With both teams already slipping out of the playoff picture in their respective leagues, it’s not too late for the Cubs and Angels to get their seasons on track but they need to start trending in the right direction. Let’s take a look at the odds for this interleague matchup where my prediction is a win for the home team, and for o9 runs to hit.
Cubs Vs. Angels Prediction
Unshockingly, the Angels have been a bat-first team, and it showed in Tuesday’s game 1 win. They’re top-8 in many offensive metrics, led of course by their two generational talents, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Neither has been particularly excellent at the dish by their own ridiculous standards, but both are obviously extremely high-level hitters and a couple of the toughest outs in baseball.
Anaheim’s pitching staff has been a bit below league-average, as per the usual, but Wednesday’s starter, Jaime Barria, is certainly not the reason. Contributing as both a reliever and recently a starter, the Panamanian rising talent has tossed a 1.59 ERA across 34 innings of work, and his WHIP is sitting at exactly 1.
The Cubs have struggled a bit when it comes to scoring, although you could argue that they’ve been unlucky- they’re 22nd in runs scored but 13 in OPS. There have been a couple bats that have stood out, although unfortunately one of them, Cody Bellinger, is currently shelved on the IL. Contrary to the Angels’ situation, the Cubs’ arms have been pretty solid with the exception of Jameson Taillon, who owns an ERA over 7 and will be on the bump opposing Barria.
As far as the pick for this game, it’s pretty simple- there’s no possible way to invest in Taillon right now, especially with the Cubs on-and-off lineup behind him. Barria is in a great run of form, and his Angels have to be the pick here. The run total is a bit less straightforward, but with Taillon’s brutal form and questions about how much length the Angels can get out of Barria, I have to stick with the over.
Cubs Vs. Angels Prediction: Angels ML (-140), o9 runs (-115)
Cubs Vs. Angels Odds
The Angels are -140 favorites at home, with the Cubs set at +120. The run total is 9, with the under at -105 and the over -115.
Cubs Vs. Angels Key Matchups
Will Jameson Taillon allow this Angels lineup to put a number of balls in play? How will Jaime Barris fare against the righties in the Cubs lineup? Check out the key matchups and mismatches that could decide Wednesday’s game below.
Jameson Taillon Vs. Contact Bats
By digging into Taillon’s peripheral numbers a bit, we can see that the issue doesn’t seem to be quality of contact as much as quantity- his Home Runs allowed per 9 innings is actually down a bit compared to each of his previous two seasons, but his hits per 9 are way up. So, the biggest key for him against LA will be avoiding contact.
Luckily for Taillon, the Halos are a bit of a “live and die by the home run” type of team. Trout and Ohtani, the two biggest threats in the lineup, are great all around hitters of course but a bit strikeout prone, and the team in general is higher up on the home run leaderboard than batting average or OBP.
The team’s OBP leaders are actually Anthony Rendon, who is on the IL right now, and catcher Matt Thaiss who is off to a nice start to the year. Gio Urshela has embraced a full-contact role as well- he’s not walking or hitting for extra bases, but his batting average sits at .305 after about 200 trips to the plate. The Angels’ ability to get after Taillon is a major reason I have them hitting the -140 moneyline in my Cubs vs. Angels prediction.
Jaime Barria Vs. Almost All Righties
A nice break for the right-handed Barria is that with the exception of switch-hitter Ian Happ, all of the Cubs projected starters for Wednesday are righties as well. Barria has pitched well against all batters, but has been even more lockdown against hitters from the right side, so this will be a welcome matchup for him.
That being said, Happ has been really solid hitting from the left side against righties this year, it’s been his better side of the plate by a wide margin thus far. He’s putting up an .839 OPS compared to .649 against lefties, and the sample size is a bunch bigger against right-handers.
Dansby Swanson, Seiya Suzuki, and Patrick Wisdom have been some of the Cubs’ best bats this year, but all have been significantly better against left-handed pitching. Wisdom and Suzuki have also been on a bit of a cold snap over the past week or so, after strong starts to the year.
Swanson continues to hit well, as does Nico Hoerner, whose performances are only improving of late. The second baseman doesn’t have much pop, but he’s a good contact bat, and will be a key table-setter for the Cubs against Barria and beyond.
Cubs Vs. Angels Starting Lineups
Cubs Starting Lineup
2B N. Hoerner R
SS D. Swanson R
LF I. Happ S
RF S. Suzuki R
DH P. Wisdom R
C Y. Gomes R
1B T. Mancini R
3B N. Madrigal R
CF C. Morel R
Angels Starting Lineup
DH S. Ohtani L
CF M. Trout R
2B B. Drury R
LF T. Ward R
C M. Thaiss L
RF H. Renfroe R
3B G. Urshela R
1B J. Walsh L
SS Z. Neto R