While the Los Angeles Angels decided not to deal Shohei Ohtani ahead of Tuesday's MLB trade deadline, they did wave the white flag on the season by shipping out closer Raisel Iglesias, starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, and outfielder Brandon Marsh. However, the Halos are still relevant nationally whenever Ohtani is on the mound, as he is tonight against the visiting Oakland A's with a chance to tie a Nolan Ryan franchise record. The Angels are huge favorites at Caesars Sportsbook.
Ohtani is given an Over/Under of 8.5 strikeouts at Caesars, which seems low (Over is a -155 favorite) considering he has whiffed at least 10 in six straight starts and is facing arguably the worst lineup in the majors – or at least in the American League now that Washington is now without Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Ohtani leads MLB with nine starts of at least 10 strikeouts this season and with a strikeout-per-nine-innings rate of 13.14 (minimum 90 innings).
Ohtani has joined Ryan as the only pitchers in Angels history to record at least 10 strikeouts in six consecutive starts; Ryan's six-game run spanned the 1972-73 seasons, and his franchise record of seven straight starts with double-digit strikeouts happened in 1977. Ohtani is one of 10 pitchers all-time to record double-digit strikeouts in at least six consecutive games, joining Ryan, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Shane Bieber.
While Ohtani took over the AL MVP betting lead for a short while, he's now a +375 second favorite at Caesars behind Aaron Judge (-500), who has been crushing the ball since the All-Star break. That race may soon be over, but Ohtani is still in the Cy Young chase at +800, behind the Astros' Verlander (+130), Rays' Shane McClanahan (+300) and fast-rising White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease (+400).
Somehow, Ohtani has not faced the AL West-rival A's yet this season. He is 5-3 with a 2.15 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 54.1 innings at home. As a hitter, Ohtani is +440 to go yard. He's 0-for-7 career with four strikeouts of Oakland starter James Kaprielian, who has been very good himself of late. He was 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in five July starts.
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