Josh James (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs. Shohei Ohtani (0-1, -.– ERA)
The anticipated return of Shohei Ohtani to the hill as a pitcher didn’t go according to the plan for the Angels. Having remained off the mound since 2018 because of injuries, there was a lot of hype surrounding his return as a pitcher. The two-way player, which is a major rarity in baseball these days, struggled mightily against the Athletics in Oakland.
The Angels got much better news last night against the Houston Astros. They were 5-4 winners in the 10th thanks to the runner on 2nd to begin the inning rule. As much as I don’t care for the rule, I’ve been on the winning side of both extra innings games.
The Athletics edged past the Mariners by a score of 3-2 last night to get us a close win. They erased a 2-0 deficit in the 7th inning with a 2-run slam by Chad Pinder to tie the game up. It was a frustrating day for the Mariners, as a solid Yusei Kikuchi start was thrown in the trash thanks to a lifeless offense.
Kikuchi had one of the better starts of his career in that one, as he went 5 innings without allowing a run. The AL West is tight right now with no team taking command of the situation. The Astros are tied with the Athletics at 4-4 on the season. Meanwhile, the Angels are off to another predictable slow start to the season.
Even in a shortened season with Mike Trout and Ohtani together, I don’t think the Angels are scaring anyone. The public have been fooled by the Angels before and I think they’re over it. On paper, the Angels should be a competitive team. Trout and Ohtani jump off the page, but the rest of the lineup isn’t completely empty. Bad luck with injuries to their starting rotation has been common over the last several years, so I’ll give them a break with that.
However, there aren’t many other excuses when Trout, who is regarded as the best player in baseball, is on the roster. Trout did not participate on Saturday, but is expected to be back in the lineup after his wife gave birth to a baby boy. Ohtani will be making on the bump looking for redemption today. Josh James is expected to get the nod for the Astros. Head below for our free Houston Astros vs. LA Angels pick for August 2, 2020.
Houston Astros vs. LA Angels MLB Baseball Betting Odds:
Houston Astros vs. LA Angels Prediction:
It was as ugly display for Ohtani in his return to the bump. He could have just been nervous and he let that get to him. All of the attention was on him and he fell flat on his face. The Athletics got to Ohtani early and often, as they exploited him for 3 hits and 5 earned runs without him recording an out. Ohtani also walked 3 hitters to add to what was a miserable day.
His command was off the mark at times in spring and summer training, so everything that went bad for him then, came to an apex in his opener versus the A’s. Before Ohtani gets into a groove and starts pitching effectively, it’s hard to trust him right now. I don’t think his career as a pitcher is done for, but it may take a minute for him to figure things out and gain his confidence back.
If he can’t throw a strike, then Ohtani isn’t going to have success against any team, never mind the Astros. He gets the Astros in his first start since getting hammered against the Athletics last week. The ‘Stros will counter with Josh James who had a rough performance of his own to get the season started. James posted an ERA of 9.00 and 2.67 WHIP.
The Mariners made it look easy against James, with 3 hits, 5 walks, and 3 earned runs in 3 innings. Just like Ohtani, his control was all over the place and he couldn’t locate the strike zone. This is a big season for James, especially with Justin Verlander injured and the door open for somebody else to step up.
James operated out of the bullpen as a reliever last season. He made one spot start, but 46 of his appearances were out of the bullpen. James recorded an ERA of 4.70 and 1.32 WHIP. In his first full season in the major leagues, a season like that can be excused. However, progress is expected out of James in 2020 after hitting a speed bump.
The Angels have been seeing the ball well recently with 5.75 runs per game and at least 5 runs scored in each of their last four games. It’s likely they get something going against James on Sunday. I’m favoring a high-scoring game, so the OVER looks like a play to consider.