Angels vs. Diamondbacks Odds, Preview, Prediction: Shohei Ohtani to Start vs. Struggling Arizona (Friday, June 11)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Shohei Ohtani.
Angels vs. Diamondbacks Odds
|Time||Friday, 9:40 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings|
The Angels and Diamondbacks are heading in opposite directions entering Friday, but that could all change with one of Arizona‘s top arms heading to the hill in Merrill Kelly. The D-backs’ right-hander has been a workhorse and might represent a taller task for Los Angeles than it has seen in quite a few games.
With that said, the line here is awfully close, and Shohei Ohtani is just a short -135 favorite. Is it a good time to take the bait and back the MVP hopeful?
Let’s dig into the matchup and find out.
Ohtani Takes Mound vs. Woeful Offense
In a stark contrast to the Diamondbacks, the Angels have found their stride lately. This team has won eight out of its last 11 games, coming off an impressive sweep over the red-hot Royals.
In even better news, it will now send its ace — Ohtani — to the mound against a lineup that’s licking its wounds at the moment.
While it’s always a guessing game as to whether Ohtani will hit in games that he pitches, it might not matter with how he’s been throwing the ball. The right-hander is generating a whiff rate in the top 8% of baseball and a massive 34.1% strikeout rate, both of which should play up against a Diamondbacks lineup struggling to put the bat on the ball, which we’ll get to later.
What’s more, the power is completely gone for the Diamondbacks and giving up hard-hit balls is probably the only thing that has held Ohtani back this year. Well, that and walks, but Arizona isn’t doing much of that either.
Can’t Get Much Worse for Arizona, Right?
Well, it couldn’t be going much worse for the Diamondbacks. They’ve lost 21 of 23 games dating back to May 16, including seven in a row after consecutive sweeps at the hands of the Brewers and A’s.
So, what has gone wrong over the last 30 days?
Well, let’s start offensively, where the D-backs rank fourth-to-last in strikeout rate at 26%. They’re also bottom-six in walk-rate (7.3%) and contact rate (74.2%). The at-bats have been brutal, and that’s despite returning a ton of players off the injured list. Asdrúbal Cabrera is hitting .154 in his first seven games back, Carson Kelly is .149 in 15 contests and Christian Walker is hitting just .214. Combined, the three also have just two homers.
When Arizona fell into a rut earlier in the year, the absence of those three — and Ketel Marte — was supposed to be the excuse for some sluggish hitting. It turns out that the return of those names, though Marte’s been really good, hasn’t changed much.
Pitching-wise, things haven’t been much better. Arizona has the second-worst staff ERA at 5.43. Friday’s starter, Kelly, hasn’t exactly helped that mark with an ERA close to 5.00 over the last 30 days, but he’s actually been one of the Diamondbacks’ best pitchers.
Despite a 5.12 ERA on the year, Kelly’s 4.50 xERA indicates there’s some room for improvement, and his average strikeout rate combined with an above-average walk rate provides some hope here.
When you see a line this short on a game you think should be academic, there’s always a story behind the odds. The fact is, Kelly has been very good on the hill and though the Angels have been hitting the ball well, few of these offensive explosions have come against good pitching.
With that said, I don’t see a way into this game for the Diamondbacks. I have backed them a few times during this losing streak, believing in some of their talent.
Without the ability to exploit Ohtani’s weaknesses, though, I’m not sure they’re going to fare very well.
At any rate, you’re almost always going to be better off backing a trend as opposed to guessing when it’s going to end, so I’ll take the Angels here to stay with that winning strategy. If all else fails, we can rely on a bad Arizona bullpen to get us back in the game.
Pick: Angels -139