The Shohei show heads to Texas tonight, as MVP frontrunner Shohei Ohtani leads the Los Angeles Angels against the red-hot Houston Astros in an AL West showdown. Ohtani (5-1, 2.91 ERA) will take the mound against Houston ace Framber Valdez (5-4, 2.38 ERA). First pitch is set for 8:10 p.m. ET.
The Astros are -130 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Angels are slight +110 underdogs. The total is set at 7.5.
Angels-Astros picks: Friday, June 2
Out: 3B Anthony Rendon (left groin strain), RP Matt Moore (right oblique strain), SP Jose Suarez (left shoulder strain)
Out: OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery), SP Lance McCullers Jr. (right arm muscle strain), SP Jose Urquidy (right shoulder inflammation)
Shohei Ohtani vs. Framber Valdez
What more can be said about the magic of Ohtani? Along with posting a .267 batting average with 15 home runs and 38 RBIs at the plate, he’s also tallied a 2.91 ERA in 65 innings on the mound. Ohtani currently ranks in the 95th percentile or better in strikeout rate, expected batting average, and average exit velocity. He’s gone at least six innings in his last two starts, and has only allowed one earned run in each of those appearances. Oh, and he also mashed a 459-foot home run in the Angels’ last game.
An All-Star last season, Valdez has been just as good this year, with the high-water mark coming in the form of a shutout against the Oakland A’s two weeks ago. Valdez has a strong strikeout rate (71st percentile) and walk rate (86th percentile), but is among the league’s worst in exit velocity (4th percentile) and hard-hit rate (13th percentile).
While this is a matchup of two strong pitchers, this total is too low for these two teams. As mentioned above, Valdez’s underlying metrics expose some weaknesses, and he’s only had two starts this year where he didn’t allow a run. The same can be said for Ohtani, who only has one scoreless start all season.
Pick: Over 7.5
I’m going to ride with Ohtani. The Astros are a better team, but the Angels offense (and Ohtani’s pitching) will make the difference today.