For the first time since being a part of the Juan Soto trade, Washington Nationals starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore is back in California and gets the road start on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels.
Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Angels (-165, 9.5)
Gore was regarded as one of the game’s top prospects when coming up in the San Diego Padres system and after getting called up to the big leagues last season, had a 1.50 ERA across his first nine career appearances.
Following that hot start to begin his career, Gore posted an 11.05 ERA in his final seven appearances of the 2022 season before being shut down due to shoulder inflammation.
The late struggles and inflammation likely made Gore more expendable for the Padres and he has looked more like the pitcher who begin his career with a 1.50 ERA through his first nine career appearances this season.
Gore enters Sunday having allowed three runs across 11 1⁄3 innings in his first two starts of the season with 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings in a pair of wins against the Braves and Rockies.
For the Angels, Griffin Canning gets his first start at the MLB level since 2021, as he missed the entire 2022 season due to a low back stress fracture.
In preparation to get back to the starting rotation, Canning has flashed the potential many raved about when he was one of the Angels' top prospects, allowing two runs across 13 2/3 innings in Spring Training and in his minor league start to get ready for Wednesday’s appearance, allowed one earned run with 10 strikeouts across five innings.
Neither team backs up their starter with a dominant bullpen, but they were both better than expected in the back half of the 2022 season with the Nationals seventh in the league in bullpen ERA after the All-Star Break while the Angels were 11th.
Wednesday’s affair involves two young pitchers that have had plenty of highs and lows and both will repay those that have hyped them up over the years with a pitcher’s duel.
The Play: Nationals vs. Angels Under 9.5