Angels vs. Yankees Game 1 MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles in Doubleheader Opener (Thursday, June 2)
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani.
Angels vs. Yankees Game 1 Odds
|Time||1:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
Nuke LaLoosh had a great quote about the three true outcomes of baseball that was taught to him by Crash Davis in the movie, “Bull Durham.”
He said, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains.” Well, no one won or lost in the Angels-Yankees game Wednesday because it rained. However, that has set up a tremendous Thursday doubleheader between two of the best teams in the American League.
Reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani takes the mound for Los Angeles. He will be opposed by New York standout Nestor Cortes, whose in the midst of a breakout season. And while this matchup might get the attention, this is also a meeting of two top-five lineups in the majors.
So, who will take the first battle of the day? Let’s take a deep dive to find out.
Loe Angeles Angels
In the opening part of the preview, I said “Nasty” Nestor Cortes was in the midst of a breakout season.
Well, that might be an understatement, as he has arguably been the best pitcher in baseball through his first nine starts. He’ll enter this outing with a sparkling 1.71 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. Cortes’ strikeout rate has also jumped three percent and he has shown he can rack them up when he’s in a zone.
While Cortes has been great, there are some weaknesses the Angels’ hitters can capitalize on.
Two things stand out in particular when you look at Cortes’ metrics. The first is that he’s only in the top 45 percent of qualified pitchers in average exit velocity. Now, that’s certainly not bad, but it lags behind in comparison to his other metrics that have made him elite thus far, especially when we’ve seen it lower in the past.
Secondly, Cortes is near the bottom third of the league in whiff rate. The fact he generally isn’t missing bats doesn’t add up with his expected stats and strikeout rate.
So, we’ve established Cortes is due for some regression, which won’t even bring him back to earth as his expected ERA (2.17) is still fantastic. However, the Angels’ lineup is the one that will start the cause him to descend a bit.
Los Angeles enters the game with the fifth-best batting average in the majors against left-handed pitching. The Angels are also 13th in hard-contact rate against lefties, which doesn’t bode well for Cortes, as we already glanced upon the amount and quality of contact that he surrenders.
Lastly, the Angels might be better suited to capitalize on the short porches of Yankee Stadium. Rolling in with big hitters like Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh, those players’ eyes should light up when they see the dimensions of Yankee Stadium.
The long ball will be there all game for the Angels, and I expect more than one of them to put one in the stands during this meeting.
New York Yankees
Last season, Ohtani won the AL MVP due to his incredible year at the dish, but so far this season, he’s done his best work on the mound. Ohtani has been tough to solve, as he’s in the top five percent of all qualified pitchers in strikeout and whiff rate.
His ability to strike hitters out will be his best weapon, as he’d like to keep the ball out of the air against the Yankees lineup. Speaking of this Yankees’ lineup, it’s not all it’s been cracked up to be. Yes, its power and run production are near the top of the league, but the whole lineup cannot be getting credit for those numbers.
Only three guys — Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Joey Gallo — have hard-hit rates above 45 percent this season. Of those three, only Judge and Torres have average exit velocities over 90 mph.
Otherwise, the rest of the New York lineup has been streaky and relatively unproductive. Facing an elite right-hander like Ohtani will highlight the multiple holes in the Yankees’ offense.
The Angels enter the first game of the doubleheader losers of five consecutive games and seven of their last 10, but have their ace on the mound.
And their lineup has been hitting the ball far too well to be contained for long. That said, facing a lefty who is bound to regress is just what they need to get back on track.
So, I’m backing Los Angeles to take the first game via a moneyline wager.
Pick: Los Angeles ML (+105 | Play to -105)