Pirates vs Angels Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Friday, July 21

Pirates vs Angels Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Friday, July 21 article feature image

Via Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a home run against the Chicago White Sox in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 26, 2023 in Anaheim, California.

Pirates vs. Angels Odds

Friday, July 21
9:38 p.m. ET
Pirates Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-120 / -102
Angels Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-120 / -102
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

The once-promising Pirates have now lost 12 of 15 games and enter their weekend series in Los Angeles desperate for some momentum. Can this scrappy young group get to Shohei Ohtani, or will the Angels stay hot?

Let's break this one down in our Pirates vs. Angels preview and prediction.

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Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates had a rare offensive outburst on Wednesday in a 7-5 win over the Guardians. In four games prior, they had mustered up just six total runs, and they hadn't scored seven runs since July 4th.

Consequently, this has put the onus on the pitching staff over the last few weeks to get wins, and it's been a difficult task to handle.

Friday's starter, Johan Oviedo, has seemed to crack under the pressure. He'd had a pretty impressive run of form to begin the summer only to cough up 13 runs across his first two starts in July. He settled back in last week in a home start against the Giants, striking out 10 over seven innings of one-run ball.

Oviedo's Strikeout Rate has gradually improved this season in addition to his Whiff Rate. It's risen from 22.9% in May to 25% in June and 27.2% in July.

However, he's allowed a bit too many hard-hit balls to be effective at times, and his Walk Rate is still north of 9%.

The Pirates offense has been poor recently, with a 25.4% Strikeout Rate over the last nine games with a horrific .075 Isolated Power.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are really starting to swing the bats. They're third in wRC+ over the last two weeks with a hefty .214 ISO and a high 11.5% Walk Rate. Playing six games at the hitter-friendly Angel Stadium certainly helps, considering their home park ranks fourth in Home Run Factor according to Statcast, but that's how they've designed their lineup. From Ohtani and Mickey Moniak to Hunter Renfroe, this team can get the ball in the air and it can hit the ball hard.

Unlike Oviedo, Ohtani doesn't have to worry about improving his Whiff Rate. He sits in the top 15% of the league in that category and, consequently, owns an elite 32.3% Strikeout Rate. His Barrel Rate is a stunningly high 9.7%, and his Walk Rate is a troubling 10.6%, but hitters simply can't make too much contact off of the right-hander.

Hard-hit balls and home runs have always been a theme in Ohtani's career, but his strikeout numbers have saved him from disaster every step of the way. However, Ohtani has started to struggle with walks, seemingly out of nowhere. Ohtani's expected ERA now sits at 3.80 as he's walked seven in his last two outings, spanning just 10 innings.

He may be raking, but Ohtani is beginning to struggle on the bump.

Pirates vs. Angels Betting Pick

While I think Ohtani is a sitting duck against some teams with patience and power, he's not facing one of those clubs on Friday. The Pirates have incredibly poor strikeout, walk and power numbers over the last couple of weeks and have hardly seemed capable of mustering up a single run.

I do recognize that the Angels are swinging some hot bats at the moment, but Oviedo's Whiff Rate has been climbing, and the Angels are still striking out in over a quarter of their plate appearances in the last 14 days, even if they've been more patient and have hit for more power.

I like the under quite a bit here.

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