Astros-Angels Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels may own one of the highest payrolls in baseball, but they also own a losing record to the thrifty Houston Astros.

The Angels will try to begin changing that Sunday against the Astros, who are looking for their longest winning streak in over a year.

Los Angeles (25-31) is expected to be a pennant contender with one of the highest payrolls in baseball at $148.5 million. Instead, the club is third in the AL West, 9 1/2 games behind first-place Texas.

The Angels are also having a hard time with the newest member of the division - Houston (19-37). They've dropped five of eight to the team with the lowest payroll in the majors at $27 million.

Los Angeles is batting .226 and averaging 3.2 runs while losing four of the previous five matchups, including the first two of this four-game wraparound series.

Those offensive issues were at the forefront Saturday, when the Angels were held to seven hits in a 2-0 loss - their fourth in six games.

''Tonight we had some chances with runners in scoring position and couldn't get it done,'' manager Mike Scioscia said.

Mark Trumbo, who is hitting .270 with a team-high 12 homers and 37 RBIs, has been a major culprit of their hitting woes against last-place Houston. He's hitting .226 with one homer and five RBIs over eight meetings, and he's 4 for 20 in the past five.

Production at the plate may be needed since C.J. Wilson (4-3, 3.95 ERA) is looking to rebound from his worst - and shortest - outing of the season. The left-hander was tagged for season highs of six runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings while not getting a decision in an 8-7 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.

Wilson struggled greatly in his last meeting with the Astros, surrendering seven runs - two earned - despite striking out a season-high 12 in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-6 road loss May 7.

He was much better against them at home April 14, yielding one run with four walks in six innings of a 4-1 victory.

The Astros are trying to extend their winning streak to five games for the first time since April 30-May 5, 2012.

Chris Carter and Jose Altuve will likely play a part in matching that run.

Carter is a career .217 hitter, but he owns a .327 average with six homers and 13 RBIs in 18 meetings with the Angels. However, he's been vital to Houston's success against them this year, going 9 for 25 (.360) with four homers and 10 RBIs after connecting for a two-run shot Saturday.

He's also 4 for 9 with a homer off Wilson.

Altuve is batting .364 against them this year, hitting safely in seven of the eight games.

Jordan Lyles (2-1, 4.50) could use the help if he's going to win for the second time in three starts. The 22-year-old right-hander is 1-0 while allowing two runs in 13 innings over his last two outings, but he was backed by one run in his most recent Tuesday.

Lyles allowed one run in seven innings while the offense mustered five hits in a 2-1 loss to Colorado.

"I think he's learned from his time last year," manager Bo Porter said. "I think he's learned from early on this year, and he was able to make quality pitches to get himself out of some tough jams and got the big strikeout when he needed it."

Lyles had six strikeouts while allowing three runs in five innings of a 7-6 win over Wilson last month.

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