While they received some good news on Mike Trout's health, the Los Angeles Angels will likely have their star center fielder on the shelf again for the series finale in Houston.
Tyler Skaggs will try to help the Angels overcome Trout's absence Thursday night with another stellar outing against the Astros as Los Angeles looks to build momentum after ending a season-high losing streak.An MRI on Wednesday showed nothing significantly wrong with Trout's ailing back, so he's not expected to head to the disabled list. Trout, who could return for Friday's opener against the Chicago White Sox, has sat out three of the last four games and exited in the second inning of Tuesday's 7-2 loss in Houston."If I don't feel it at all, I'm going to play. If I feel it a little bit, I should just be smart about it," said Trout, batting .293 with 11 homers and a team-best 38 RBIs.With Trout out of the lineup, the Angels (31-27) managed to snap a four-game skid with a 4-0 victory Wednesday night. Los Angeles was outscored 33-13 during its losing streak."This is a big win for us. We had lost four straight, and we definitely needed to change the tone around the clubhouse after (a three-game sweep in Oakland)," reliever Joe Smith said.Skaggs (4-3, 4.14 ERA) will try to send the Angels out of Texas with a series victory by earning his third win in as many starts against the Astros (25-35). He's posted a 0.60 ERA in two matchups against Houston this season, striking out 11 and walking two over 15 innings.Outside of his domination against the Astros, Skaggs has been mostly inconsistent, and he's dropped his last two starts. The left-hander allowed four runs and matched a career high with five walks in his six innings Saturday in an 11-3 loss at Oakland.His counterpart in Wednesday's game, Brad Peacock (1-4, 4.76), will be trying to lead Houston to its ninth win in 12 games by earning his second victory in three outings. Peacock is 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last two starts after going 0-3 with a 5.02 ERA in his first five this season.Peacock gave up one run in six innings against Baltimore last Thursday but did not get a decision in a 3-1 victory."It feels great," Peacock told the Astros' website. "Just went out there, I wasn't scared, threw my fastball, kept the ball down."Peacock won his only start against the Angels last Aug. 16, allowing two unearned runs and four hits over 6 1/3 innings. By contrast, he gave up four runs and five hits in a three-inning relief appearance against the Angels on April 7.Albert Pujols doubled off Peacock in that 9-1 victory and has two of them in his three career at-bats versus the right-hander.While their team has struggled against Skaggs this season, Jason Castro is 2 for 3 against him, and Jose Altuve is 2 for 5.