The Astros come off their first series win of the season and head into Anaheim, where one of the dominant stories is likely to be how much more the Angels pay their players than the Astros pay theirs.
The game starts at 9:05pm Central and can be seen on MLB.tv (if you have a little program that can do some interesting things that may help in that regard).
*The Astros and Angels have played six times, and split the all-time series 3-3. They last played in 2007, when the Angels won the series 2-1 and your lone Astro winner was Jason Jennings.
*The Astros face Tommy Hanson, a 26-year old 6'6" 260lb RHP out of Tulsa. He was drafted in the 22nd Round of the 2005 draft by the Braves, and was traded back in November from Atlanta to Anaheim for Jordan Walden.
*In four seasons with Atlanta, Hanson was 45-32 with a 3.61 ERA/1.25 WHIP and threw 170+ IP twice.
*He made his Major-League debut on June 7, 2009, having been called up
to replace Tom Glavine, whom the Braves cut four days earlier.
*2012 was the first season his ERA+ was under 100, when he posted a 90 ERA+ on the strength of a 4.48 ERA/1.45 WHIP (both career-highs).
*As he spent the last four seasons, he has some experience pitching against Houston. In five career starts against the Astros (34IP), Hanson is 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA, 43K:8BB.
*On April 10, 2012, he threw 5IP, 6H/2ER, 8K:3BB at Minute Maid.
*On June 12, 2011, Hanson threw 7IP, 3H/1ER, 14K:2BB in a win over Houston. Those 14Ks matched a career-high in strikeouts by a pitcher at Minute Maid Park (initially set by Bud Norris), and matched by Yu Darvish in G2 of the 2013 season.
*Hanson was put on the DL on July 31, 2012 with a lower back strain.
*Hanson seems to have lost some bite on his fastball in his one start this season (to which we'll get in a second). Hanson's fastball velocity by year, 2010-2013: 92.7mph, 91.1mph, 89.6mph, 87.7mph.
*He also throws a slider that sat at 78.9mph, with an 84.2mph changeup, and a 70.7mph curve (all numbers courtesy of FanGraphs).
*Hanson got the start on April 6 at Texas, getting one of Anaheim's two wins of the season, throwing 6IP, 6H/3ER, 4K:0BB, 2HR and 2WP. 56 of his 90 pitches were thrown for strikes, and 25 of those strikes were looking.
*Brett Wallace leads the way among current Astros in PAs vs. Hanson. But he's 0x9 with 5Ks against him for his career. Rick Ankiel is 2x5 with a homer and a walk; Carlos Pena is 1x5 with a walk. And Ronny Cedeno is 2x5. All told, current Astros are 8x41 with 18K:2BB against Hanson.
*Bud Norris has only ever faced two current Angels: Albert Pujols (5x26, 3K:2BB) and Chris Iannetta (1x3).
*Also keep an eye out for former Astro J.B. Shuck, who currently plays for Anaheim, and is 1x4 with 2Ks.