Ahead of the 2018 MLB season when it was announced that Japanese star Shohei Ohtani was leaving his native country and posting himself for bidding by American clubs, the New York Yankees were perceived as the clear-cut favorites to land him because of their deep pockets, strong history with Japanese players and the team's huge popularity in the Far East. Of course, Ohtani chose the Los Angeles Angels, and he'll not only be on the mound Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium (for the first time there) but also hit for himself. New York is a -130 favorite on the William Hill Sportsbook MLB odds.
Ohtani has clearly been the biggest individual story in Major League Baseball this year and is the -140 favorite at William Hill to win AL MVP. He has homered in both games of this series, including two Tuesday night to reach 28 dingers on the season, which leads the majors by two over Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Ohtani's 63 RBIs are third in baseball. He's hitting a very respectable .278 and even has stolen 11 bases.
"It seems like he's gone to another level," Yanks manager Aaron Boone said of Ohtani. "There's a little bit of fear when he walks up there."
Ohtani has said he will compete in the All-Star Home Run Derby and there's a push to not only let him pitch for the AL but also hit – rules would have to be changed for that to happen because of the designated hitter.
The Angels will give up the DH on Wednesday because Manager Joe Maddon said he would let Ohtani hit for himself – he usually does but not always. Losing the DH could burn the Halos later. Last Wednesday when Ohtani started against the Giants and allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision, it marked the first time in MLB history that an NL team started a DH and its AL opponent didn't. Ohtani threw 105 pitches vs. the Giants, which was the second-highest total of his career.
Not having the DH did hurt the Angels in that Giants game when Angels catcher Kurt Suzuki was injured in the 12th inning. L.A. was out of position players because of pinch-hitting and that injury and had to use pitcher Griffin Canning in left field.
As a pitcher, Ohtani is 3-1 with a 2.58 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 59.1 innings. He can be wild at times with 31 walks. Ohtani personally hasn't lost in his past four starts, not allowing more than two earned in any. This will be his career-high 12th start of the year and first-ever against the Yankees.
New York counters with Domingo German (4-3, 4.32). He's 0-2 with a 4.67 ERA at home. German is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in 11 career innings vs. the Angels. Ohtani has not faced him as a batter.
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