Wednesday’s MLB slate is light on quality pitching matchups, but the volume of games always winds up giving us something to talk about. That is especially true of the game between the Los Angeles Angels and the New York Yankees with a 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch.
It will be Shohei Ohtani for the Angels in his first start in the Big Apple against Domingo German, as the Yankees try to get the bats going against a very tough left-hander. The Angels will hope to give Ohtani and the bullpen some run support prior to Thursday’s getaway day series finale.
The Yankees are favored in the -130 range at BetUS Sportsbook with a total of 9.5 for this one on a very warm night in the Bronx.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are accustomed to having the perennial favorite for MVP, but they haven’t had him for a while now. Mike Trout remains sidelined with the leg injury that has kept him out for the better part of six weeks. Fortunately for Los Angeles, a new MVP candidate has emerged.
That is Shohei Ohtani, who is doing things that only Babe Ruth has done in the past. Ohtani heads into this start with a 2.58 ERA and a 3.52 FIP over 11 starts covering 59.1 innings of work. Ohtani has struck out 82 batters and walked 31, but the high walk rate that he had very early in the season continues to skew his numbers. Ohtani has only issued five walks over his last four starts.
Ohtani actually walked 19 over his first four starts, so he has only walked 12 in his last seven starts. He’s only allowed 39 hits on the season. Six have left the park, which are 20 fewer home runs than he has as a batter. What he is doing is simply astonishing and he deserves all of the accolades and praise that he is getting.
He’s also been the best starting pitcher for the Angels in a year where they’ve had a lot of problems on the pitching front. Los Angeles has squandered what is a top-five offense by performing so poorly on the pitching side of things. The bullpen is below average, especially if you take Raisel Iglesias out of the equation, and the starting staff has all sorts of high ERAs, high home run rates, and other problems.
The crazy thing about the Los Angeles offense is that Anthony Rendon has been a below average player and Trout has been limited to 36 games and just 146 plate appearances. Of course, he is still second among position players in fWAR, trailing only Ohtani, who has 3.2 fWAR as a batter and 1.3 as a pitcher.
New York Yankees
Discontent has been the feeling of the day for Yankees fans throughout most of the season. New York’s bats have made a lot of hard contact this season, but it has not translated into runs. Seven players counted on for big seasons have been disappointments, like Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu. The Yankees have not gotten a lot of strong efforts from most of the roster, even though Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have stayed healthier than they’ve been in recent seasons.
One knock on the Yankees, who have basically ranked first or second in Hard Hit% throughout most of the season, is that they hit way too many ground balls. With the comically short dimensions down the lines and the decent carry to the alleys in the summertime, it makes no sense that the Yankees would shy away from hitting fly balls.
They have and it has hurt in a big way. That isn’t the only problem for New York. The Yankees are also one of the least productive offenses with runners in scoring position. New York went into Tuesday’s game ranked 28th in plate appearances with a runner in scoring position, 29th in batting average, and 30th in SLG. They just aren’t creating enough chances and aren’t cashing in the ones that they have gotten.
That puts a lot of strain on the pitching staff and guys like Domingo German. German has a 4.32 ERA with a 4.53 FIP in his 73 innings of work this season. The right-hander missed all of 2020 with a domestic violence suspension, so it has been helpful for the Yankees that he has been basically an average pitcher most of the season.
German has only issued 16 walks, but he has allowed 14 home runs on the season. Fortunately for him, a lot of those have been solo home runs. German has not pitched well recently, though, with 15 runs allowed on 22 hits in his last 12.1 innings of work.
Angels vs. Yankees Free Pick
It is hard to go against Ohtani and the Angels here. German is in a real rough patch and has allowed a lot of high-velocity contact in his last two starts. The Yankees aren’t doing anything of consequence against pitchers that aren’t even on Ohtani’s level and it’s become a really big mental hurdle to overcome. Los Angeles should be able to take care of business in an underdog role here.
Pick: Los Angeles Angels