As the Los Angeles Angels currently sit seventeen games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West, their playoff aspirations have ceased to exist. Still, after taking two of the first three games in this series, the Angels are still playing like a team completely in it. Sunday night, the Angels (66-70) will look to play spoiler and win the series as they travel to Minute Maid Park to take on the Astros (83-53).
Even more important for the Angels right now is to see a healthy Shohei Ohtani on the mound. Making his first start since being sidelined with a strained elbow ligament, Ohtani (4-1, 3.10 ERA) will toe the rubber to take on the Astros’ righty Gerrit Cole (12-5, 2.85 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:08 pm ET.
The moneyline for Sunday night’s game is set at the Los Angeles Angels +174 and the Houston Astros -185. The over/under on runs scored is set at 8.
Angels Looking For Positives In Lost Season
In his first season as a member of the Angels, Shohei Ohtani has given Angels’ fans moments to get excited about. Unfortunately, his season has been met with bumps as he has fought a strained elbow ligament that has him making his first start since June 6. Due to layoff, he will probably be limited to only about fifty pitches.
If he can get through the outing Sunday and really, through the month of September without any setbacks, it could be very encouraging for the Angels going into the offseason. Prior to his injury, Ohtani was 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and opponents were hitting .202 against him. In 49.1 innings pitched, he has 61 strikeouts, 20 walks and has allowed 5 home runs.
If you really wanted to, you could probably give Mike Trout the MVP Award every season and people wouldn’t put up too much of a fight. This season is no different. Despite facing some injuries throughout the season, Trout is still hitting .307/.456/.613 with a 1.069 OPS.
He has 31 home runs, 63 runs batted in, 88 runs scored, 21 stolen bases and more walks (106) than strikeouts (105). Sadly, it seems as if the Angels have wasted another season from such a historically great player.
Astros Fighting To Keep Hold On Division
As we begin the month of September, the Astros know they will be in a fight with the Oakland Athletics for control of the AL West for the rest of the regular season. Coming into Sunday, the Astros sit 2.5 games ahead of the A’s. To try to extend this lead the Astros will look to Gerrit Cole.
On the season, Cole is 12-5 with a 2.85 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and opponents are hitting just .193 against him. In 170.2 innings, he has 234 strikeouts, 54 walks and has allowed 16 home runs. Despite the great stats, he has been a little inconsistent as of late. In his last outing, he went 6 innings, giving up 4 earned runs and striking out 8 in an 11-4 win over the Oakland A’s.
Offensively, Tyler White has been demolishing the ball as of late. In the last 30 days, White is hitting .322/.379/.701 with a 1.080 OPS. He has 8 home runs, 25 runs batted in and 15 runs scored. One of the only Astros hitters performing better in that same stretch is Alex Bregman who is hitting .330/.431/.536 with a .967 OPS. In that same time, Bregman has 4 home runs, 16 runs batted in, 18 runs scored and has 16 walks versus only 10 strikeouts.
Regardless, with George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa still trying to find their stroke after coming back from injury, White and Bregman have been huge lifts to the team.
Astros Split The Series
With the way the Astros play at home, I would probably be inclined to take the Angels in this one if Shohei Ohtani were fully healthy. With Ohtani likely limited to a pretty low pitch count, though, that means it will become a bullpen game for the Angels. On Saturday night, the Astros showed that could be bad news for Los Angeles.
After Felix Pena pitched a gem, going 7 innings, allowing only one earned run the bullpen imploded for 5 runs in the 8th inning. Thus, if the Astros can get Ohtani out relatively early, they may find themselves in a good position to put up runs late. Hoping for a much better start than his last one, go with Gerrit Cole and the Astros. I am taking them at -185.