Angels hope Trout can play series finale vs. Astros

ANAHEIM, CA — Mike Trout was announced as the starting center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels only to be scratched at the last minute with left hamstring tightness on Saturday.

Heading into Sunday’s rubber game of a three-game series with the Houston Astros, Trout is considered day-to-day.

Trout missed Thursday’s 11-3 loss in Seattle with the injury and extended his hitting streak to 17 games Friday. However, despite being announced to the fans as being in the lineup, Trout sat out after it flared up during warmups for Saturday’s game.

“It actually started three or four days ago,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “We gave him the day off (Thursday) and he bounced back (and) felt good. In pregame warmups, it tightened up a little bit.

“We’re going to exercise every precaution, especially with a hamstring. He plays a demanding position in center and he needs to be able to move and we don’t want to put him at risk right now. We’ll see how feels tomorrow.”

Trout is hitting .355 with eight home runs and 21 RBIs this season.

If Trout plays, the starting pitchers for both teams enter Sunday with an urgency to start better results.

Los Angeles right-hander Matt Shoemaker (1-1, 4.72 ERA) won his first game of the season against Oakland two starts ago. It was his first win since suffering a fractured skull when hit by a line drive by Kyle Seager last September.

In his six starts this season, he has allowed two runs four times and three once.

But Shoemaker has yet to pitch deep into games. He went seven innings in a 2-1 loss last month to the Astros and it is the only time he pitched more than 5 1/3 innings. He’s been up to 97 to 105 pitches in all but one start when turning the game over to the bullpen.

The Angels have had eight pitchers on the disabled list this season and has already used 21 different pitchers, a major league high.

“Matt has pitched well, there’s just usually been a moment in the game when he gets in some trouble,” Scioscia said. “He’s been grinding in a lot of games.”

Shoemaker is 2-4 lifetime against the Astros in 11 games, ten of them starts, with a 3.46 ERA and opponent average of .235. Last season he had three tough luck losses to the Astros, getting only five runs in support.

The only Astro with notable numbers against him is Jose Altuve (.348, two home runs).

Mike Fiers (0-1, 5.68) came to the Astros in the Carlos Gomez deal in 2015. The latter is gone; Fiers pitched the first no-hitter in Minute Maid Park in 2015 against the Dodgers and went 11-8 last season.

But Fiers, who beaned Giancarlo Stanton to end the Miami slugger’s season in 2014 while with Milwaukee, has been serving up home runs at an alarming rate in 2017, allowing 12 in 25 1/3 innings.

He allowed four in his last start, against the Rangers in a game the Astros came back to win on Tuesday.

“I felt like I was throwing the ball well, it was just location. There was one cheap one, but they battled,” Fiers said.

Fiers, who is 1-2 with a 5.28 career ERA against the Angels in five starts, has had four quality starts in those five games despite the gaudy ERA.

There has been talk of Fiers being moved to the bullpen, but that’s unlikely with Collin McHugh months away from a return after suffering an elbow injury.

The Angels evened the series with a 2-1 victory when Kole Calhoun scored the winning run on a single by Andrelton Simmons in the ninth inning. The win stopped a three-game losing streak, which followed a stretch of seven wins in eight games.

The Astros will be looking for their eighth series win in ten series this season, and their second of the season against the Angels.