The Angels were able to secure the victory in game one of this series, and tonight they have the chance to secure a series win with another win. We’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
Los Angeles had been on a stretch of solid baseball, but in the last two games of their series with the Rangers, their pitching staff allowed a combined 26 runs, so a strong all-around performance was needed yesterday. Patrick Sandoval went 6 ⅓ innings allowing four earned runs, but he gave his team a chance to win. The Angels bullpen kept Houston scoreless the rest of the game, and in the eighth inning, Brandon Drury was able to pick up a clutch triple to break the tie.
The Angels will look to begin another win streak tonight, and they have the ideal guy on the mound for it in Shohei Ohtani. The right-hander has made seven starts this season with a total of 39 innings, and he has pitched to a 2.54 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 18 walks. Ohtani picked up the no-decision in his most recent start, but he was able to rack up 13 strikeouts in just five innings of work.
Ohtani will face an Astros lineup that is in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Houston had seven hits in last night’s game, four of which were extra-base hits, but they could not score after the fifth inning. The Astros have certainly stumbled out of the gate a bit this season, and despite having the talent, they are still below the league average in BAbip (.286), hard-hit percentage (37.4%), and OPS+ (86).
On the mound for Houston, tonight will be left-hander Framber Valdez, who has made seven starts up to this point and is fresh off his fourth loss of the year. Valdez has thrown 45 innings up to this point with a 2.60 ERA and 45 strikeouts, along with ten walks.
The Angels are currently priced at (-138) on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. Los Angeles is 5-1 in their last six games following a game in which they scored five or more runs, and although Valdez has a low ERA, his advanced numbers are concerning and give LA an excellent chance to secure another win tonight.
Entering tonight, Valdez is in the 37th percentile in barrel percentage, 15th percentile in hard hit percentage, and 7th percentile in average exit velocity. The lefty poses a solid matchup for an Angels lineup, hitting .293 against lefties with a .812 OPS. LA is sixth in hard-hit percentage this season and has put up better strong numbers in their home ballpark, so everything is lined up for them to have a big night.
Not only are the Astros hitting .234 against righties with a .653 OPS, but they face a starter in Ohtani, who is in the top 6% in the league in expected slugging and top 2% of the league in expected batting average. The righty is also in the 82nd percentile in hard-hit percentage and 98th percentile in strikeout percentage.
Los Angeles Angels (-138)