Editor’s Note: The Angels vs. Tigers game was postponed due to inclement weather. The game will be played as part of a doubleheader on Thursday, July 27th.
There were some nervous smiles in Anaheim this past Sunday. The Los Angeles Angels were in town for their last home game before the August 1 Major League Baseball trade deadline, meaning this might have been the last chance the locals had to watch Shohei Ohtani in an Angels uniform.
He didn’t disappoint: Ohtani slugged his MLB-best 36th home run of the season as Los Angeles went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates (+100 away) 7-5. We can’t say for certain what Ohtani’s fate will be, but if he’s playing for L.A. this Wednesday, the computers at OddsTrader say the Angels belong in your baseball picks.
- Angels ML (-105) at WynnBet
- Cubs-White Sox Over 8.5 (-125) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Pirates-Padres Under 8.5 (-105) at Caesars Sportsbook
Wednesday, July 26 – 06:40 PM EDT at Comerica Park
Having the best player in baseball on your side always helps. Ohtani is enjoying his finest season yet in the majors, posting a 1.072 OPS while holding opposing hitters to a 3.51 xFIP. Sadly for us, Ohtani won’t be pitching this Wednesday, but his work at the plate matters more this year.
Too bad the Angels (51-49, minus-2.38 betting units at press time) can’t seem to stay healthy. They’ve had trouble keeping up their winning ways after losing former MVP Mike Trout (.862 OPS) to a broken left hamate bone in early July. They’re 6-7 since that fateful day, which is why speculation is rife about Ohtani’s immediate future ahead of the trade deadline. It isn’t just Trout, though. Look at who else is injured for Los Angeles:
- 2B Brandon Drury (.822 OPS, shoulder)
- 3B Anthony Rendon (.678 OPS, shin)
- INF Gio Urshela (.703 OPS, pelvis)
And that’s just the hitters. But Drury and Rendon should be back before too long, and the Angels are only 4.5 games out of an American Wild Card berth as we go to press, so it might be a bit premature for L.A. to cut bait on Ohtani before he hits free agency this summer.
The OT computers presumably had Ohtani in their formula when they projected the Angels to beat Detroit (46-54, plus-7.89 units) 4.6 runs to 3.9. If so, it’s a fair and reasonable projection with Patrick Sandoval (4.41 xFIP) twirling for Los Angeles opposite Michael Lorenzen (4.31 xFIP).
MLB Pick: Angels ML (-105) at WynnBet
Wednesday, July 26, 2023 – 08:10 PM EDT at Guaranteed Rate Field
We had Over 9 in our MLB picks for Tuesday’s tilt between these Windy City rivals; that game is pending at press time, but the Over remains the right call for Wednesday’s matchup, which features Lance Lynn (6.18 ERA, 3.95 xFIP) pitching for the home side and Marcus Stroman (3.09 ERA, 3.76 xFIP) responding for the Cubs.
Lynn’s ERA is definitely a concern for us. The OT computers project the Cubs to win 5.1 runs to 3.7, but as we’ve noted multiple times in this space, the computers seem to be inflating some of these numbers – and while we don’t have access to their secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices, ERA might be part of the reason why.
On the other hand, we’ve got almost ideal weather lined up for Wednesday at New Comiskey. It’s supposed to be another warm summer evening in Chicago, with 10-15 mph winds blowing directly towards center. And we’re looking at two of the worst bullpens in the majors, with the Cubs ranking No. 21 and the White Sox at No. 25 on the FanGraphs WAR charts.
MLB Pick: Over 8.5 (-125) at Caesars Sportsbook
Wednesday, July 26, 2023 – 04:10 PM EDT at Petco Park
Same total for your baseball picks in this contest – but a much different venue. Petco Park is infamously bad for hitters; Baseball Savant has it ranked second-last in the majors with a park factor of 90 for runs, just a shade ahead of New York’s Citi Field this year and well behind New Comiskey (98 park factor, No. 15 overall).
We’re also looking at a somewhat cooler late afternoon/early evening in San Diego, with 5-10 mph crosswinds from left to right. And it will be Seth Lugo (3.72 ERA, 3.64 xFIP) starting for the Padres opposite Johan Oviedo (4.77 ERA, 4.59 xFIP). Unfortunately for us, the total has already dipped from nine on the MLB odds board since opening, but the Under is still the approved pick here, with the OT computers giving San Diego 4.7 runs and Pittsburgh 3.5. Bet accordingly – the computers have spoken.
MLB Pick: Under 8.5 (-105) at Caesars Sportsbook