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The Los Angeles Angels missed the Playoffs for the eighth season in a row last year.
The Oakland Athletics finished the season in last place in the AL West.
The Angels were 12-7 against the Athletics last season.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
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The Los Angeles Angels will take on the Oakland Athletics in the MLB season opener. Neither of these made the Playoffs last year, but it is a new season, and both teams have an opportunity to play in October for the first time in a long time.
The Angels have a couple of injured players to start the season. They will be without catcher Max Stassi, first baseman Jared Walsh, and infielder David Fletcher. While that does leave the Angels a little shorthanded, they will still have Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Taylor Ward, Anthony Rendon, and newcomer Hunter Renfroe in the lineup. Ohtani and Trout are two of the best hitters in baseball, but Ward, Rendon, and Renfroe can also hold their own. Ward and Renfroe can both hit for power and get on base, and Rendon knows how to draw walks. His average may not have high average, but he walks a lot and provides problems for opposing pitchers.
Shohei Ohtani will take the mound for the Angels. Ohtani continues to get better year after year, and (in my opinion) is the best player in baseball. He had very limited Spring Training because of the World Baseball Classic but is coming off a 15-9 season with a 2.33 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Those are excellent numbers and make him arguably a top-ten pitcher. The 28-year-old Japanese sensation has gotten better in the offseason and is throwing even harder. It is also worth mentioning that there were points last season when the Angels were only winning when Ohtani took the mound.
The Athletics lost catcher Sean Murphy this offseason to the Atlanta Braves but kept Tony Kemp and signed Jace Peterson and Aledyms Diaz. They did not make any huge upgrades (they arguably lost more than they gained) but still have a competitive group of hitters. Seth Brown, Tony Kemp, and Aledyms Diaz will be the best hitters in this group, but if one or two other players step up, the Athletics will have a solid lineup. With that being said, I see them struggling quite a bit against Shohei Ohtani. No hitter in this lineup has had much success against him, and not one Athletic has hit a home run against him.
Kyle Muller will get the nod for the A’s. Muller is not their ace, but since Paul Blackburn is starting the season injured, he will get the start. This is an odd move, given that Muller had a tough Spring Training and barely played in the Majors last season for the Atlanta Braves. The southpaw had an 8.03 ERA in three starts last season and a 6.50 ERA in five games (four starts) this Spring. I expect him to give up four runs and not last more than four innings.
Shohei Ohtani is taking the mound for Los Angeles, and the Angels do not lose very much when he gets the start. In addition, the A’s are sending a young and inexperienced pitcher to the mound who will get crushed. Play it safe and bet on the favorites to win this game.
The over/under is placed at seven runs. At first, I thought that was a little high, but after looking closer, it seemed pretty accurate. This will be a lopsided game, but both teams will score. There will be a combined eight runs. Bet on the over.
I expect the Angels to score six runs. This is for a couple of reasons. The first one is they have a solid lineup with a great one-five. The second one is they are facing a young pitcher who does not usually face lineups with this many good hitters. The Angels will put up four runs against Kyle Muller. Muller has not ever faced a lineup with this much firepower, and he will struggle to go through the lineup twice.
The Athletics will not score much today, but they will put up two runs. I expect them to slip a run past Shohei Ohtani and a run past the Angels’ relievers. Ohtani is an excellent pitcher, but he is not perfect. He will probably throw six or seven innings but give up a couple of hits in the process. That will result in one run. The relievers will probably see the field for two or three innings. Los Angeles has a solid bullpen for the first time in many years. They signed Carlos Esteves this offseason and have a solid group in the bullpen. However, the bullpen, like Ohtani, is not perfect. They will give up one run, the Athletics' second run.
Los Angeles Angels
Leaders (Last Season)
Taylor Ward (.281)
Sean Murphy (.250)
Mike Trout (40)
Seth Brown (25)
Shohei Ohtani (95)
Seth Brown (73)
Taylor Ward (.360)
Sean Murphy (.332)
Shohei Ohtani (160)
Sean Murphy (134)
Shohei Ohtani (15)
Cole Irvin (9)
Shohei Ohtani (2.33)
Cole Irvin (3.98)
Shohei Ohtani (219)
Cole Irvin (128)
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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