I think we can all agree - there isn't anyone in the major leagues quite like Shohei Ohtani. Perhaps no one for over a hundred years.
And BetOnline customers don't have to wait that long tosee his kind again, as he is pitching Wednesday night (9:38 PM ET), as his team is playing in Anaheim.
Yes, the Los Angeles Angels are lucky to have him. But they are unlucky in the respect that they have a great team ahead of them in the American League West. Well, and also that once again, they just can't seem to get out of their own way. With a 36-41 record, they are twelve games behind the Houston Astros.
The Chicago White Sox are three games below the .500 mark (35-38). But after winning the AL Central by 13 games last year, it's safe to say more was expected, despite the free agent loss of ace starter Carlos Rodon. Manager Tony LaRussa keeps saying and doing weird things; the latest is that he wants his players to take it easy going to first base on walks and easy outs, as if baseball players are called upon to do an extraordinary amount of running in every game. But actually, Chicago, which has stolen 35 out of 37 bases, has a few players nursing leg injuries, and that was part of LaRussa's program.
Meanwhile, the Angels canned Joe Maddon, who was generally regarded as one of the finest managers in baseball, during a particularly rough stretch, and Phil Nevin, once the #1 pick in MLB's amateur draft, has taken his place on an interim basis. He's got a 9-12 record.
The White Sox will go with right-hander Michael Kopech, who throws incredibly hard but sometimes doesn'[t find the strike zone. Still, he has a 1.005 WHIP due to the fact that hitters have a hard time getting the bat on the ball - he's given up 4.9 hits per nine innings, which is absurdly low.
In the MLB betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Angels and Ohtani are favored:
Los Angeles Angels (Ohtani) -182
Chicago White Sox (Kopech) +157
Over 7.5 Runs -114
Under 7.5 Runs -106
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Ohtani (6-4, 2.90) recently completed back-to-games where in the first, he had eight RBI's, and in the second he struck out 13 batters. No one else has ever done that. And in that 13-K game he walked only one batter. The comparisons with the two-way exploits of Babe Ruth have been constantly brought up, but truth be told, Ruth was not a big strikeout pitcher and had only a 1.1 ratio of whiffs to walks. Ohtani has struck out 5.63 batters to every base on balls he's issued.
Yet, the Angels are only 6-6 in the games he's started. In three of those games they have scored two runs or less, and there have been failings in the bullpen as well.
Back to the Ruth thing.You know, if you looked at the Babe's record, you'll see that there wasn't a heck of a lot of overlap between his stint as a Boston Red Sox starter and his time smashing home runs from an outfield spot. When you look at the years 1915-19, he won two home run titles while in the Boson rotation, and those were the only season sin which he had more than 136 at bats.
Indications are that Ohtani is going to be pulling double duty for longer than that. The only factor that held him back was an injury that took him off the mound in 2019 and most of 2020.
One thing you have to remember here is that you're usually going to pay a premium with the Angels when they have the highly-celebrated Ohtani on the mound. And perhaps that is an opportunity for the White Sox, even though, as mentioned, they have those injuries and Kopech isn't particularly "accurate." So there might usually be a value play with the underdog, as the Angels aren't even over .500 with their ace on the mound. But the price of -125 on the Angels leading after five innings may be the way we go here, as Kopech has had a hard time keeping runners on base.
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