The Shohei Ohtani Show Returns to Mound as Angels Host Red Sox

shohei ohtani

Matthew Jordan

Monday, April 16, 2018 4:49 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 16, 2018 4:49 PM GMT

The clear marquee MLB game of Tuesday night is a matchup of division leaders as the Red Sox visit the Angels. To add even more intrigue, Shohei Ohtani is on the mound for L.A.

Boston Red Sox (13-2, 8-6-1 O/U) at Los Angeles Angels (13-3, 9-7 O/U)Free MLB Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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I’d be willing to bet that Tuesday’s Red Sox at Angels game will be one of the most-wagered and most-watched of the early season – it’s televised on the MLB Network (in most markets). First pitch is set for 10:07 p.m. ET.

Not only are both teams leading their divisions in what could be a playoff preview, but Shohei Ohtani, the biggest story in baseball, is on the mound. The Japanese two-way star was supposed to pitch Sunday in Kansas City, but that game was postponed due to wintry weather. That’s been a trend around baseball in the early going. A whopping six games were called Sunday, the most since Sept. 12, 2008.

It might have been a good thing that Sunday’s Angels game was called off because some around baseball thought it was a bad idea to let Ohtani pitch in such cold weather. He has said he couldn’t remember ever pitching in less than 40-degree temperatures. His first two starts this season were in Oakland and Anaheim and game-time temperatures were 66 and 73 degrees, respectively.

At what point do the Angels just dump the DH in games Ohtani is pitching so he can hit? The lefty hitter (he pitches right-handed) is batting .367 with three homers, 11 RBIs, a .424 on-base percentage and .767 slugging. Ohtani (2-0, 2.08) has been just as good on the mound, albeit both against the A’s. In Oakland on April 1, he allowed three runs over six innings with six strikeouts and one walk. On April 8, Ohtani took a perfect game into the seventh inning. He would finish seven with one hit allowed and 12 strikeouts.

He was the first player since a certain former Red Sox named Babe Ruth to hit three homers in between pitching starts. The question is no longer will Ohtani win AL Rookie of the Year. It’s whether he wins the ROY, Cy Young and MVP. If you are an opposing team, do you prefer he pitches once against you so he then likely doesn’t hit for at least one game (to rest)? Or would you rather face him solely as a DH?

The Red Sox, incidentally, put the full-court press on recruiting Ohtani, but he only wanted to play for teams that held spring training in Arizona. He struggled both as a hitter and pitcher in the Cactus League.

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Will Price Be Right?

This starts a nine-game road trip for the Red Sox, who go to Oakland this weekend and then Toronto. Boston is off to the best start in franchise history. It was to play Monday morning on Patriots’ Day vs. the Orioles, but that was postponed. It was the first time that a Patriots' Day game was postponed in Boston since 1984. The Sox are without excellent young shortstop Xander Bogaerts due to an ankle injury. Outfielder Mookie Betts missed Sunday’s game with a foot injury but it’s nothing serious and he likely plays Tuesday.

The Sox start lefty David Price (1-1, 2.40). He left his last start Wednesday after just an inning due to numbing sensation in his left hand. The former Cy Young winner said he thought it was due to the cold weather. Price might be looking for an excuse as he was tagged for four runs in that inning against the Yankees.

Price is 5-7 in 15 career starts vs. the Angels with a 3.53 ERA and one complete-game shutout. Price eats Mike Trout’s lunch as Trout is just 3-for-21 with 10 strikeouts off him. Ian Kinsler isn’t much better, going 5-for-26. Albert Pujols hits .321 off Price with two homers in 28 at-bats.

This should be a pitchers’ duel and while I give a slight lean to the Red Sox, the primary Tuesday MLB pick is ‘under.’ The ‘under’ is 7-3 in Boston’s past 10 road games vs. a right-hander.

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