Angels at Royals MLB Pick for April 12
Things are going well for the Los Angeles Angels these days. The Halos just wrapped up an easy sweep of the Texas Rangers last night to run their record to 10-3 on the season. L.A. has won 4 straight games overall and has taken a slight lead on the defending champion Houston Astros in the AL West.
There’s no telling whether the Angels can actually hang with the Astros all season long, but there’s no denying the talent on this roster. There isn’t an easy out in this lineup when everyone is healthy, especially on days in which Shohei Ohtani is in there as the DH. The Japanese phenom is now 8-for-22 at the plate early in his big league career with 3 homers and 8 runs batted in already. He added an RBI single and a walk to his ledger in Arlington last night.
One would imagine Ohtani will be in there DHing again tonight against Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy. Kennedy endured a rough 2017, but he’s off to a flying start in 2018. Through 2 starts, the veteran righty is 1-0 with a tiny 0.75 ERA. He’s struck out 13 hitters in 12 innings while allowing just a single earned run.
Most importantly, Kennedy has been able to avoid the long ball thus far. The 33-year-old has been one of the most homer-prone pitchers in the game over the last several seasons, as he’s coughed up at least 30 dingers in each of the last 3 seasons. Kauffman Stadium isn’t the greatest ballpark for power, but Ohtani, Mike Trout, Justin Upton and a handful of others are fully capable of taking Kennedy deep. In fact, Kennedy has allowed 7 career home runs to players on this Angels’ roster, 3 of which have come off the bat of Albert Pujols.
Kennedy is a talented pitcher due for some regression. He’s not going to maintain his 28.9 percent strikeout rate over the course of a full season, nor will his walk rate remain this low (4.4 percent). He’s also a fly ball pitcher, so the homers are going to come eventually.
The Angels will be throwing young right-hander Nick Tropeano to the mound. This will be Tropeano’s first appearance on a major league mound since the 2016 season, as he missed all of last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of ’16. Tropeano will take the roster spot of Jaime Barria, who was optioned back to the minors after starting for the Angels on Wednesday.
He isn’t a guy with a lengthy big league track record, but he has shown some strikeout upside in the past. Tropeano maintained a healthy K-rate in the minors and he boasts a 21.7 percent mark in 25 games at the big league level to this point. He’s a fly ball pitcher like Kennedy, but he’ll be facing a Kansas City lineup that doesn’t have a ton of pop. He has had issues with lefties over the course of his brief career, which could mean damage for Mike Moustakas and Lucas Duda in the middle of the KC order.
The Royals are off to a dismal 3-7 start and they were just beaten in 2 of 3 by the Mariners at home. This KC team has lost the vast majority of the players that helped them win it all a few years back, so it seems as though we’re looking at a lengthy rebuild for the Royals moving forward. They may not be a complete dumpster fire all year long, but this is just not a good team.
I don’t think Tropeano is awful, so I feel like he should be able to keep this watered-down Royals lineup in check, for the most part. Give me the Angels in this one both on the runline and on the moneyline.
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