Wednesday, April 20, 2022 Los Angeles Angels vs. Houston Astros

The Houston Astros will host the Los Angeles in the finale of a three-game series on Wednesday. The Astros won the series opener 8-3 on Monday. The second game of the series was not complete at the time of this preview.

Ohtani Time

The Los Angeles Angels have not finished with a winning record since 2015, and have not reached the playoffs since 2014. The Angels entered this season expected to break that trend, with a projected over/under win total set at 84.5, and with three-time MVP Mike Trout, and reigning MVP Shohei Ohtani currently both healthy another losing season would be unacceptable for this franchise.

The Angels lineup has mashed an MLB best 16 home runs, and are tied for second with nine stolen bases through their first 11 games. Ohtani leads the team with three home runs, two stolen bases, and also has seven RBI. Harde Walsh leads the team with eight RBI and is also one of four Los Angeles batters with four home runs.

Ohtani will get to help his own cause on Wednesday as he is scheduled to make his third start of the season. In 2021, Ohtani went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. This season has started rough for Ohtani on the mound and is 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. In five career starts against Houston, Ohtani is 0-3 with a 5.56 ERA.

Astros win series opener but Altuve forced to leave game

After Monday’s home-opening win, the Astros have a half-game lead over the Athletics and Angels. Through the first 10 games, Houston has averaged 3.9 runs per game and allowed 3.5 runs per game. The Astros are fourth in MLB with 13 home runs, with nine different players who have gone deep this season.

Yordan Alvarez leads the team with three home runs and is second with six RBI. Alex Bregman leads the team with seven RBI and is tied with Kyle Tucker with two home runs. Rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena is off to a great start as he replaced Carlos Correa, who left for Minnesota in free agency. Pena leads the team with a .344 batting average and has added one home run and three RBI.

On Wednesday, the Astros will start Jake Odorizzi, who is 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA and 2.04 WHIP in two starts this season. In 24 starts last season, Odorizzi was 6-7 with a 4.21 ERA. Odorizzi has made nine career starts against the Angels and is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA and 1.60 WHIP.

Prediction: Houston Astros ML +120

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Angels may be an attractive team to back with Ohtani on the mound, but Houston has not been kind to Ohtani as a pitcher. In four career starts at Minute Maid Park Ohtani is 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. The Angels bullpen has also struggled with a 4.88 ERA this season, which is the fifth-worst in MLB. Ordozzi has not been great this season either, but the Astros bullpen has been much better with a 3.11 team ERA. Houston has also controlled this rivalry recently with eight wins in the last 10 head-to-head meetings against Los Angeles.

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Prediction: Houston Astros ML +120

Prediction: OVER 8.5

Rating: 5 out of 5

Both of these lineups are lethal. The Angels are second in MLB hammering 1.47 home runs per game, and Houston is fourth with 1.21 home runs per game. Given the past track records and recent struggles of both starters, expect the Astros bats to jump on Ohtani early and for the Angels to also have success off of Odorizzi. In this rivalry, 14 of the last 19 head-to-head meetings at Minute Maid Park have gone over the total, and I expect to see a high-scoring game Wednesday.

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