MLB Odds: Rays vs. Angels
|Time||9:38 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday morning and via BetMGM.|
The Tampa Bay Rays head west for a seven-game road trip beginning with the Los Angeles Angels and Shohei Ohtani on the mound. Ohtani has been limited to only three starts this season due to a blister on his pitching hand. He’s posted a 3.29 ERA, but has only completed five innings once because he’s walked almost a batter per inning.
Opposing Ohtani will be Tyler Glasnow for the Rays. Glasnow has gotten off to a fabulous start this season as he’s 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 0.80 WHIP.
Let’s dig into this matchup to see if any side has the advantage with two power pitchers on the mound.
Tampa Bay Rays
In 2019, Glasnow was off to a 6-1 start with a 1.86 ERA until a forearm strain in May landed him on the 60-day injury list. The right-hander was an early Cy Young candidate, and he’s had a similar start to this season thus far.
A closer look actually reveals that Glasnow might be even better now:
- His K/9 is up to 13.38 from 11.27
- His HR/FB is down to 6.1% from 8.5%
- His batting average against is .144 compared to .185 in 2019.
- Hard-hit ball percentage has dropped from 28.8% to 21.1%.
- Average fastball velocity is up one mph, to 97.6.
In 2019, Glasnow was really a two-pitch pitcher with a four-seam fastball (67.2%), curveball (34.8%), and an occasional changeup (4.7%). This season, he’s brought back the slider, which he hadn’t thrown since 2018. The slider adds a different element to his arsenal as it’s thrown at four mph faster than his curveball.
Tyler Glasnow, K'ing the Side with 3 different pitches (FB, Curveball and Slutter). pic.twitter.com/oYJv50aEvZ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 12, 2021
Glasnow is a better pitcher than Ohtani across the board this season.
He’s averaging more than six innings per start compared to around five in 2019, and his 1.70 FIP is right around his 1.67 ERA, which suggests that he has a firm grip on things he can control as a pitcher, such as strikeouts, walks, and home runs.
Los Angeles Angels
It’s hard not to be impressed with Ohtani as a two-way player. Here’s a guy that can hit 101 mph on the gun and have an exit velocity of 115 mph on a home run.
The Angels have certainly enjoyed Ohtani on the mound this season as they’ve won all three of his outings. However, two of those starts came against the Texas Rangers, who are last in the AL West.
Despite all the acclaim he’s received as this Ruthian type of player, I’m not sure 15 games is enough of a sample size to form a definitive opinion of him as a pitcher. He’s made only five starts the last two seasons, and one thing that clearly continues to be an issue for him is walks.
Ohtani has an 8.56 BB/9 ratio, and that’s really the reason why he’s only averaging about 4 2/3 innings per start. You’d have to assume that he can’t continue to flirt with so much danger, or can he?
Shohei Ohtani, Filthy Splitters. 😷 pic.twitter.com/oqaysSGGQh
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 27, 2021
Perhaps things are different when you have a 15.15 K/9 rate — aided by a split-finger with a 73.9% whiff rate, which batters have yet to get a hit against this season. Opposing teams should know that they need to be patient with Ohtani on the mound to drive his pitch count up.
As you might have guessed, I’m a bit torn on which side to back in this matchup. There are still some unknowns about Ohtani, but the Angels have a perfect 3-0 mark with him on the mound this season. I have to admit that I am a bit surprised Ohtani’s making this start after a pitch hit him on his pitching elbow during yesterday’s game.
— Anaheim Sports (@AnaheimSports1) May 2, 2021
Typically Ohtani would have the day off before he’s scheduled to pitch, but this year, the Angels have been more aggressive as he’s played in all 26 of the team’s games. While he did manage to remain in the game, it wouldn’t surprise me if Ohtani is a late scratch for precautionary reasons. That’s enough to keep me off the Angels as a side as I could only lean to the Rays given the circumstances.
Here are some things to know about the Rays coming into this game:
- They’re 73-49 on the road for 14.54 units since the 2019 season.
- After squeaking out a one-run win, they’re +22.46 units when their next game is on the road dating back to 2005.
You can still find the Rays as a short favorite (-115) at BetMGM. My model has them a bit higher, so they would be a value play for me.
However, given the uncertainty with Ohtani, this is one wager that will likely stay as a lean for me and not an official wager.
Pick: Lean Rays ML (-115)