The Los Angeles Angels and Atlanta Braves square off on Friday with first pitch set for 7:20 p.m. ET. The game takes place at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia and will only be available on local TV or through an MLB.tv subscription. Arguably the best player in baseball, Shohei Ohtani (9-4, 2.38 ERA) will take the mound for Los Angeles, while Atlanta will send Charlie Morton (5-4, 4.45 ERA) to the mound.
The Angels (39-53) hope to benefit from the All-Star break because they need a strong second-half push to head into the postseason this year. In their final 14 games of the first half of the season, they had a 3-11 record. Their three wins were all games that Ohtani started. In his last start against the Houston Astros, he pitched six innings and gave up four hits and one earned run while striking out 12.
The Braves (56-38) are sitting in second place in the NL East and are in playoff contention heading into the second half of the season. Their lineup is getting hot at the right time, and they are expected to make a handful of moves at the trade deadline, similar to last season’s World Series run. Atlanta finished the first half going 7-3 in their final 10 games and are sitting with the first N.L. Wild Card spot. This is Morton’s 19th start of the season, and he pitched five innings and gave up six hits and five earned runs while taking his fourth loss of the season in his last start.
Angels vs. Braves
Pitchers: Shohei Ohtani vs. Charlie Morton
First pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET
Angels local broadcast: Bally Sports SoCal
Braves local broadcast: Bally Sports Southeast
Live stream: MLB.tv (subscription)
Odds, picks & predictions
Run Line: Atlanta -1.5
Run total: 7
Moneyline odds: Los Angeles +135, Atlanta -155
Moneyline pick: Los Angeles +135
If anyone other than Ohtani were on the mound, I would give this one to the Braves. He is the definition of a difference maker, and when he pitches, he has the edge over anyone on the other team. Atlanta will be a tough test with their power hitters, but they were in awe of seeing Ohtani in person at the All-Star Game. He will have to rely on his lineup, but Los Angeles wins the series opener.
Player prop: Shohei Ohtani over 8.5 strikeouts (+110)
Do you remember that Marvel post-credit scene where Thanos puts on the Infinity Gauntlet and says, “fine, I’ll do it myself”? That’s Ohtani when he takes the mound for the Los Angeles Angels. If you take a look at the last 15 games the Angels played, the only three that they won were started by Ohtani. In them, he struck out 11, 10 and 12 batters and has been a machine on the mound. Even with a high strike-out line, Ohtani should punch out at least nine Atlanta hitters on Friday.
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