Neither the Astros nor the Angels will be playing in October, but Saturday's matchup still presents some storylines.
The Astros will want to see if rookie Brett Oberholtzer can continue to put up impressive numbers, while the Angels want to make sure Jered Weaver is 100 percent. And while the Angels' win streak ended at three in Friday's opener, the Astros are going for their fifth straight victory.
Oberholtzer is 4-2 with a 1.91 ERA in seven starts since joining the rotation and has allowed one run across 15 innings in his past two starts.
"I just want to see the consistency stay the same," pitching coach Doug Brocail said. "The kid is a bulldog on the mound and has been pitching well. I have no complaints. The kids are pitching phenomenal. It's nice to see the youth is paying off."
Weaver gave up three runs in six innings during his Monday start in Minnesota, but left the game after only 89 pitches with minor soreness in his right forearm. While he is expected to be fine, the Angels' pitching staff is finally coming around of late after being hampered by injuries early in the season.
"It just started tightening up in the third or fourth," Weaver said. "I got through the sixth inning and [Angels manger Mike] Scioscia didn't want to push it any more, which is understandable. It's nothing concerning. Just maybe [with] the hot, humid air, and losing a lot of fluids and stuff, it started tightening up there a little bit, but it's not a concern."
Angels: Kendrick returns in opener
Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick missed 33 games with a hyperextended left knee, but returned to the lineup Friday, recording the game's first hit and scoring a run in a 2-for-5 night.
With each of the Angels' top three Minor League affiliates in the playoffs, there was no real chance to send Kendrick on a rehab assignment, so the Angels are keeping a close eye on him in his return.
"Sometimes guys are out for a while, they come back and look like they never missed a beat," Scioscia said. "Sometimes guys need time. I'm sure there are going to be some rough patches that I'll have to smooth out, but he's ready to go. He feels good."
Astros: Castro hopes to DH this weekend
Astros catcher Jason Castro is not ready to catch, but will be available to pinch-hit and and possibly DH during the weekend series.
Castro had a cyst on his knee drained last week in Oakland and is hoping to get back behind the plate before the season ends, but is not going to rush. He played twice since having the cyst trained and went a combined 0-for-9 with four strikeouts before deciding he needed more rest.
"It's definitely feeling better and the rest was definitely what I needed," Castro said. "I just think we didn't give it enough time after having it drained. That's what we backed off a little bit and wanted to give it four or five days or so to kind of get back to normal after having that done."
• Oberholtzer beat the Angels on Aug. 18, when he allowed three runs in six innings in Anaheim.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.