Back Halos In Rubber Match Against Pirates

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Pirates vs. Angels, 4:07 ET

Sunday baseball is one of those things that doesn’t get enough attention. Sunday Night Baseball is usually the only game in town, but there isn’t the allure that there is for Sunday Night Football. I guess football in general is different. Baseball fans tend to watch just their favorite team. Football fans seem to watch every team no matter who plays. Lucky for us, I watch and follow all teams and did the work for us on a game between the Pirates and Angels.

Do you remember the last time the Pirates were a good squad? That was actually just a month or so ago. On June 15th, they were over .500 and competing for first place in the division. Since then they’ve gone on to have a 9-22 record. That’s more like the Pittsburgh team that everyone expected at the beginning of the season. Mitch Keller is having a solid enough season, but he really struggled in his last start. He allowed eight earned runs over six innings to the Guardians. In fairness to him, he allowed five runs in the first and then was still able to get through six innings. Not a lot of guys have the mental ability to rebound like that and turn in a decent performance after they suck out of the gate. The Angels hitters have actually been pretty successful against Keller going 11-for-28 against him. Mike Moustakas is on of the better hitters going 6-for-15 against Keller.

Mitch Keller tries to take down the Angels in a rubber match. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the talk from Los Angeles (at least the American League side of LA) has been about if they will trade away Shohei Ohtani. If I was a gambling man, and clearly I am, I’d bet that he doesn’t go anywhere (and you can do that at -170, but I’m not sure that is worth the investment). Anyway, right now the Angels are actually playing good baseball. They are 4-1 over their past five contests and are back above .500, but that won’t cut it as they are still battling between the fourth and third spot in the division. They are going to have to push for a Wild Card spot. Today they face the Pirates in hopes of getting a series win over the struggling NL Central squad. In order to do so, they need lefty Tyler Anderson to turn in a great game. He needed 85 pitches to get through three innings last game. He allowed just one earned run, but the Angels still lost the game 9-8. Pirates hitters, outside of Austin Hedges haven’t seen him very much so they might take a few innings to find the timing against Anderson.

I do lean Angels in this game. Keller is a better pitcher than he showed in his first game after the All-Star Break. However, the Pirates are not a better team than they have shown over the past 30 games. The Angels don’t have the better pitcher here but the price of -125, they are the team I’m going to back today.

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Written by David Troy

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