:05 PM PST.