An AL West rivalry continues as the Oakland Athletics welcome the Los Angeles Angels for game two of their four-game series. The A’s took game one 5-0 behind a dominant performance by Chris Bassitt and a five-run sixth inning. The Angeles could only muster two hits, and their lack of production is why Thursday’s game came under the run total. But what about Friday. How do the matchups lineup, and what pick should you make if you are going to make a bet in the MLB sportsbook. Let’s take a look and predict where this game will end up.
|Game: Los Angeles Angels (22-28) at Oakland Athletics (30-22)
Location: Oakland Coliseum
Time: 9:40 p.m. ET
|Los Angeles Angels||Over 7½||-120|
|Oakland Athletics||Under 7½||Even|
Shohei Ohtani was scheduled to pitch Thursday, but Ohtani was stuck in traffic and was scratched from his start. The Japanese sensation will now pitch on Friday, and he has been spectacular in his 30.1 IP. Ohtani is 1-0 in his six starts with a 2.37 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP, and 45 strikeouts. The Angels’ starter also leads the team with 15 home runs and 38 RBIs, so there will be no DH in the lineup for Los Angeles.
The Athletics offense has been boom or bust and they boomed in the sixth inning. Oakland batted around and scored five runs, which was more than enough for Bassitt. Matt Olson is having a major bounce-back season from his disappointing 2020, the Gold Glove first baseman leads the A’s with 13 home runs and 30 RBIs, and his batting average has significantly improved at .263. The whole Oakland lineup has the capacity to drive the ball out of the yard, they have the second-most home runs in the American League with 70. But they are 12th in the AL with a .229 batting average, showing how dependent they are on the home run. Ohtani might be dominant, but the key for the Athletics is to elevate his pitch count and get to the terrible Angels’ bullpen, and that is most likely where they will score their runs.
The A’s will start Sean Manaea in game two and the Oakland lefty has had an up and down season. Manaea’s last start came against the Angels in Anaheim on Sunday, he went five innings and allowed one run on four hits. The 29-year-old did not get the decision as the A’s lost 6-5. Manaea has been susceptible to giving up runs; his 2021 ERA stands at 4.17. However, Manaea has been much better at the Coliseum, and with the weakened Angels lineup, the lefty could give them fits.
The Angels arguably have the two best players in baseball in Ohtani and Mike Trout, but it still has not been enough. This just shows how bad the Los Angeles pitching has been this year. Outside of home runs, the Angels have a better statistical offense than the Athletics, their 229 runs are eight more than Oakland, and their team batting average is nearly 20 points higher at .248, but yet they were just shut out and are near the bottom of the AL West standings. The weakness of this Angels lineup might be left-handed pitching. Ohtani is batting .208 against lefties, and David Fletcher is the only starter anywhere near .300 with a .280 BA in 50 at-bats. With Manaea having good numbers at home and the bad numbers against lefties for Los Angeles, this could be another night where the Angels offense puts up another goose egg.
It is going to be a chilly one in the East Bay, expect partly cloudy skies with the temperature dipping below 60 degrees at first pitch. There will be a slight wind of 12 mph as well.
The oddsmakers were late in putting up the run total for this game, the reasoning for this has to be the Ohtani situation. With Thursday’s game being one of the last ones to finish, the oddsmakers wanted to be sure that Ohtani was starting Friday’s game, because the difference between him starting and another Angels starter is a run or two difference.
Even without Trout, both of these lineups are capable of putting up runs in bunches. With Ohtani pitching, will he have enough energy to have key hits and carry the team on both sides off the field? He might have to. The key in this game is how long the starters go. If Ohtani is cruising and he can eat innings before he turns it over the bullpen, the A’s should be held in check. On the other hand, if Manaea is able to avoid the slow start and get into a rhythm and he starts to deal, he has the luxury of handing the ball over to a good, well-rested bullpen which is a terrible sight for the Angels hitters. We see this game being a pitchers’ duel, maybe Ohtani has a special night where he scores more runs than he allows. With the MLB betting odds set, we are going to take the under in this AL West showdown.