Los Angeles Angels
Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 8:10pm EDT
Los Angeles will be looking to put an end to its losing skid when it travels to Minnesota on Thursday night. The Angels have dropped four of their five games since the All-Star break, falling two games under .500. Minnesota has been awful to open the second half as well, losing five of its first six contests. This story was published prior to the Twins game on Wednesday night.
Angels offense remains dynamic despite injuriesLos Angeles was able to remain relevant in the American League West during the first half of the season, but it has gotten off to a bad start following the All-Star break. The Angels dropped two out of three against Seattle and then lost both of their games at Oakland earlier this week. They were outscored 10-1 between the two losses to the Athletics. Los Angeles had the day off on Wednesday before its road trip continued in Minnesota. The Angels are currently in fourth place in the AL West, trailing Houston by 11 games. Their offense ranks fourth in the MLB with a team batting average of .258.
🔜: Kiiiiids Run the Bases pic.twitter.com/Zvj4SAbpD2— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) July 20, 2021
Third baseman David Fletcher leads the team with 112 hits and a red-hot .315 average. First baseman Jared Walsh has 94 hits, including 22 home runs. Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani has blasted an MLB-leading 34 homers this season. They will be facing a Minnesota pitching staff that is No. 27 with a team ERA of 5.00. Left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney is going to make the start for Los Angeles. He allowed four earned runs against Seattle in his last start. Heaney is just 1-4 with an 8.49 ERA over his last five starts. He is in the midst of a career-worst season, posting a 5.56 ERA thus far. Anthony Rendon, Mike Trout and Justin Upton are all out with injuries.
Twins free-fall continuesMinnesota continues to fall further in the AL Central standings. The Twins have lost five of their first six games following the All-Star break, getting swept by Detroit in their first series back. They lost two of their first three games against the White Sox—they are finishing up that series on Wednesday night. Minnesota is 18 games back of Chicago in the AL Central, putting them in fourth place. It is 14 games behind Oakland for the second wild card spot. Minnesota’s offense ranks No. 13 with a team batting average of .243.
Veteran designated hitter Nelson Cruz has a team-high 86 hits, including 19 home runs. Shortstop Jorge Polanco has 84 hits, while second baseman Luis Arraez has 74 base knocks. Arraez left Tuesday’s game with right knee soreness, putting him at questionable for this one. Byron Buxton is on the 10-day injured list with a fractured left hand. Minnesota will be facing a Los Angeles pitching staff that is No. 25 with a team ERA of 4.92. The Twins have not announced their starting pitcher for this game. They will likely use a combination of bullpen arms.
Stats & Trends
The under is:
- 4-0 in the Angels last four road games
- 5-2 in the Angels last seven series-openers
Both of these teams are known for excellent offense and horrible pitching, which has led to a high total. However, I think the value is to fade the narrative on Thursday night. Los Angeles is currently without Trout, Rendon and Upton, who are three of its best hitters. Minnesota is down Arraez and Buxton, so neither team is close to full strength. The Angels have gone under in their last four road games. Minnesota is coming off a doubleheader at Chicago, so fatigue could be an issue for the Twins.