These are two lowly AL West teams. Both are under .500 and 10 games back of the AL West-leading Astros.
So, why are we covering this game?
Because it’s Shohei Ohtani day! The Angels will be throwing out MLB’s superstar two-way player, who pitched seven shutout innings against Boston while hitting a home run in his last starting pitcher appearance.
Opposing him will be youngster George Kirby and the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners have done nothing but underachieve this season, and could really use a series win.
So, who has the edge?
Read on for the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for Thursday’s matchup.
Los Angeles Angels vs Seattle Mariners Odds
This line seems fair. Ohtani is worth making the Angels road favorites, even if the two starting pitcher’s ERAs are nearly identical.
The total of 7 seems low, but neither offense has been staggering recently. Both teams have superstar-level hitters, and the power can come.
Let’s see if we can find value somewhere else.
Los Angeles Angels Starting Lineup
RF T. Ward R
CF M. Trout R
DH S. Ohtani L
3B A. Rendon R
1B J. Walsh L
C M Stassi R
LF B. Marsh L
2B L Rengifo S
SS A. Velazquez S
Los Angeles Angels vs George Kirby
If anything, Kirby has disgusting stuff. He’s got a fastball that touches triple digits and two breaking balls that move like crazy both vertically and horizontally.
What a Major League debut for @Mariners rookie George Kirby.
7 K pic.twitter.com/fV2j4NW7SU
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 8, 2022
The question is if he can put it all together. It’s nice he walks less a batter per inning (wow) and that his xFIP is down around 3.50. But he can not avoid hard contact, and he has already allowed seven home runs in just 37 innings this season.
His batted ball statistics are just poor, and power hitters can really take advantage of Kirby if he leaves a fastball a bit low or hangs a breaking ball.
Image credit: Baseball Savant
Luckily, he’s facing an Angels lineup that is reeling. The Angels have the fifth-worst wRC+ (75) in MLB over the last two weeks, and that’s after Mike Trout broke out of his slump. Tayler Ward is back in the lineup, but he has yet to bounce out of his injury.
And while Ohtani is getting it together, his OPS has yet to break a .800 OPS.
This lineup needs reinforcements because the Halos are getting nothing from Anthony Rendon, Jared Walsh, or the rest of the lineup.
Seattle Mariners Starting Lineup
LF J. Winker L
1B T. France R
CF J. Rodriguez R
SS J. Crawford L
DH E. Suarez R
2B A. Frazier L
3B A. Toro S
RF T. Trammell L
C C. Raleigh S
Seattle Mariners vs Shohei Ohtani
Ohtani continues to amaze. His fastball regularly hits 99 or 100, and he pairs it with the most deadly splitter in the game.
Shohei Ohtani with the NASTY splitter and then was VERY concerned about the piece of wood that split off the bat 😂
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) April 20, 2022
Since 2018, nobody has allowed a lower BA on a single pitch than Ohtani on his splitter.
Last time out, Ohtani pitched seven one-run innings against the Red Sox, singlehandedly breaking the Angels’ 14-game losing streak.
What’s scary is that Ohtani should be performing better. He’s due for positive regression, as he pairs his 3.64 ERA with a 3.25 xERA and a 2.82 xFIP. He’s striking out close to 12 batters per nine innings and has a 1.12 WHIP, which does wonders for your expected metrics. Hard to score runs when you strike out constantly.
Seattle’s lineup is actually somewhat performing recently. The Mariners are top-10 in wRC+ during June, and they’re walking at the second-highest rate. The power isn’t there, as Seattle’s .383 SLG this month is 20th in MLB, but the Mariners are causing traffic. Good things happen when you do that.
Los Angeles Angels vs Seattle Mariners Pick & Prediction
My picks: Over 7 (-122 on FanDuel Sportsbook)
This total is too low considering the overall situation.
While Ohtani is spectacular, the Mariners’ offense has been hotter lately and will hopefully score a few off this pathetic Halo bullpen. The Angels are 25th in reliever FIP in the month of June (5.20) and 29th on the season (4.38).
The Seattle bullpen is actually good, but Kirby has been lucky and the Angels can hit the ball as hard as anyone. Look for the Angels to take advantage of hard-hit balls in the first five.
Put the two together, and this number is far too low. We can sneak past seven easily with some of the pitchers being thrown out there in this game.