The April 1st MLB free pick has to be carefully weighed so that we don’t look like fools. The Angels debut their prized offseason acquisition in Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese phenom. Ohtani has been known as the “Japanese Babe Ruth” a two-way star that can throw 100+ MPH fastballs while also cranking out homers off his bat that do not land for 500 feet. Even so, the transition to the MLB has to be challenging – so is that why oddsmakers have set LAA as ‘only’ -126 favorites on the road in Oakland today?
It’s All About Ohtani Today
The 6-4, 203 pound 23-year-old has already expelled some of the nerves from his MLB debut after getting the start at DH in the season opener on Thursday. Ohtani was 1-5, hitting a single on the first pitch he saw. Not since 1920 has a player started as a pitcher and a non-pitcher in the first 10 games of the season – Loyola Chicago’s Sister Jean doesn’t even remember that game. Even so, how Ohtani does today in the April 1st MLB free pick is going to be a mystery, mostly because he posted a 27.00 ERA in spring training and was held to mainly simulated starts. Regardless of what happens – it’s going to be intriguing.
Of course a lot of the pressure can fall off Ohtani when the Angels have Mike Trout, Justin Upton, Albert Pujols, and others steering the offense. LAA dropped the opener in Oakland, but has since won two in a row. The Angels are scoring 5 runs per game through the first three of the year. The Angels haven’t seen today’s Oakland starter Daniel Gossett much (18 career ABs) but they did have some success against him (.278 average).
Can Oakland Be Hype Killers?
Of course Ohtani isn’t the only pitcher in this game. The A’s send right-hander Daniel Gossett to the mound. Gossett made one start against the Angels last year, allowing 9 hits but just 2 ER while pitching into the 7th inning. Overall the numbers weren’t great for Gossett as he was just 4-11 with a 6.11 ERA last year which was his big league debut. He allowed 17 ER in just 10.2 IP over his last three starts in 2017, but perhaps his second year will involve improved mechanics.
Either way it’s probably obvious that the A’s need to hit Ohtani hard and early to have a chance in this game. Oakland has been held to just 4 total runs over their last two games with LAA but at least Khris Davis is off to a strong start on the year. The left fielder has two multi-hit games through the first three and hit two doubles in last night’s game to boost his average to .400 on the year. No Oakland players have seen Ohtani so it’s hard to know what to expect from the A’s offense on Sunday afternoon.
April 1st MLB Free Pick
Is the line of LAA -126 just an April Fool’s joke or do oddsmakers really not know what to expect from the Angels pitchers debut? 67% of the public like LAA, but that’s still only the 7th most popular bet of today’s MLB slate. Oakland’s Gossett is going to give up some runs, and you bet the Angels want to get this win for their teammate. If Ohtani struggles, the total is going to soar ‘over’ 8.5 – but LAA can still win a shootout.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Angels -126