The struggles of the St. Louis Cardinals continued last night as they fell in game one of their series against the Angels, bringing their record over the past ten games to 2-8. The Cardinals still have the opportunity to even the series tonight, and we’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
Yesterday’s loss summed up the Cardinals' season very well, as their starter, Steven Matz, allowed four earned runs which brought his ERA up to 6.39 on the season, and the lineup struck out nine times while only picking up four hits. Both sides are a problem, but the pitching staffs numbers have become concerning, as they are allowing the 3rd highest BAbip, 4th highest hard hit percentage, and the highest average exit velocity in the league.
On the mound today for St. Louis will be Miles Mikolas, who has gotten off to a rough start to the season. In 31.7 innings of work, the veteran has pitched to a 5.97 ERA with 29 strikeouts and nine walks. The right-hander's most recent start was his best of the season, as he threw 6 ⅓ shutout innings with six strikeouts and four hits allowed while picking up his first win of the year.
Mikolas will face an Angels lineup that scored five runs in yesterday’s game and is sixth in hard hit percentage up to this point. Los Angeles is 9th in average runs per game, 11th in OPS, and 7th in home runs, with a total of 40 on the season. Taylor Ward added to that total in yesterday's game by hitting his third of the year.
Los Angeles will hand the ball to their ace today, as Shohei Ohtani will toe the rubber. In 34 innings, Ohtani has a 1.85 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 17 walks. The righty picked up the win in his recent start, despite it being his worst start of the season. In six innings of work, Ohtani struck out eight but allowed five earned runs and two home runs.
Los Angeles is currently priced at (-142) on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them for my play. The Angels are 4-1 in their last five games against a right-handed starter, while St. Louis is 1-5 in their last six games following a loss. There are a handful of pitchers no team wants to see following a loss, and Shohei Ohtani is one of them, giving LA a big advantage on the mound.
Ohtani is in the 76th percentile in barrel percentage, 90th percentile in hard hit percentage, 93rd percentile in strikeout percentage, and has an xWOBA of (.262). In three starts on the road, Ohtani has a 1.29 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 14 innings. Lastly, Ohtani’s two most thrown pitches, his sweeper and four-seam, have expected batting averages of .140 or worse against them.
On the other hand, Miles Mikolas is in the 16th percentile in barrel percentage, 31st percentile in hard hit percentage, and 10th percentile in expected slugging percentage. The right-hander has also struggled in his home ballpark this season, as he has thrown 15 innings with a 7.20 ERA at home.
Los Angeles Angels (-142)