With 21 of their next 28 games against teams with sub-.500 records, now is the time for the Angels to make a run.
However, the stretch did not begin as planned, with a 7-6 loss on Tuesday night against the Astros, a team that has impressed Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
"I think the first thing you notice, and I think we had it in our first scouting report, is the amount of energy that's on the field and how guys play," Scioscia said. "And as you kind of dovetail out into some of the specifics of their game, they're running the bases as aggressively as they can, they have some guys in the lineup that can definitely swing the bat and they can hurt you. There's a lot of young talent on that field. They're playing with purpose. As we found out at home, if you're going to beat them, you have to play well. They played us tough out there."
As the Angels look to start a winning streak on Wednesday, Joe Blanton will be looking for his first win of the season -- and as a member of the Angels. Although he is 0-5 with a 5.97 ERA, Blanton is coming off back-to-back quality starts.
If the Angels are to start that winning streak and get Blanton his first win, they will have to score some runs off of Astros' starter Bud Norris -- something they were unable to do earlier this season.
Norris faced the Angels in Anaheim and threw seven scoreless innings.
The Astros snapped a six-game losing streak on Tuesday and hope Norris can get them back-to-back wins for the first time since April 23-24 against the Mariners.
Angels: Madson nearing return
Ryan Madson's recovery from Tommy John surgery may be nearing its end. Madson threw a bullpen session prior to Tuesday's game at Minute Maid Park and is expected to pitch in extended spring training in Arizona later this week.
Madson wants to face live hitters every other day and join the Angels next week.
• Since landing on the disabled list in just his second start of the season, Angels ace Jered Weaver is expected to throw his first bullpen session on Thursday.
Weaver's rehab has taken longer than expected, but a bullpen session is a sign things are moving in the right direction.
Astros: Offense breaks out
The Astros erupted for more runs in the third inning against the Angels on Tuesday than they had scored in 10 of their 11 previous games. Of course, they had lost 10 of their previous 11 games. The outburst is something manager Bo Porter wants to see more often.
"Our players understand what it takes to be consistent, and the No. 1 thing we continue to drive home is when you get a good pitch to hit, you put a good swing on it," he said.
• Chris Carter has made 14 starts in left field this season, but with the additions of Trevor Crowe and Jimmy Parades, the Astros have more outfield options. Carter, who leads the Astros with seven home runs and is tied with Jose Altuve with 17 RBIs, played first base for the second time this season on Tuesday.
• Albert Pujols has hit 26 home runs at Minute Maid Park throughout his career -- the most by a visiting player. While Pujols has had success in Houston, he is hitting just .185 in 27 career at-bats against Norris.
• Astros slugger Carlos Pena is 5-for-12 and hitting .417 in his career off Blanton.
William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.