The last time a player made a pitching start in a Major League Baseball game while also leading the majors (or tied) in home runs was by a guy named Babe Ruth on June 13, 1921. That drought will end Monday night when the Angels' Shohei Ohtani takes the mound at the Texas Rangers. The Halos also believe that superstar Mike Trout will return from injury. Los Angeles is a -145 favorite on the William Hill Sportsbook MLB odds.
Ohtani enters the day with seven home runs, tied with seven other guys for the most in MLB: Minnesota's Nelson Cruz, Arizona's Eduardo Escobar, Boston's JD Martinez, Cincinnati's Nick Castellanos, Colorado's Ryan McMahon, San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr. and Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. Of course, those guys don't also pitch.
On the season. Ohtani is batting .286 with those seven dingers, 16 RBIs, three steals and an OPS of .983. As a hitter, his WAR is 0.8. Ohtani delivered a go-ahead, solo homer Sunday in lifting the Angels to a 4-2 victory over the Astros.
As a pitcher, he's 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 8.2 innings, good for a WAR of 0.3. He is expected to hit and pitch in the game, which would be only the second time he's done so in his MLB career.
Ohtani didn't factor in the decision last Tuesday at home vs. Texas, throwing four scoreless innings and allowing one hit with seven strikeouts but six walks in four innings. It was the first time in MLB history a pitcher had at least six walks and seven strikeouts in four-or-fewer scoreless frames. Ohtani is a +1000 second-favorite at William Hill Sportsbook to win AL MVP.
(Ruth, incidentally, got the win on June 13, 1921, for the Yankees at the Polo Grounds vs. the Tigers. He allowed three earned runs in five innings and also was 2-for-3 with two homers. Interestingly, that was the only game Ruth started on the mound that year.)
Trout is the +200 favorite to win AL MVP for a fourth time. He was hit by a pitch on the elbow by Houston's Cristian Javier last Thursday and hasn't played since, but the team thinks Trout will be ready for Monday. He was off to a huge start, batting .393 with six homers, 12 RBIs and an OPS of 1.325 that was first in the AL.
Texas starts right-hander Jordan Lyles (1-1, 4.64). He is 3-2 with a 5.22 ERA in 29.1 career innings vs. the Angels. Lyles was opposite Ohtani last Tuesday and took the loss, allowing three runs over six innings.
The Rangers are 7-1 in their past eight at home vs. the Angels.
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