The Los Angeles Angels take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second game of their three-game weekend series on Saturday evening from Chase Field in Phoenix. Despite both being their respective west divisions, the teams have a limited number of games against each other over the last few years, Saturday's matchup should provide a good game for both teams. The Angels had a rough May but June has started much better for them, going 7-3 over the last ten games and had won three in a row heading into the series. Arizona on the other hand has the worst record in all of baseball and had lost seven games in a row heading into the series with Los Angeles. Over the last ten games, they've gone 2-8 and will need one of their best performances of the season to top the Angels on Saturday night. Can the Angels keep up their winnings way or will Arizona find a way out of the rough stretch of losses?
Angels Stringing Together WinsThe Angels have had quite the up and down season so far, from starting the season looking like a serious contender in the AL West, to a May that was one to forget and at one point saw them drop all the way into last place in the division. The last few weeks have been much stronger for them though and with Arizona on the docket, they have to be feeling good about their chance to grab some wins and continue to close ground on the Athletics and Astros atop the division. From an injury standpoint, Mike Trout is definitely the most notable player who won't be in the lineup on Saturday, as he remains out with a Grade 2 calf strain, but it hasn't seemed to slow down the Angels of late.
ALOHAAAA! pic.twitter.com/Zn2yUImjRF— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) June 12, 2021
With Trout out, it's been the dynamic and surprising duo of Jared Walsh and Shohei Ohtani who have been left to lead the way for the Los Angeles offense. Walsh leads the team with a .297 batting average, 53 hits, and an OBP of .364. Ohtani has led the power side of things, hitting 17 home runs and contributing 44 RBI. The power numbers for this team have been impressive, as Walsh has added 13 home runs and Justin Upton another 14. Over the last week, Upton has three on his own, as does Max Stassi, who has added another option for the offense. Upton is also hitting .381 heading into Saturday evening, with Stassi hitting .529. If those two keep up the hitting, this Los Angeles offense will continue to be difficult to beat.
According to MLB.com, Alex Cobb will get the ball on Saturday as he looks to better his 4-2 record and 4.24 ERA. It's been much better for him recently, with a 2.25 ERA over the last four starts, and will be looking to get another win under his belt against the lowly Diamondbacks. Cobb has won three starts in a row and went seven innings the last time out against Seattle, though he did allow five runs on only three hits. He does have a shutout in two of his last four starts though and will have plenty of confidence knowing that Arizona has struggled offensively of late.
Diamondbacks Continue to StruggleArizona looks every part like the team that should be sitting with the worst record in baseball and there isn't much on either side of the ball that makes it seem like that'll change for them. The Diamondbacks are allowing 5.302 runs per game, good for 29th in all of baseball, and are only scoring 4.175 runs per game as well. The good news is that the injury bug that swept through the lineup early in the year seems to at bay for now, with Kole Calhoun being the only position player on the IL with a hamstring strain. From a pitching perspective though, six starters on the IL has been rough and with three relievers out, it'll be interesting to see how the pitching staff navigates Saturday's game.
Pavin Smith is hitting .290 to lead the way and his .343 OBP, but his power numbers have been a concern, with only five home runs on the season. Eduardo Escobar leads the way with 14 home runs and 41 RBI, which are rather impressive numbers given the lack of help that he has throughout the lineup. Ketel Marte is having a great season, hitting .365, but injuries have plagued him and impacted his consistency, so it's hard to know exactly what to expect from him on a nightly basis. Over the last week though it's been rough going for the Arizona lineup, with eight of nine expected starters hitting below .200 over that span. Marte is the one outlier, hitting .313 over that time period, but will need plenty of help from others if they want to keep pace with the Angels.
According to MLB.com, Caleb Smith will get the ball on Saturday night as he looks for a lengthy start to help save the bullpen for the finale. Smith is 2-2 on the season with a 3.14 ERA and should be able to keep the Angels at bay for at least a few innings. Smith spent much of the first two months pitching out of the bullpen, but recently made a switch to the starting rotation and has been rather impressive. In his last two starts, he's pitched ten innings, allowed six hits and only three runs, and struck out ten. He'll definitely have confidence, but will it be enough if he doesn't get backed up by his offense.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This game has two teams going in two different directions, with the Angels playing some of their best baseball of the season and the Diamondbacks continuously looking like one of the worst teams in the league. Ohtani and Walsh are on an absolute tear right now and will be tough to slow down, even with Smith pitching well for Arizona of late. Add in that the Angels have had quite a bit of production from Upton, and the depth of their lineup and position players gives them a huge advantage on Saturday. For Arizona, their lineup is stuck in one of their coldest stretches of the season and it doesn't look like they'll get out of it anytime soon either. Expect the Angels to continue to roll and for the Diamondbacks to continue to be without answers.
Full-Game Total Pick
While both pitchers heading into Saturday have been strong of late, the consistency remains to be soon and it's tough to either pitching a gem, even with Arizona being one of the teams involved. For the Angels, their lineup has been playing strong of late and has a powerful trio who can put up runs in a hurry. The Diamondbacks offense has been pretty poor of late, but even just a few runs combined with an expected big burst from Los Angeles should be plenty for the over to hit. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Arizona the over is 4-0 in their four Saturday games, is 4-0 in their last four home games against a right-handed starter, is 6-0 in their last six home games. Also, the over is 4-1-2 in the last seven meetings between the two teams.