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Shohei Ohtani Leads Los Angeles Angels Into Matchup With Seattle Mariners

The Los Angeles Angels will play host to the division-rival Seattle Mariners Friday in Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, at 9:38 p.m. ET for the first of a three-game series.

BetUS will be providing odds for the game as well as all of the other action in the MLB. Seattle is +125 and the Angels are -140 as the teams start the second half.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by EZRA SHAW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by EZRA SHAW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

The Angels’ Outlook

Los Angeles will head into Friday’s match with a 45-44 record, fourth in the American League West and nine games behind the first-place Houston Astros. They are also two games behind the Mariners and will be looking to either close the gap or overtake them.

The Angels are eighth in scoring, fifth in batting average, and fourth in home runs, which makes them seem like a team that should be much better than one game over .500. The team’s worst major offensive stat is on-base percentage, in which they rank 12th with a .319 standard.

LA’s most impactful player has been Shohei Ohtani; the league’s leader in home runs (33) has hit .279 for 70 RBIs, the third-most in baseball. Despite being in just his fourth season of Major League Baseball, Ohtani is rapidly becoming the face of the league due to his size, strength, and consistent explosiveness at the plate. He is one of the most talented players that the game has seen and is still in the first half of his career.

The pitching staff has combined for the fifth-worst ERAl, despite being near average in home runs and batting average allowed. The best member of the pitching corps has been the presumptive MVP of the league, Ohtani, who was the American League’s starting pitcher and victor in the All-Star Game. The Japanese product has a 4-1 record with a 3.49 ERA. That figure drops to 2.59 without a seven-run outing, he allowed the New York Yankees in just two-thirds of an innings.

Andrew Heaney (5-6, 5.38 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels, looking to improve upon a rough stretch that has seen him drop three of his last four starts.

The Mariners’ Outlook

The Mariners will head into California with a 48-43 record, third in the AL West and seven games off of the Houston Astros; they closed out the first half of the season with a 17-8 stretch and were playing some of their best ball before the All-Star Game.

Seattle has some explosive hitting on its roster but has struggled to receive consistent production, currently ranked 22nd in total runs and dead last in batting average at .216. This is a truly terrible mark, and it is shocking that they have been able to overcome this glaring deficiency.

The Mariners’ most productive offensive player has been Mitch Haniger, a right fielder who has hit .257 for team-highs of 20 home runs and 52 RBIs. Kyle Seager has also contributed 16 home runs, though he has somehow underperformed the team’s average and only hit .213 thus far.

Even his manager Scott Servais had to praise him, “He’s got that kind of power, that kind of talent,” even compared to Ohtani, who homered in their game before the All-Star Break, “But at end of the day, it’s only worth one, and (Hangier’s) was worth four. I liked (Haniger’s) a little bit better even if it didn’t go quite as far.”

The pitching rotation has not been outstanding either, sitting in or just outside of the bottom-third in ERA, home runs, and batting average allowed. All in all, it is quite impressive that Seattle has reached its current record with the statistics being stacked against them.

Chris Flexen will be on the mound in game one, coming in with an 8-3 record and 3.51 ERA that is second-best amongst qualified members of Seattle’s roster.

The Series

Seattle has the advantage in the season series, 6-4, and won two of three games leading into the All-Star break. Those games were at home, however, and they will now be tested on the road in their return to normal play.

Both teams will view all of their divisional matchups as must-wins due to the congestion atop the AL West ladder and close competition for playoff spots.

The Angels’ offensive talent has been able to shine more regularly than the Mariners, though they can be explosive in spurts as well.

The Pick

Bet on the Angels being able to defend their home field and take at least two games off of the visiting Mariners, if not all three. Ohtani will not be on the bump for any of the games, which could give credence to the Mariners keeping the proceedings close, but they will not be able to score with the Angels if they get rolling.

LA needs the wins more than Seattle does and seems to have found its footing; Ohtani will homer multiple times in the series, and the team will rally behind him, sending the Mariners back to the Pacific Northwest with a worse record than they came in with.

Pick: Los Angeles Angels ML (-140)

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